Fumigation Chemical Shortage in Singapore

As a chemical shortage in Singapore hinders BMSB methyl bromide fumigation for Australian-bound consignments, DoA says it won't accept any substitute treatments such as phosphine.

Last week the Department of Agriculture (DoA) issued notice no. 09-2020: “Methyl bromide shortage in Singapore.” It is directed to clients in the import and shipping industries - including freight forwarders, importers and customs brokers - associated with importing goods that require BMSB treatment during the Stink Bug risk season (goods shipped after 01 September 2019 that arrive in Australia by 31 May 2020).

DoA reports that there is potentially a current shortage of methyl bromide in Singapore, and that some companies within the country may have consequently stopped accepting new requests to conduct BMSB methyl bromide fumigations for Australian-bound consignments.

It is in fact part of a global shortage of methyl bromide, and the high volume of transit container cargoes undergoing treatment / re-treatment at Singapore has impacted supply. The main distributor in Singapore for methyl bromide gas is unable to keep up with the high demand.

This shortage does not change DoA’s BMSB requirements - they will not accept any other treatment types in substitute of the approved BMSB treatment options (methyl bromide fumigation, sulfuryl fluoride fumigation and heat treatment). Likewise, they do not allow the unpacking of containers onshore in Australia to remove target high risk commodities from the rest of the consignment for treatment. We understand that DoA recently approved a heat treatment facility in the Port of Singapore (BMSB treatment providers Singapore) which will provide an alternative option to methyl bromide treatment.

Re-stocking of supplies are expected from early February but may not recover until the end of March 2020. Meanwhile, our industry has been asked to assist by limiting requests for methyl bromide treatment to urgent items.

As licensed Customs Brokers and International Freight Forwarders, Alliance Intercontinental can offer you correct advice on all Biosecurity regulations and treatment options. We are based in Brisbane and handle cargo, both import and export, at all major ports and airports around Australia.

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