Khapra beetle adds to seasonal biosecurity disruption concerns


Trade and logistics non-compliance not an option, C.H. Robinson warns

Khapra beetle adds to seasonal biosecurity disruption concerns
Authorities are poised to come down harder on biosecurity threats

 

Another exotic pest ringing alarm bells with Australian authorities and logistics industry players, just as preparations for the annual brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) season loom.

The latest cause for concern is the khapra beetle, which the federal agriculture department is taking "urgent actions" to combat while is still absent from our shores.

"The global spread of khapra beetle is increasing and it is being detected on a wide range of plant products and as a hitchhiker pest on containers," the department states.

"If khapra beetle enters Australia it would have significant economic consequences.

"An outbreak could cost Australia $15.5 billion over 20 years through revenue losses arising from reduction in production and exports.

It is declared a pest by the Western Australian primary industries department.

That department notes that it is "one of the most serious pests of stored grain products, especially under hot and dry conditions.

"It is very resilient and can survive in stored food, packaging and transport facilities in very low numbers under difficult conditions. It is able to survive inactively for long periods."


Read how industry players warned of BSMB disruption last August, here


Government biosecurity concerns have been heightened by the introduction this year of the fall armyworm, which is voracious and fast-spreading in the nation’s north, and there can be little doubt authorities will not hesitate to make moves disruptive to transport and trade to shield primary industries from such predations.

The concern prompts third-party logistics (3PL) provider and customs broker C.H. Robinson to warn that non-compliance and lack of forward planning were the biggest causes of delays at the Australian border during the 2019-20.

"September 1 marks the beginning of the next BMSB season, signifying increased regulations to protect Australia from the ravenous insect that threatens its lucrative agricultural industry," the company says.

"While existing treatment regulations remain in place, some new guidelines must be taken into account, including the use of perforated shrink wrap, container packing methodologies altered to allow for fumigation and the encouragement of offshore treatment to reduce delays upon arrival in Australia.

"Concerns surrounding the khapra beetle have also emerged with urgent regulations set to be phased in within the coming months."

C.H. Robinson vice president Oceania Andrew Coldrey points to the Australian Trusted Trader program as a valuable support.

"The Australian Trusted Trader logo signifies a business’s commitment to compliance and security throughout its international supply chain," Coldrey says.

"Becoming a Trusted Trader provides myriad benefits, including faster clearance at customs and consolidated cargo clearance, which is highly advantageous when facing delays during Stink Bug season."

He emphasises that compliance should always be the priority even if seemingly more expensive at the outset, regardless of season.

"Working with a logistics provider that is experienced and prioritises regulation compliance ensures the transit of goods runs efficiently, ultimately preventing any unforeseen costs that could affect the bottom line," Coldrey says.

 

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