Familiarizing with Growth-Related and Manufactured Defects in Wooden Crates

Australia has strict requirements set in place for timber packing and dunnage. These products include any combination of solid timber, reconstituted wood or plywood that is used to protect or support any type of commodity in international trade, whether it be beams, skids, drums, blocks or crates. All wooden crates must meet ISPM 15 requirements, must be free of bark, must be declared as free of bark, and must not be manufactured from plywood and veneer. The requirements place a huge emphasis on the quality of the wood components. Before shipping wooden crates out, you must familiarize with growth-related and manufactured defects as noted below.

What Are Growth-Related Defects?

Growth-related defects are related to the quality of the wood that was used to manufacture the wooden crates. Most growth-related defects are easy to spot, and are a result of poor filtration from the manufacturing company. The manufacturing company, a place like Australian Boxes & Cases, is responsible for inspecting the wood that they use prior to the manufacturing process to determine whether the wood can meet or exceed the requirements that have been established. Growth-related defects include: 

  • checks, shakes and splits. Checks and shakes are cracks that run through the board lengthwise. These defects may not be longer than the width of the wooden beams that the crates are manufactured out of, and checks may not extend through the full thickness of the beams. 
  • sound knots and unsound knots. Knots are common blemishes in the timber caused by the natural growth of the tree, by cut off or broken limbs and branches or by fungal infections. If the knot is rotten, then it is considered as unsound whereas if it is in healthy condition, it is considered to be sound. Sound knots can be much larger than unsound knots and still pass inspection. 
  • warping. If the wood has altered in shape due to temporal issues and is twisted out of shape, the structural integrity of the wooden crates will be compromised. You must make sure that all of the beams are study and straight.
  • cross grains. This is the alternating region of darker and lighter wood. It is crucial that the grains are in one direction and do not deviate much as a whole. 
  • decay. Any form of sign of decay is not permitted. You will want to look for stains and discolourations when inspecting the wood used in the wooden crates. If there are stains and discolourations that are not associated with decay, they are only permitted if they are not located near the outer edges of the crates. 

What Are Manufactured Defects?

Manufactured defects are problems that have arisen during the manufacturing process, and are not related to the quality of the wood. It may be a problem with the design or errors that are a result from the equipment used. Manufacturing defects will include:

  • saw cuts and manufactured holes. Errors are made with the machines at times that can result in holes or unwanted cuts. This can compromise the structural integrity of the wooden crates as well. The size of the holes and cuts will determine whether the wooden crates are still stable. 
  • steps. Steps are also known as saw mismatches and are related to the size of the wood components. 


If the wooden crates exhibit any of these defects and fail to meet the requirements that are required by the government, they will not be approved or may have to undergo mandatory treatment. To prevent your cargo from being delayed at the borders and sent back, you will want to inspect all of the wooden crates that you use ahead of time in order to determine whether there are any defects present that need to be addressed.