As part of the produce trucking industry, we are closely connected to agriculture. According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, agriculture is the largest industry and job sector in the US, citing more than $1 Trillion in economic activity annually.

The largest threat to the agricultural industry in North America is the introduction of invasive pests and foreign diseases. Pests threaten to harm various species of crops and trees; if left unchecked, pests will devastate entire agricultural industries, eliminate jobs, decrease food supplies, and cost billions of dollars. According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, invasive species currently cause $136 billion in lost agriculture every year.

One of the most prevalent ways that invasive species enter the country is via shipping containers on land, sea and air. Obviously, this includes trailers and therefore everyone in the trucking industry has a responsibility to be educated on trailer pest contamination and best practices to eliminate the spread of invasive pests.  

What is Trailer Pest Contamination?

Trailer pest contamination includes the following:

  • Visible forms of animals, insects or other invertebrates. These can be alive or dead, in any lifecycle stage and includes egg casings or rafts.  
  • Organic material of animal origin including blood, bones, hair, flesh, secretions, excretions;
  • Viable or non-viable plants or plant products including prohibited fruit, seeds, leaves, twigs, roots, or bark.
  • Other organic material, including fungi, soil or water, where such products are not the manifested cargo within the container.

The USDA APHIS website lists the following top invasive pest threats to the United States:

  • Asian citrus psyllid
  • Asian gypsy moth
  • Asian longhorn beetle
  • Citrus greening
  • Coconut rhinoceros beetle
  • Emerald ash borer beetle
  • European cherry fruit fly
  • European grapevine moth
  • European gypsy moth
  • False codling moth
  • Giant African snail
  • Imported fire ant
  • Khapra beetle
  • Light brown apple moth
  • Mediterranean fruit fly
  • Mexican fruit fly
  • Old World Bollworm
  • Oriental fruit fly
  • Spotted lanternfly
  • Sudden Oak Death

The APHIS site is a great resource that no only lists the top invasive pests but also provides the areas with federal quarantines and the agriculture that are at risk.

How Does the Threat of Pest Contamination Affect Drivers?

If your trailer is found to contain any of the above-mentioned trailer pest contamination types, a driver can be at risk for:

  • Devanning charges
  • Cross dock charges
  • Re-delivery charges
  • Possible product re-export charges
  • Trailer cleaning
  • Trailer fumigation

These are just some of the monetary charges a trailer pest contamination can result in. There is also the cost of your time. Delays for inspection, redelivery, cleaning, etc. always cost money and result in potential loss of business.  

What are Some Simple Ways to Prevent Trailer Pest Contamination?

The following best practices should be followed, whenever possible, to reduce the threat of your trailer becoming contaminated and to ensure clean BOLs upon delivery:

  • Store cargo away from vegetation and/or avoid placing trailers over grain, soil, or vegetation.
  • Visually inspect cargo and trailer for contaminants and pests before loading.
  • Start with a clean trailer prior to loading. Sweep, vacuum, or wash trailers prior to loading.
  • Store, cover, and clean pallets, dunnage, crates, load locks, etc. as needed so they won’t be exposed.
  • When possible used paved areas to avoid contamination from loose soil and other contaminants.
Trailer Pest Contamination: A Driver’s Guide to What it is and Ways to Prevent it was last modified: by