The CFIA has updated the import requirements for bringing shipborne dunnage into Canada by marine vessel.

The update, titled Directive RMD-20-02, was made to CFIA Directive D-98-08: Entry Requirements for Wood Packaging Material into Canada, which takes effect on July 6, 2023.

Shipborne dunnage is a type of wood packaging material (WPM) used in marine vessels to stabilize or brace cargo during ocean transport. Like other types of WPM, dunnage is generally made from low quality wood that is more likely to be infested with forest pests than other types of wood such as lumber or sawn wood.

When a ship arrives at the port, the cargo is discharged and the dunnage is then separated from the cargo and often left at the port and treated as waste material. Pests including insects, fungi, and bacteria can be found on the shipborne dunnage. This increases the risk to Canada’s forests and plants.

In order to mitigate the risk of pests associated with non-compliant dunnage, the CFIA has established a new shipborne dunnage program providing specific requirements for the safe discharge and disposal of shipborne dunnage in all ports of Canada.

Permit Requirements

Under the rules of the Directive, importers of shipborne dunnage into Canada must have a permit.

As part of the import insurance process, issuance process, the applicant must develop, implement, and maintain a Preventive Control Plan (PCP).

  • The import permit holder must have a Preventive Control Plan (PCP) that is approved by the CFIA
  • The PCP must be implemented prior to the discharge of shipborne dunnage
  • The import permit holder must meet all the requirements as outlined in the D-98-08 and must follow its CFIA-approved PCP at all times
  • The import permit holder must verify that all shipborne dunnage discharged at their facility is marked according to ISPM 15 requirements, made of debarked wood, and does not contain any live pests or signs of live pests
  • The import permit holder must report incidences of non-compliant shipborne dunnage to the CFIA immediately
  • The import permit holder must immediately implement their specified control measures as per its PCP if live pests or signs of live pests are detected
  • Shipborne dunnage can only be moved out of the designated terminal as per a written approval issued by an inspector
  • Shipborne dunnage must be processed or disposed of as per the PCP

Shipborne dunnage is only permitted to be discharged at designated port terminals that are registered in the shipborne dunnage program. The full list of registered ports can be found in Appendix 2 of Directive RMD-20-02.

The vessel owner is responsible for ensuring, where a marine vessel intends to discharge dunnage in Canada, that a notification is made to the CFIA office closest to the discharge port at least 96 hours prior to the vessel’s arrival in Canadian waters.

Shipborne dunnage will have its own set of inspection procedures separate from the rest of the WPM to make sure that the shipborne dunnage program has been effectively implemented.

Note: Shipborne dunnage made entirely of continental U.S. origin wood or Canadian origin wood coming directly from the continental U.S. is exempted from the entry requirements, including discharge under the shipborne dunnage program.

Learn more: D-09-08: Entry Requirements for Wood Packaging Materials in Canada

Learn more: RMD-20-02: Shipborne Dunnage Program

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