The risk of introducing the Asian Gypsy Moth (AGM) into North American supply chains is high this year, judging by actions of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Canadian Food Inspection Agency. They are issuing regulations for vessels arriving at North American ports this summer from Far East Russia, Japan, Korea, and Northern China.
The Asian Gypsy Moth is a pest that can be carried on the superstructure of ships and cargo and is prevalent in some seaport areas. Inchcape Shipping Services (ISS) reports that U.S. and Canadian authorities intercepted a large number of vessels with AGM egg masses arriving in North America last year. ISS issued an announcement that vessels arriving without the required AGM documentation or if AGM infestation is detected, there can be significant delays in cargo loading or discharging activities. It is the responsibility of shipping lines to meet all requirements for entry to the U.S. and Canada, ISS added.
“Vessels must arrive at North American ports with required pre-departure certification and free of AGM,” its announcement stated. For vessels which have called on areas regulated for AGM, several measures are required as follows:
- Vessels must be inspected and obtain pre-departure certification from a recognized certification body located in a regulated area and forward a copy of the certificate, stating that the vessel is free of Asian gypsy moth life stages, to their U.S or Canadian agents. The inspections should be performed as close to departure time from the regulated port as possible.
- Vessels must arrive to North American ports free from AGM. To avoid facing inspection delays, re-routing and other potential impacts associated with mitigating the risk of entry of AGM to North America, shipping lines should perform intensive vessel self-inspections to look for, remove (scrape off) and properly dispose of or destroy all egg masses and other life stages of AGM prior to entering U.S. and Canadian ports.
- Vessels must provide two year port of call data, at least 96 hours prior to arrival at a North American port, to the Canadian or U.S. agent. The agent will ensure that this information is provided to U.S. and Canadian officials.
The U.S. and Canada are in full agreement on the requirement for AGM pre-departure certification and vessels arriving free from all AGM life forms (egg masses, pupae, adults), although due to sovereign regulations and policies, there are differences in port-of-entry processes between the two countries. Local inspection authorities in the port of entry should be contacted for any questions regarding AGM import requirements or clearance procedures.