New Unified Container Inspection & Repair Criteria address contaminating pests

17 July 2023 – The international supply chain is probably one of the most complex networks man has created, carrying 250 million containers every year. It’s safe and smooth functioning relies on everyone in the chain taking responsibility for the integrity and cleanliness of the container when in their care. To help address this, the revised Unified Container Inspection & Repair Criteria (UCIRC) published by BIC, ICS and WSC now includes inspection criteria for container depots and other container handover facilities to address pest contamination on and in containers.

The first edition of the Unified Container Inspection & Repair Criteria (UCIRC), designed for use at all container depots and container interchanges, was developed and published by ICS in 2000. The publication details the criteria to be considered in the context of inspection for physical damage or structural deformations of the sea container. Since then, the industry has developed and, maybe most importantly, contaminating pests hitchhiking in or on containers has increasingly become an issue of concern. However, the previous editions of UCRIC did not address inspection for visible pest contamination on the container, resulting in the possibility that containers might be dispatched empty from container depots with hitchhiker pests.

To address this issue, Bureau International des Containers (BIC), the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and the World Shipping Council (WSC) joined to ensure the UCIRC was adjusted to meet today’s requirements. The revised UCIRC has been updated to make inspection for and removal of visible pest contamination an integral part of the container inspection and dispatch process. The document outlines special provisions to inspect for pest contamination at container depots as well as at all other interchange points.

Just as any major structural deficiencies must be repaired, any pest contaminants must be taken care of prior to the dispatch of the empty container to the shipper. The revised UCIRC make this clear and also expressly reference the recently updated Prevention of Pest Contamination of Containers: Joint Industry Guidelines for Cleaning of Containers by BIC, COA, IICL and WSC. The two publications in tandem demonstrate the commitment of the container shipping industry to play a proactive role in minimizing pest contamination via the sea container pathway.

The global container supply chain stretches across the ocean and all continents of our world, and it falls on the parties in the supply chain to keep it safe.

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