A powerful group of maritime organisations have called for urgent action to create systems to reduce the risk of pest transference through international cargo movements.
The five international freight transport organisations that form the Cargo Integrity Group (CIG) have issued a public statement that calls on global governments and supply chain authorities to recognise the vital importance of focusing on the threat of invasive pests to natural resources across the world, and of the urgency in crafting risk reduction measures that address the situation.
The call to action follows the announcement by pest control experts under the auspices of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), to take all-encompassing, internationally imposed steps to mitigate such risks. One measure under serious consideration is the mandatory certification of cleanliness for all containers prior to loading on board a ship, a measure that would have significant impact on global trade when it comes to both time and cost.
Lars Kjaer, Senior Vice President of the World Shipping Council (WSC) which along with the Container Owners Association (COA), Global Shippers Forum (GSF), the International Cargo Handling Co-ordination Association (ICHCA International) and the TT Club
Form the CIG, said: “We know that more serious risks occur among certain types of goods and from identified regions. The CIG recommendation centres on the need to provide proper risk assessments in defined trades and focus mandatory measures on these high-risk areas and cargoes.”
The statement added: “The partners in CIG are committed to ensuring that international trade is conducted in a safe, secure, and environmentally sustainable manner. They rigorously promote the use of the ‘Code of Practice for the Packing of Cargo Transport Units’ published by the IMO, the UNECE and the ILO (the CTU Code).”
“The serious issue of the transfer of invasive pests between different natural ecosystems is very much a part of this commitment,” it added. “It is also crucial that the development of any such controls is undertaken in full consultation with other appropriate bodies, in particular the international agencies responsible for the governance of world trade and for the regulation of different modes of transport, as well as supply chain stakeholders and industry practitioners.”
“There are identified risk areas and cargoes which must be addressed, and the CIG partners look forward to contributing essential industry expertise to the work of the IPPC to ensure an effective and efficient set of recommendations and best practices to stop the transfer of invasive species,” concluded James Hookham, Secretary General of Global Shippers Forum.