As the name suggests, in-transit fumigation is a pest control method where gases like phosphine are safely released into a contained space (predominantly in shipping containers) to eradicate pests during cargo transportation.

It is a way of complying with the phytosanitary certification requirements to prevent the spread of non-native pests and insects globally. In commercial settings, this type of fumigation is used to prevent the infestation and contamination of cargo.

How does in-transit fumigation work?

A fumigator in charge is responsible for the process. This individual is approved and certified to carry out the job and will provide a ship’s captain with documentation that confirms their competence and authorisation.

A document is also supplied with details of the fumigants used (often phosphine) and the health and safety precautions taken.

Once the relevant regulations have been adhered to, the gas is released into a contained space to eradicate any pests. It is maintained at a set concentration for a specific period before being safely aired.

A clearance certificate is then issued so the cargo can be legally accepted at its destination.

What are the benefits of in-transit fumigation?

Fumigation is legally required in imports and exports across the globe, and while it can be carried out in a range of settings, there are benefits to fumigation in transit, such as:

  • The purpose of fumigation is to ensure unwanted non-native pests cannot invade countries around the world and potentially cause millions of pounds’ worth of damage. By carrying out fumigation in transit, you will help to ensure that any potential pests are eradicated before the cargo reaches its destination.
  • In-transit fumigation by a trained specialist will help to establish good industry relationships. Buyers can have peace of mind with certification that states the cargo has been fumigated and safely cleared.
  • By fumigating cargo in transit, you can ensure that all goods will reach their destination without being damaged by rogue pests during the shipping process.
  • Carrying out the fumigation procedure in transit ensures that you are fully compliant with the international regulations and that your cargo won’t be rejected or destroyed upon arrival.

Who can benefit from in-transit fumigation services?

While fumigation is an essential and incredibly important part of imports and exports, it can often be an inconvenient and time-consuming part of shipping. That is why clients who have cargo with a tight turnaround time can usually benefit most from in-transit fumigation.

Fumigation is often carried out prior to shipping at ports, in warehouses, and other commercial sites and can be turned around in 24-48 hours in most cases.

However, we understand that some operators do not have that long, so in-transit fumigation can be carried out during the shipping process to save time. It is just as effective in ensuring the biodiversity of the destination is protected while also protecting the cargo and those in the vicinity.

How to prepare for in-transit fumigation

The preparation for in-transit fumigation begins when the fumigator in charge arrives on board the vessel. As mentioned above, they provide written details of all the safety procedures and recommendations required from this point. This is discussed with the ship’s master and crew to ensure everyone is aware of the process as well as the hazards involved.

As part of the preparation before fumigation, the fumigator in charge establishes the following with the designated crew:

  • How to ensure safe conditions on board throughout the procedure
  • Instructions regarding the fumigants
  • Symptoms of exposure and poisoning
  • Fumigant behaviour and its hazardous properties
  • First aid and medical treatment
  • Disposal of fumigants
  • Safe fumigant extraction
  • Emergency Procedures

The fumigator in charge then checks the cargo holds to discover whether they can be made gas-tight or if they will have to seal the space. Areas where fumigation will occur will be marked with warning signs stating the time and date of the procedure. The fumigator in charge will remain on the vessel until the gas concentrations have reached a level where they can test for leaks. Once they confirm that the cargo and vessel are safe, the fumigator in charge can hand over to the Master.

Why you should use an experienced company for your next shipment

When it comes to in-transit fumigation, it is essential that you not only follow the legal regulations set out in international imports and exports but also that you prioritise the safety of those involved in the process.

While the fumigants used are highly effective in eliminating unwanted pest species, they do pose serious health risks to those involved in the shipping process. Anyone who has contact with the cargo or shipping containers will be at risk, from workers opening and discharging containers to forklift drivers, warehouse operatives, port and custom inspectors.

It is important when choosing a fumigation service that you always opt for an experienced, reputable and licenced fumigation specialist such as Fumigill. The majority of countries will not allow the import of goods without the proper fumigation certification which we are authorised to supply our clients.

Fumigill is authorised and approved by authorities in Australia and New Zealand to use the fumigant sulfuryl fluoride for cargo containers headed for those destinations.

Who should you choose for in-transit fumigation?

We are proud to offer a range of fumigations services, including in-transit fumigation for customers throughout the UK.

It is common practice for exporting countries to have goods fumigated, and our team can treat goods in containers or under sheets safely and efficiently.

If you have pest control concerns and would like to find out more about In Transit Fumigation, please don’t hesitate to contact our team. With over 25 years’ experience in the sector, we are happy to answer any questions you may have and help you find the appropriate solution to your pest problem.

If you would like to find out more about our UK Fumigation Services, speak with our team today by calling 01513456854 or email us at