Shipping Lithium Batteries Internationally
Shipping lithium batteries internationally requires adherence to strict safety protocols. This includes careful packaging and filling out customs documentation accurately. Working with a freight forwarder helps simplify the process and ensures compliance.
Lithium ion batteries are used in everything from smart devices to electric vehicles. They’re considered dangerous goods and require specialized packaging, labeling, and storage.
Battery power provides the electricity for our electronics, cars, and life-saving appliances. Because they are such a vital energy source, there is a greater emphasis on safety when packaging and transporting them. This is why lithium battery shipping regulations are so stringent.
Whether shipped by air, rail or sea, all companies who handle lithium batteries must follow strict shipping requirements to ensure that the product will arrive safely at its destination. This includes first- and last-mile truckers, warehouse storage companies, container freight stations and air and ocean carriers. These organizations must have the proper documentation and training to handle these dangerous goods.
These safety requirements are set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations and IMO’s Technical Instructions for Safe Transport of Lithium Batteries by Air. They include tests such as height simulation test, thermal runaway test, impact test, vibration test, and external short circuit test.
These tests are done by the manufacturers or distributors of lithium cells and batteries to prove that they can be properly packaged, transported and used. The results of these tests must be shipping batteries internationally attached to the shipment. Non-compliance with these standards can result in penalties, discredit among peers, or lawsuits. Moreover, it can lead to disastrous incidents such as fires in cargo planes or containers that explode during transit.
Dangerous Goods Regulations
The classification of lithium batteries and battery-powered equipment as dangerous goods, which imposes certain restrictions on how they can be handled and shipped, is not to be taken lightly. Incorrectly handled lithium batteries can overheat, catch fire and explode, creating serious risks for cargo and personal safety.
Shipping batteries internationally requires compliance with the specific dangerous goods regulations that apply to them. These are based on their respective UN numbers and the regulations set by relevant authorities, including the International Civil Aviation Organization, the European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR) and the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG).
There are two main categories of lithium batteries: Lithium metal batteries and lithium-ion batteries. Lithium metal batteries are non-rechargeable and are commonly used in watches and calculators, while lithium ion batteries are rechargeable and are found in electronics such as laptops and smartphones. Each of these battery types has a different UN number and its own corresponding packing instructions.
While you can still compliantly ship lithium batteries by air, ocean freight is the preferred mode of transport for larger quantities of these hazardous materials. Shipping them by sea is governed by the IMDG code, which covers all modes of ocean transportation and provides clear guidelines for shipping batteries internationally. This makes it much easier for you to comply with the governing regulations for the transport of these batteries and battery-powered equipment.
The world’s mobile devices rely on lithium batteries. From laptops to hand-held games, these power sources have a high charge density and deliver convenience in a package that customers love. However, they’re considered dangerous goods from a China agent shipping shipping perspective and require specialized packaging, labeling and adherence to strict carrier and government regulations when shipped internationally.
The first step is to ensure your courier service has policies in place for shipping these types of products. A reliable courier service that specialises in shipping hazardous goods will be able to guide you through the process and mitigate any risks of your shipment being delayed or lost in transit.
Once you’ve chosen your courier, the next step is to prepare the shipment for transport. Lithium batteries must be properly packed to minimize any potential for rupture or short-circuiting during transit, so they need to be surrounded with plenty of filler packaging and be encased in an outer box or container. The outer box/container must meet the Dangerous Goods Regulations 4.2 applicable packing instructions and the appropriate UN numbers and shipping name must be clearly displayed on it.
In addition to the box, it’s important to add a padded layer to the inner container. This can be in the form of bubble wrap, shredded paper or foam packing and is designed to reduce movement of the batteries during transit. This reduces the risk of internal damage that could cause them to explode or rupture, which could result in significant delays and a hefty liability.
Often, shipping batteries or other power banks internationally requires the use of freight forwarders as not all couriers are willing to ship this type of dangerous good. Freight forwarders have extensive experience in the shipping industry and understand the intricate rules for dispatching these batteries. They also have strong relationships with carriers and a thorough understanding of their operating guidelines.
Due to their flammable and corrosive properties, batteries have unique safety requirements that must be met when shipping them internationally. There are a number of different modes of transport that have their own specific regulations, ranging from air freight to ocean containers. Each mode has a list of responsibilities that must be adhered to, including providing DG labels, packing batteries correctly, and keeping them away from any metal objects or tools.
To ship lithium batteries internationally, you must choose suitable packaging. This must be UN specification packagingopens in new tab, which means it must have passed drop tests to demonstrate its ability to withstand impact and pressure changes during transit. In addition, it must have a leak proof liner to prevent leakage of acid or alkali during transit.
As class 9 dangerous goods, batteries have a much higher risk of in-transit accidents than other cargo and can cause serious damage if not properly packaged and shipped. Taking the time to research and select the right packaging, and working with a freight forwarder that has knowledge of the shipping guidelines for these products, can reduce the risk of in-transit accidents and ensure your shipment meets all the necessary requirements to be accepted by airlines, sea and land freight operators and customs authorities.