Ningbo Customs works to stop entry of invasive species, diseases

By YUAN SHENGGAO (China Daily) Updated : 2020-12-09


Staff members at Ningbo Customs detect harmful organisms in an empty parcel. CHINA DAILY

Department has implemented a slew of new policies in recent years to get ahead of latest threats

Ningbo Customs in Zhejiang province is working to build a world-class port that promotes the domestic and international "dual circulation" development pattern. It will also play a key role in preventing animal and plant epidemics, as well as diseases and foreign biological invasion, local officials said.

Ningbo Customs has set up a leading group for the prevention of invasive species and issued the Ningbo Customs Port Prevention and Control Work Plan for Invasive Alien Species.

"Invasive alien species have been recognized as the greatest threat to biodiversity loss and destruction of the ecological environment," said Qian Xianming, head of the animal and plant quarantine department at Ningbo Customs.

On Nov 16, the Ningbo Customs post office discovered an image of a Japanese inbound parcel declared as a facial mask and facial cleanser during the X-ray inspection. Staff members at Ningbo Customs found three live beetles when they opened the box for inspection.

Invasive organisms have a significant economic impact on agriculture, forestry, animal husbandry and fishery, customs officials said.

They cause a decline in the output and quality of agricultural products. The cost of prevention and control of such pests is significant.

Foreign pests can also affect international trade.

Import countries have adopted a variety of technical trade measures to prevent the invasion of foreign pests, which has led to an increase in costs of international trade and slowed the speed of customs clearance.

The delays hinder the normal development of international trade.

Ningbo Customs has strengthened its analysis and control of invasive species.

It has enhanced the quarantine of imported animals and plants through nontrade channels such as cross-border e-commerce and inbound mail.

Ningbo Customs has intercepted quarantine and general pests and invasive alien species many times this year to effectively guarantee the safety of the ecological environment as well as the health of the local people.

In addition to controlling invasive species at ports, Ningbo Customs has also worked to prevent major animal and plant epidemics in recent years.

In 2018, Ningbo Customs implemented the African swine fever prevention and control initiative immediately after the first case occurred in Shenyang, Liaoning province.

Its prevention protocol included supervising inbound transport vehicles and quarantining all ships and aircraft from the African swine fever epidemic areas.

As per the initiative, swill and domestic garbage are subject to strict quarantine treatment and all intercepted pork and its products will be destroyed or returned for disposal.

The initiative has effectively raised the public awareness of the African swine fever and strengthened communication with maritime police and other port units.

Ningbo Customs has also advanced the mutual recognition of the downward supervision of garbage from ships on international voyages as well as the quarantine supervision of frozen smuggled goods intercepted at sea.

From January to October, Ningbo Customs intercepted 11 batches of pork products at the airport, traveled postal inspection channels and took samples for inspection.

All 241 aircraft and 1,354 ships from the African swine fever epidemic areas were subject to boarding quarantine and treatment.

All are sealed and processed to effectively prevent and control the introduction of the African swine fever.

Since the beginning of this year, the desert locust disaster has spread rapidly from East Africa to the Middle East, India and Pakistan on its way to China's southwest border.

Ningbo Customs has launched a series of deployment requirements of the General Administration of Customs for the prevention and control of desert locusts.

The customs department has also carried out epidemic prevention and control measures and guided enterprises to take necessary preventive initiatives.

It has implemented a desert locust inspection and zero reporting system while also strengthening the quarantine of inbound vehicles and goods from desert locust epidemic areas. Three charter flights from India and the United Arab Emirates have also been subject to stronger quarantine.