Container Fumigation: Examples, Time, Prices, and more

For cargo to reach its destination without pests or other dangerous organisms, container fumigation is necessary.

Most nations will not let the import of products if the shipping containers have not been fumigated where they’re being shipped from.

Let’s now talk about Container Fumigation and why Container Fumigation is vital before international shipping.

What is Container fumigation?

What is Container fumigation (2)

Using fumigants during fumigation kills, suffocates, or poisons any pests in a given area. Following the procedure, the licensing body will issue a certificate that must go with the cargo to a new location. Packaging has been fumigated, according to certificates. They include information about the treatment’s goal, the fumigants utilized, and the temperature range.

There may be other “occupants” in the container when the cargo is ready to be transferred from one place to another, but no one has invited them. Pests, termites, and numerous other toxic living things that have a real chance of spreading diseases are exactly what you assumed they were. And for this reason, fumigating the containers before they are put onto a ship for transportation is necessary for most nations.

For international transit, fumigation is required. It is mandated by either national laws or the IMO International Maritime Dangerous Go.

Why is a Container fumigation certificate required for international shipping?

Why is a Container fumigation certificate required for international shipping

For foreign or maritime freight shipments, a fumigation certificate is required. If you don’t follow these instructions, your cargo might not be sent, be liquidated, or be quarantined when it gets to other ports.

An International Standard for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM 15) was created in 2002 to standardize environmental safety precautions for wooden packing.

Previously, many authorities demanded various limitations that hampered international trade. All exporters must adhere to ISPM 15 regulations, which state that all wooden packing must be treated against vermin.

These restrictions were implemented because insects and fungi that live in transport timber can spread into marshes and forests, destroying trees and other plant life.

Millions of wood pallets are moved globally every day to enable the import and export of goods, which presents a significant concern for preserving wildlands.

What are the container fumigation requirements?

What are the container fumigation requirements?

The fumigation certificate, which is required when transporting international or ocean freight cargo, is the most significant prerequisite for container fumigation (as mentioned before).

A fumigation certificate must include information on the reason for the fumigation treatment and a list of the fumigants utilized. Furthermore, specific information regarding the duration of the fumigation and the temperature range must be provided.

The ISPM 15 acknowledges four distinct methods for removing the potential issues from insects and other impurities found in shipping wood.

Dielectric Heat Treatment

Dielectric Heat Treatment

To get the wood to a temperature of 60 degrees Celsius, a high-frequency electromagnetic field, radio wave, or microwave is applied within thirty minutes of the procedure starting.

Manufacturers of these pallets are required to request NPPO permission. According to industry predictions, this treatment method will spread because of how quickly it can be completed and how advantageous it is for operations.

Kiln Drying

Kiln drying is comparable to (HT) but also lowers the wood’s moisture content. Pallets are heated gently inside sizable heating chambers or kilns in a procedure that removes extra moisture. 

Since reducing moisture rather than explicitly eliminating pests is the goal of kiln drying, suitable IPSM 15 moisture criteria must be observed and recorded. An HT stamp is also included with kiln-dried treated wood.

Methyl Bromide

The longest procedure that is deemed appropriate for IPSM 15 is Methyl Bromide (MB). MB, also referred to as bromomethane, is a colorless, odorless gas that has historically been applied to crops as a fumigant and pesticide. Due to its toxicity, it is gradually being phased out of use in general; however, it is appropriate for treating wood in a regulated setting.

Usually, it is used in conjunction with either container fumigation or quarantine, in which the entire container containing the wood is filled with MB and quarantined for 24 hours before being aerated and released. 

A different approach approved for IPSM 15 entails isolating the wooden cargo and enclosing it with a unique tent that is airtight with weights. After pumping MB into the tent, the required 24 hours pass before the cargo is once more aerated and discharged. Methyl bromide-treated wood palettes with the MB marking.

Heat Treatment

For heat treatment (HT), wood must be heated for at least 30 minutes or until its core reaches 56 degrees Celsius. A specialized kiln or commercial microwave is used to render wood or packaging made of timber inhospitable for insects. A stamp reading “HT” is present on treated pallets.

What is the container fumigation process?

What is the container fumigation process

The most sensitive packaging to parasites is made of wood because it provides a comfortable habitat for the pests in quarantine to live in or lay eggs. The only species that gained notoriety after crossing continents are the Asian Lady Beetle, Toxic Cane Toad, and Asian Gypsy Moth. Once they were introduced to the new environments, they posed serious challenges. The primary focus of fumigation is wooden packing because of this.

Depending on the type of gas utilized in the dry treatment, the fumigation procedure may take a different amount of time. Fumigators must provide the necessary minimum effective dosage, type of treatment, and exposure time, together with the requisite efficacy criteria. So all you need to do is employ a specialist.

Fumigation can be of two different types:

(FCL) refers to the process of fumigating a shipping container that is fully loaded with exporting goods. Before being evacuated, the fumigating gas is retained in the container for a while. It works better with the gasses circulating inside the container. Doors are then sealed, and containers are prepared for delivery.

Fumigation of Loose Container Loads: Occasionally, the entire container may not contain the items that require fumigation. They are kept apart as a result. Under gas-proof sheets, fumigation takes place. After keeping the cargo under the covering for a while, the area is eventually ventilated.

Additionally, the empty container can be fumigated before it is filled.

When is no need to do the container fumigation?

When is no need to do the container fumigation?

Cardboard, plastic pallets, and other “man-made” non-wood materials do not require fumigation. Because of this, shippers prefer to use plastic packing to avoid paying for and taking time for fumigation.

Today, rules are in place to stop the spread of non-autochtonous parasites through the UN organization ISPM-15.

A few of the exceptions are:

  • Made from wood shavings, repurposed wood, sawdust, and wood wool, the Presswood Pallet.
  • Plastic Pallets – All ISPM-15 laws and regulations do not apply to plastic Mondipal pallets in any way.
  • Wood packaging material composed completely of thin wood is 6 mm thick (6 mm or less in thickness).
  • Wooden packing is made entirely of wood fiber that has been treated.
  • Euroblock Palletblocks are 100% ISPM-15 compliant wood fiber export pallet blocks.
  • Wine and spirits that have been heated during production go in barrels.
  • Wooden parts that are permanently affixed to containers and freight trucks are called gift boxes.

How long does container fumigation take?

Fumigation involves decontaminating with strong gas and drying wood at 56°C for 30 minutes (a compound that, after spraying, does not float in the air but falls to the ground).

How much does container fumigation cost? 

How much does container fumigation cost? 

You will have to make the fumigation arrangements on your own to guarantee the security of your shipment. And cover the fees. The hauling costs from the exporter’s facilities to the port or warehouse are included in the expenses you pay to the fumigator. There may occasionally be a fuel cost added.

The location has an impact on the rates as well. However, we can look at some costs provided online by different container fumigation providers to get an idea.

For instance, it can cost you $60 to heat-treat wooden pallets for two to three hours. However, the cost is higher for gas treatments. Look at the following table:

20FT container: 40FT container:
Fumigation @ G.A.S or Khapra rate extra CH3Br$145$300
Fumigations, incl lifts (Methyl Bromide)$340$525
Fumigation, incl lifts (Sulfuryl Fluoride Profume)$450$650

Prices may vary depending on the shipment’s status, such as whether it contains imported or exported products.

LCL Fumigation (Export)For the first 3m3$170
Per m3 thereafter$65
LCL Fumigation (Import)For the first 3m3$155
Per m3 thereafter$60
LCL Fumigation @ Gas RateFor the first 3m3$185
Per m3 thereafter$85

However, in the end, you’ll need to contact the service providers to find out just how much your business would cost to fumigate a container. 

They need to know the type and size of your container, the quantity and nature of the cargo within, and the kind of fumigants necessary to calculate the cost and turnaround time.


Because you can never be sure what kind of quarantine pests you’re sending or bringing in with your cargo, fumigation is required for outbound and inbound shipping containers. Not to mention, most nations forbid the importation of products unless the shipping containers have gone through cargo fumigation procedures at the point of pickup.

DFH Global Logistics - China

Any Questions?
Talk with Jack Now