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Submission review on sea containers completed

2 July 2003

Submission review on sea containers completed

Clarification of the requirements for external inspection was a key request in the submissions received on the revised Import Health Standard (IHS) for sea containers.

Neil Hyde, Director of Border Management with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) said the issues raised in the 47 submissions were indicative of the level of awareness of the sea container pathway.

“Managing biosecurity risks associated with sea containers is particularly challenging. During 2001/2002 over 260,000 full and 160,000 empty containers were imported into New Zealand, an increase of nearly 50% in the last 5 years. The diversity in origins of sea containers and their contents is also increasing,” he said.

“These changes indicate that the biosecurity risk posed by the sea container pathway is growing. The provisions of the revised import health standard will deliver a substantial increase in biosecurity protection for this pathway.”

Submissions were sought earlier this year on the sea container review, which included a survey of over 11,000 sea containers. The survey examined risks associated with a number of factors such as packaging materials, cargo, accuracy of manifest descriptions for contents and packaging and the movement of the containers within New Zealand.

Submissions were received from maritime and cargo industry representatives, Crown Research Institutes, local and national government, private citizens and advocacy groups. Generally issues raised concerned internal and external inspection requirements, auditing and non-compliance issues, clarification of definitions and the use of trained and accredited non-MAF staff to check low-risk containers for contamination.

“These concerns raised are being worked through. The submissions have raised valid concerns and provided valuable recommendations that MAF will take into account in the final drafting of the standard.

“We carefully considered the various risks associated with sea containers, and a great deal of effort and expertise will go into ensuring these risks are managed appropriately, to protect New Zealand’s environment, biodiversity and economic security,” Mr Hyde said.

The Import Health Standard for Sea Containers from all Countries is expected to be finalised by mid July 2003 and will outline requirements for importers, exporters and transitional facilities and the consequences of failing to comply with these requirements.

A copy of the summary of submissions can be viewed at:
http://www.maf.govt.nz/sea-container-review

ENDS

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