Pest contamination: Threat of invasive species in international movement of freight containers

Pest contamination: Threat of invasive species in international movement of freight containers

The risk of invasive species in international movement of freight containers is a major concern for governments  and international instances, as it threatens worldwide economy and national ecosystems. The international moving and relocation is directly affected by this issue, which is why FIDI and the IAM want to raise the awareness within their memberships and partners.

The threat posed by invasive species is taken very seriously by governments and other stakeholders, and may lead to stricter phytosanitary measures on a global scale, as well as stricter import regulations imposed by national governments, similar to the measures recently introduced by the Australian authorities.

A new set of measures is about to be proposed to the Commission on Phytosanitary Measures, the governing body of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) and the only international body for setting and implementing phytosanitary standards. These measures, initiated by World Shipping Council, will shift the responsibility for the cleanliness of an empty container from the owner of the container to the the shipper/user of the container, ie. the removal company in the case of an international relocation.That would result in the mover facing extra costs, logistical challenges and liability for any pest contamination in a sea container.  

The World Shipping Council proposals are contested by the Global Shippers Forum who submitted a robust response with counter-proposals to the relevant instances. It is likely that the Commission on Phytonanitary Measures will take their final decisions by July 2022, which could lead to the formulation of new global measures in 2023.

FIDI is joining forces with IAM to monitor this situation closely and support the Global Shippers Forum’s recommendations. Both organisations have issued a joint statement, published on 8 December 2021, and will continue to raise awareness about the issue among their members.

A resource page has been created on FIDINET (access restricted to FIDI affiliated companies) where you can find additional documentation on these proposed measures, as well as best practice guidelines and advice on how to mitigate risks of pest contamination in containers. We strongly recommend that you implement these best practices in your daily operation, thereby contributing to mitigating pest contamination.

If you have any questions about this issue, please contact Marie-Pascale Frix, Business Intelligence Manager at FIDI Global Alliance, at


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