Meeting international quality standards is an integral part of exporting goods from India. It is important to understand that the goods are being exported to another country and exporters are expected to meet the requirements of that particular country. These standards are primarily in place to ensure that the final goods being received by the customer are not damaged and are of good quality.
For instance, after the goods have been packed and are ready for dispatch, some countries like US, Australia, UK, and Japan require that the shipment containers are fumigated before the containers leave the origin country. After a shipment has been packed and ready for shipment, there are chances of infestation or damage by pests, termites, or viruses. To ensure that the goods being transported are safe and of good quality, the exporters are expected to furnish a fumigation certificate and take adequate steps for disinfection.
The fumigation process usually involves filling the container or the export shipment with fumigants. It is carried out by a certified team of experts. Methyl bromide and phosphine are chemicals that are usually used for fumigation.
How is the fumigation process carried out?
The fumigation process is different in the case of full container load and loose container load. Here is how the fumigation process is carried out under the two methods:
Fumigation under Full Container Load (FLC) method:
Fumigation under the FCL method is done by passing the fumigant into the container and keeping it held inside for some time. The fumigant is ventilated after some time. The doors are then sealed and the shipment is ready for shipment.
Fumigation under Loose Container Load (LCL) method:
LCL fumigation is done when the goods being shipped do not occupy the entire container and some other shipments are being sent together. In this case, fumigation is done by using gas-proof sheeting.
What is a fumigation certificate?
A Fumigation Certificate is an official document that can be used as proof to state that the necessary fumigation process has been completed and all boxes in the shipment have been treated to protect against pests or infestation. It is critical to note that wooden boxes are used for transporting goods in the export-import business. These boxes must be fumigated to protect against pest infestation. After the exercise of fumigation is completed, a Fumigation Certificate is issued.
A global treaty, namely, International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM) spells out the standards to be followed by wooden packaging material to protect against pest infestation in wooden pallets.
Several countries have established National Plant Protection Organizations (NPPOs) that ensure that the international standards for measures related to phytosanitary are being followed. These Organizations usually issue a phytosanitary certificate at the time of import.
The main difference between a Phytosanitary Certificate and a Fumigation Certificate is that the former is issued by a government department to ensure that the cargo in transit has been treated for protection against pests while Fumigation Certificate is issued by an organization that completes the fumigation process.
Here are the key details that are included in the Fumigation Certificate:
- Organization details for issuing the certificate
- Details of the fumigant used
- Certificate ID
- Treatment purpose
- Cargo details
- Details of the importer
- Details of the exporter
- Details of the container
- Details of the destination/entry port
Getting Fumigation Certificate for export from India
An exporter can follow the following process to get a fumigation certificate from India:
- An exporter is expected to get in touch with the officer-in-charge at the relevant PQ station at the port from where the goods will be dispatched.
- PQ Officer is expected to draw out a sample from the shipment for lab testing
- In case any infestation is found in the lab testing stage, the exporter is then expected to arrange for the fumigation of the consignment at an approved location. The exporter is expected to bear the cost of fumigation.
- After the fumigation exercise is complete, a fumigation certificate is issued to the exporter.
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Who issues the phytosanitary certificate?
National Plant Protection Organizations (NPPO) issue a phytosanitary certificate to the exporter.
Is a fumigation certificate required for wooden packaging material?
Yes. Fumigation is required for all the wooden packaging material to be exported.
What are the important things to be kept in mind for fumigation?
An exporter should keep a note of products that should not be exposed to a fumigant
Wooden containers are best kept at an adequate distance from each other
Fumigation exercises must be conducted by an experienced professional keeping in mind all the guidelines.