On October 26, 2017, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), US Department of Agriculture (USDA) each posted on their websites a Canada – US Joint Notice on Sea Container Cleanliness that complements the International Maritime Organization’s Code of Practice for Packing Cargo Transport Units (CTU Code). The CFIA and the USDA have worked with US and Canadian border protection agencies, shippers and global shipping companies to develop the guidance for cleaning and inspecting sea containers. The postings stated:

Invasive pests threaten crops, forests, and livestock. They also have a very real impact on trade. When a contaminated container is found in port, the cargo owner, importer, or shipper can expect:

  • delayed cargo release
  • demurrage charges due to cargo holds, and
  • unexpected costs associated with having the container quarantined, tarped and treated, cleaned, or re-exported back to origin at the cargo owner’s expense

By taking reasonable steps to keep containers and their cargo clean, you will help prevent the spread of invasive pests through commerce and facilitate the movement of your containers through North American ports. As a result, you may experience:

  • reduced port-of-entry inspections
  • faster cargo release, and
  • fewer unexpected expenses, such as demurrage charges due to cargo holds or costs associated with having your container quarantined, tarped and treated, cleaned, or re-exported back to origin.

The guidance provides recommended self-inspection practices for industry.