How to ship lithium batteries in equipment

These type of batteries are built into equipment like laptops, smartphones and portable medical devices. They’re classified as dangerous because lithium can catch fire if overheated or damaged. That’s why there are regulations in place to ensure they’re packed correctly. Learn how to pack them securely and see what kind of information you need to provide.

What’s the difference between a cell and a battery?

A lithium cell is a single unit and a battery or battery pack is a collection of cells. We’ll be covering cells with a maximum rating of 20 Wh and batteries with a maximum rating of 100 Wh.

Do I need to be trained to ship lithium batteries?

Yes. You need to be trained and understand the necessary regulations. Another option is to hire a person or company to do it for you.

Bear in mind the regulations regarding the power and quantity of cells and batteries you can ship change regularly. So it’s a good idea to contact your chosen shipping carrier to get the specific information you need.

What do I need to do before packing the lithium cells or batteries?

First, if the equipment is faulty, make sure the damage hasn’t affected the lithium batteries contained inside.

Also make sure the batteries haven’t been identified by the manufacturer as defective or are bulging out of the device. Defective batteries have the potential of setting on fire and are not allowed to be transported.

How do I pack the equipment?

  1. Adhere to the dangerous goods regulations. This means using strong, good-quality outer packaging and cushioning material inside the package.
  2. Securely pack the equipment to prevent movement and accidental operation during transportation.
  3. Place a lithium battery handling label on the package without folding it and add an emergency contact number (the handling label is only necessary for packages containing three or more electronic devices).

What extra precautions do I need to take?

Prevent cells or batteries being in contact with conductive materials like metal because if this happens, they may short circuit.

The equipment should also be protected against accidental activation. You simply place a cap over the device’s on and off switch or cut a small cavity out of the inner packaging to prevent it from touching the switch.

Devices with a low chance of overheating, such as watches or temperature loggers, can be active during transportation. But make sure you contact your shipping carrier to find out exactly what can and can’t be active while being shipped.

How do I fill in the air waybill?

If your package contains three or more electronic devices, you need to fill in the section of the air waybill titled 'Nature and Quantity of Goods'.

If you’re shipping by air, write 'lithium ion batteries in compliance with Section two of PI 967' in English.

If you’re unsure about this section of the air waybill, check with your preferred carrier.

Final steps?

Finally, ensure the shipment is properly packed, marked and labelled. And include any necessary dangerous goods documentation.

Shipping requirements and documentation may vary between carriers. This website is designed to provide general information related to shipping. If you’re unsure of the shipping requirements that apply to you, check with your carrier. Make sure to check the rules and regulations of the country you’re shipping from and to prior to shipping. You can find this information on government websites.

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