Steps to importing wood packaging

Importers of wood packaging must comply with an import health standard (IHS) for the type of wood packaging, and meet the treatment and plant health (phytosanitary) requirements. We've created a step-by-step process so you can see what's involved.

Follow the steps 

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What you need to know

An overview of importing wood packaging from start to finish.

Types of wood packaging

Wood packaging materials include:

  • dunnage (wood used to load and secure cargo)
  • fillets and spacers (strips and blocks of wood used to secure cargo)
  • wooden crates 
  • pallets
  • drums and reels.

To import products that include wood packaging material you need to know:

  • the requirements listed in the import health standard (IHS) for your wood packaging material
  • if your wood packaging has been stamped to show it meets the ISPM 15 standard for wood packaging
  • if you need to treat the wood packaging, and which treatment method to use.

Some fees and charges will apply.

Importing wood packaging on its own

If you are importing wood packaging components on their own – rather than as part of other imported products – follow the steps for importing wood products.

Importing wood packaging in a shipping container

If your wood packaging is transported in a sea container, the container needs to have a quarantine declaration to show that it also meets import requirements.

What you need to do

The tasks you need to complete.

Consider using a customs broker

A customs broker will help you get import entry clearance. Some services provided by the New Zealand Customs Service can only be accessed by registered customs brokers.

Many freight and transport companies employ their own brokers but if you need help finding one, contact the Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders Federation.

Ask your broker for an ISPM 15 stamp

New Zealand uses an international standard for wood packaging, called ISPM 15. New Zealand's import health standard (IHS) for wood packaging – the IHS for Wood Packaging from All Countries – incorporates ISPM 15 requirements as well as other treatments that your packaging may need. Ask your broker to make sure that the wood packaging used in your consignment complies with ISPM 15.

Check the IHS for wood packaging

An IHS describes the conditions you must meet to be able to import your product. Most wood packaging has to meet the requirements set out in the IHS for Wood Packaging Material from All Countries, unless it is made from material usually used for other wood products (like wooden panels and chipboard). Check the IHS for Wood Packaging Material from All Countries for details about your wood packaging material, to make sure you can comply with the requirements.

Read the IHS for Wood Packaging Material from All Countries [PDF, 537 KB]

You do not need to comply with the IHS if your packaging is:

  • thin wood (6 mm thick or less)
  • permanently attached to a freight vehicle or a container.

Arrange treatment, if needed

The IHS for your wood packaging will tell you whether it needs to be treated in the exporting country. If you need to arrange treatment, contact the National Plant Protection Organisation (NPPO) in the country of export.

Make sure you get certification for the treatment

If your wood packaging is treated, it must have one of the following three certifications:

  • an ISPM 15 stamp
  • a treatment certificate endorsed by the NPPO for the country of export
  • a phytosanitary certificate detailing the treatment method.

If you are using a shipper that provides packaging for you (like wood pallets), the packaging should have an ISPM 15 stamp. Check that your shipper's packaging complies with ISPM 15.

Apply for a phytosanitary certificate

If you are using wood packaging that doesn't already have an ISPM 15 stamp (for example, a new or unusual kind of wood packaging), you need to get a phytosanitary certificate for the packaging. 

Either ask your customs broker to arrange a certificate, or apply to the contact point agent in the country of export. A list of contacts is available on the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) website.

The contact point agent issues the phytosanitary certificate when they are satisfied that the IHS requirements have been met. A copy of the phytosanitary certificate must be included with your consignment.

Arrange a transitional facility, if using a sea container

All sea containers arriving in New Zealand must be taken to a transitional facility and unpacked there.

You or your customs broker need to arrange for the transfer to a transitional facility before your goods arrive in New Zealand.

Comply with on-arrival inspections

An MPI border official will check the wood packaging when it arrives in New Zealand to make sure it complies with the IHS. The inspection, either at the port of arrival or an approved transitional facility, includes checks for:

  • signs of pests and diseases
  • evidence of contaminants (bark, soil, fungi, leaves)
  • a legible ISPM 15 stamp, NPPO-approved treatment certificate, or a phytosanitary certificate detailing any treatment.

If your wood packaging does not comply

If your wood packaging does not meet IHS requirements when it arrives, or is seriously contaminated (such as with live organisms), you will need to do one of the following:

  • treat the packaging (for example, by fumigation)
  • identify the organism (and treat it only if it is a regulated pest)
  • ship the packaging to another destination
  • destroy the packaging.

All treatments have to be done by an approved treatment provider at a transitional facility. You are liable for any costs associated with non-compliance or contamination.

Search for an approved treatment provider [PDF, 285 KB]

Getting your import documents

How you know you've met MPI requirements.

Your wood packaging may be given biosecurity clearance:

  • when you have met the requirements of the IHS for your wood packaging material
  • if regulated pests are not detected, or they have been successfully treated following detection.

You'll also need to check with other agencies, like the New Zealand Customs Service, whether there is anything else you need to do to import your wood packaging.

Who to contact

If you have queries about ISPM 15, contact the exporting country's National Plant Protection Organisation (NPPO) or your customs broker.

For other questions, email

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