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Revised Import Health Standard for Sea Containers

UPDATE – 22 JULY 2019

The Import Health Standard (IHS) for Sea Containers from All Countries has been revised and is now implemented (as of the 22 July 2019).

In addition, the guidance document to the IHS for Sea Containers and the sea container quarantine declaration have been updated.

IHS for Sea Containers from All Countries [PDF, 982 KB]

Guidance document for the IHS for Sea Containers from All Countries

Sea container quarantine declaration [DOCX, 19 KB]

What has changed?

The main changes that have been made to the IHS are as follows:

  • All sea containers and cargo from Italy must receive mandatory treatment that is conducted before-arrival in New Zealand during the BMSB season. This aligns with MPI’s new brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) treatment requirements for all applicable vehicles, machinery, and parts under the aligned IHS for Vehicles, Machinery and Parts.
  • MPI has an exemption from treatment for containerised cargo from Italy that is considered to be sensitive to treatment with fumigation or heat. (Risk goods and cargo considered sensitive to treatment).
  • Requirements have also been re-defined for sea containers (for fully-sealed and non fully-sealed containers) that are transshipped through Italy during the BMSB season before being exported to New Zealand.
  • Re-alignment of how the sea container treatment requirements for Italian sea containers interact with treatment requirements under the IHS for Vehicles, Machinery and Parts treatment requirements (when Italian sea containers hold treated vehicles, machinery and parts).

Who to contact

If you have any questions, email

Consultation background

MPI reviewed the Import Health Standard for Sea Containers (the IHS) and wanted your feedback on proposed changes. The IHS was last updated in October 2018 when some minor changes were made to remove ambiguities and fix some small errors.

The consultation ran from 3 April to 3 June 2019.

What was proposed?

MPI proposed changes to the IHS to better manage importation of sea containers from Italy. These changes are covered in Section 2.3 (2) of the IHS. 

It was proposed that all sea containers and cargo from Italy were treated before arrival in New Zealand. This requirement was for the management of brown marmorated stink bugs.

Consultation documents

The draft IHS [PDF, 607 KB]
Draft risk management proposal [PDF, 210 KB]

Related document

Consultation closed at 5pm on 3 June 2019.

Submissions are public information

Note that any submission you make becomes public information. People can ask for copies of submissions under the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA). The OIA says we have to make submissions available unless we have a good reason for withholding it.  That is explained in sections 6 and 9 of the OIA.

Tell us if you think there are grounds to withhold specific information in your submission. Reasons might include that it's commercially sensitive or it's personal information. However, any decision MPI makes to withhold information can be reviewed by the Ombudsman, who may tell us to release it.

Legal background

MPI must consult with interested parties in accordance with section 23 of the Biosecurity Act 1993 (the Act) and MPI's consultation policy before issuing or amending (other than of minor or urgent nature) import health standards under sections 24A and 24B of the Act.

An IHS specifies import requirements that must be met either in the country of origin or of export, or during transit before biosecurity clearance can be given for the goods to enter New Zealand. MPI must ensure that these requirements are technically justified and provide an appropriate level of biosecurity protection.