NZ’s CentrePort requires poison-recapture from boxes

LOCAL: NZ’s CentrePort requires poison-recapture from boxes

by Anastassia Perets — last modified Feb 10, 2014 03:36 PM

Contributors: Additional reporting – Jim Wilson

New Zealand port company, CentrePort, now requires fumigation contractors to recapture methyl bromide – a broad-spectrum poison used as a fumigant – from containers.

Centreport has mandated the use of Nordiko Quarantine Systems-designed equipment, which is able to capture the fumigant simultaneously from multiple containers.

Nordiko managing director Ken Fitzpatrick said this could possibly improve the logistics chain because containers will now be moved faster.

“It generally takes 12 to 15 hours to ventilate a container without the system, but it takes just two to three hours with it,” he said.

New Zealand’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will ban the emission of methyl bromide emission into the atmosphere from 2020 as it is a prominent contributor of greenhouse gases.

“Technology has been around for some time, but what’s exciting is that Wellington has decided to implement their own early phase of the 2020 ruling and a few developments, such as plastic doors on the containers, have made that possible,” said Mr Fitzpatrick.

Human exposure to methyl bromide can result in adverse effects on health. According to the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention methyl bromide can irritate the eyes, skin, respiratory system; it causes muscle weakness, inco-ordination, visual disturbance, dizziness, nausea, headaches, convulsions and breathing difficulties.

Methyl bromide is used extensively as a fumigant because it kills a wide variety of pests including spiders, mites, fungi, plants, insects, nematodes, and rodents, according to the US National Pesticide Information Centre.

It works by expanding to fill all of an enclosed space and will penetrate cracks, crevices, pores and other such spaces.