Posted on Mon, 10 Dec 2018, 12:06
9 November 2018, Shenzhen, China - With the huge volume of international trade, sea containers can become vehicles for plant pests and diseases to spread into new areas. The International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) has therefore set up a special Sea Containers Task Force (SCTF) to deal with this specific issue. The SCTF’s second meeting recently took place from 5 to 9 November 2018 in Shenzhen, China where participants:
reviewed the Terms of Reference (ToRs) and the Rules of Procedures (RoP) of the IPPC SCTF;
discussed the Commission on Phystosanitary Measure’s Recommendation (R-06) on Sea Containers – in particular the roles and responsibilities of shippers and packers in minimizing the risk of pest contamination when packing - and related SCTF action items;
discussed developing a SCTF communication strategy and plan;
developed the 2019 SCTF work plan and updated the IPPC SCTF Multi-Year Action Plan; and
established success indicators for implementing the Complementary Action Plan for assessing and managing pest threats associated with sea containers.
Discussion on the CPM-11 Recommendation R-06 on Sea Containers
Participants noted that the CPM Recommendation (R-06) on Sea Containers overlooked the importance of the packing stage, where contamination is most likely to happen. Future actions should account for all possible touch points for inspections so that the cleanliness of sea containers is guaranteed. Carriers, shippers, consignees and others involved in packing and unpacking should respect the IMO/ILO/UNECE Code of Practice for Packing of Cargo Transport Units (CTU Code).
Roles and responsibilities of the Sea Containers Task Force
Discussions focused on the need to clarify the roles and responsibilities of SCTF members and experts. Industry representatives should take part in decision making so that the interests of contracting parties and industry are preserved. Changes to the SCTF Terms of Reference (ToRs) and the Rules of Procedures (RoP) were therefore proposed to the Implementation and Capacity Development Committee (IC) for their consideration.
Developing a SCTF Communication Plan
Participants agreed that more attention should be given to raising awareness of sea containers and related best practices. A communication strategy and plan will thus be developed with support from the North American Initiative on Sea Containers. Materials for specific audiences will also be developed in collaboration with different stakeholders.
Monitoring Sea Container Cleanliness: Guidelines and Survey
The Questionnaire and Guidelines on monitoring Sea Container Cleanliness will be translated into all FAO official languages and sent to National Plant Protection Organizations (NPPOs). Contracting parties who are already conducting sea container cleanliness surveys are to be invited to compile and submit data (dating back not earlier then January 2016) in the next three months. The Survey will help define baseline data and measure the uptake of the CTU Code.
Success Indicators for implementing the action plan for assessing and managing pest threats associated with sea containers
Success indicators for implementing the complementary action plan included:
NPPOs conduct surveys and reach out to stakeholders
An SCTF outreach calendar created
Surveys are conducted in a consistent manner
Evidence of increased uptake of the CTU code
The 2019 Work Plan and the Multi-Year Action Plan
The 2019 Sea Containers Task Force (SCTF) work plan will be approved by the IPPC’s Implementation Committee (IC) during their November 2018 meeting. The SCTF Multi-Year Action Plan was reviewed and approved.
More about the meeting
The meeting was jointly organized by the IPPC Secretariat, and the General Administration of Customs of China (GACC). It was hosted by the Customs Bureau of the Shenzhen Region. Participants included IPPC SCTF members representing contracting parties (Australia, China, Kenya and USA) and Regional Plant Protection Organizations (RPPOs); the CPM Bureau (North America Region); and the IC Lead of the SCTF. Experts from the IPPC Sea Container Working Group, the World Customs Organization (WCO), the World Bank (WB), the Global Shippers Forum (GSF), the World Shipping Council (WSC), and the Chinese Shipping Industry also participated. Several observers, mainly from the GACC and the Ministry of Agriculture of China, also attended.
The full report of the meeting will be available at: https://www.ippc.int/en/core-activities/capacity-development/sea-containers/ SCTF webpage