The five partners in the Cargo Integrity Group (CIG) have called for risk-based measures from actors in global supply chains to reduce the risk of pest transference through international cargo movements.
The CIG consists of the Container Owners Association (COA), Global Shippers Forum (GSF), International Cargo Handling Co-ordination Association (ICHCA International), TT Club and the World Shipping Council (WSC).
The group has highlighted the threat of invasive pests to natural resources across the world, and of the urgency in crafting risk reduction measures that address the situation.
This call to action follows the intentions by pest control experts under the auspices of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC)iii, to take all-encompassing, internationally imposed steps to mitigate such risks.
One measure under serious consideration is the mandatory certification of cleanliness for all containers prior to loading on board a ship, a measure that would have significant impact on global trade when it comes to both time and cost.
Lars Kjaer, senior vice president of the World Shipping Council (WSC), said: “We know that more serious risks occur among certain types of goods and from identified regions.
“The CIG recommendation centres on the need to provide proper risk assessments in defined trades and focus mandatory measures on these high-risk areas and cargoes.”
The CIG partners are promoting the use of the ‘Code of Practice for the Packing of Cargo Transport Units’ published by the IMO, the UNECE and the ILO (the CTU Code). The transfer of invasive pests between different natural ecosystems falls within this commitment.
According to the partners, it is crucial that the development of any such controls is undertaken in full consultation with other appropriate bodies, in particular the international agencies responsible for the governance of world trade and for the regulation of different modes of transport, as well as supply chain stakeholders and industry practitioners.
James Hookham, secretary general of Global Shippers Forum, said: “There are identified risk areas and cargoes which must be addressed, and the CIG partners look forward to contributing essential industry expertise to the work of the IPPC to ensure an effective and efficient set of recommendations and best practices to stop the transfer of invasive species.”