CLEARING THE AIR: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT FUMIGATING COMMODITIES AND CARGO
When it comes to international trade, ensuring the safety of commodities and crew is paramount. Expert fumigation can help to do so, but what this really means and how it is done can be confusing.
We spoke with an AHK expert to answer your ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ on all things fumigation to clear the fog and provide as much information as possible as to how this process can help.
WHAT IS THE FUMIGATION OF COMMODITIES OR CARGO?
Fumigation is a method of using lethal gas in an enclosed space to kill all pests. During the process, fumigators introduce fumigants in a solid or gaseous state and leave them in a confined space with a commodity for a certain amount of time. This eliminates any pests within that cargo.
WHEN IS FUMIGATION OF COMMODITIES OR CARGO NECESSARY?
Fumigation is only necessary when a trader wants it. An expert fumigator won’t fumigate anything that they don’t have to. However, there are two reasons why fumigation might be required.
One reason is that a crew member has either seen insects or the trader wants to fumigate as a preventative measure. The other is to ensure goods meet import requirements. For example, when importing grain, the country of origin might require a final certification of fumigation before processing cargo.
WHAT PESTS CAN BE PREVENTED THROUGH FUMIGATION?
Simply put, following fumigation, any pests within that confined space will be eliminated. An expert fumigator will always follow the strict standards on the Weevil-Cide label. The list of insects or pests on that label should and could be identified within that contained area.
IS FUMIGATION SAFE FOR COMMODITIES AND CREW?
During a fumigation, an expert fumigator will introduce and implement a solid-state chemical that turns into a gaseous state. In this state, it travels among the commodity, however, it does not absorb into the grain or commodity. Therefore, it kills all insects in and around the grain but doesn’t pose a risk for human consumption, making the fumigation of commodities safe.
When it comes to the safety of contained areas such as ships, cargo holds or containers, fumigation poses a different type of risk. A Master Fumigator will implement the fumigant and give clear and concise instructions to the vessel crew about ventilation, standards and protocols. This will also include hands-on instructions on how to eliminate any potential risks so that if there is a potential leak, the crew can resolve the issue safely and quickly.
In essence, following comprehensive fumigation, the crew should have confidence in both the process and the instructions they have been given, so that when they arrive at the port of destination, they know exactly what to do, as if they themselves were fumigators.
HOW LONG DOES A FUMIGATION TREATMENT USUALLY TAKE?
This is one of the most frequently asked questions by clients regarding fumigation. A fumigator won’t know how long the process will take because every fumigation is different based on external factors.
For example, the higher the temperature or the higher the humidity, the shorter the exposure time required. The cooler the temperature, or lower the humidity, the longer the fumigation time required. This is all based on the regulatory implementation on the fumigant label and the governing bodies who enforce that label.
CAN ANYONE FUMIGATE A SHIPMENT?
No, not everyone can fumigate a shipment. Certain countries have strict regulations for fumigation. For example, in Canada, a professional must pass two exams to receive their fumigator license and the organisation they work for must also have a fumigator permit.
Based on the Transport Canada regulations and guidelines, once a Fumigator has their permit, they must accrue 150 hours on a vessel, supervised by a Master Fumigator. This on-vessel training will teach the complexities of fumigation and crew interactions, how to deliver fumigation information and how to ensure the correct and safe execution of procedures at the port of destination.
WHY CHOOSE ALFRED H KNIGHT TO FUMIGATE AGRICULTURAL COMMODITIES?
Alfred H Knight is a family-owned business with over 140 years of experience in providing expert support to clients globally.
When we introduced our agricultural division and brought in fumigation, we wanted to implement and replicate that same family feel with our hand-picked team of experienced fumigators. Our tight-knit team cares about one another both personally and professionally. This not only instils trust amongst our team but exudes confidence in vessel crews and clients.
If you would like to learn more about our fumigation services head to our fumigation services page. To see how we can support your operations, get in touch with one of AHK’s Master Fumigators using this link.
FUMIGATION MANAGER, NORTH AMERICA
With over 14 years of experience in the fumigation services industry, Cory has built an in-depth knowledge of fumigation services. This knowledge covers both a technical and commercial perspective.