New Rules for Lithium Ion Battery Shipments

New rules take effect April 1, which dramatically changes how products that include lithium ion batteries will be handled for air transport. Since many of our members routinely handle equipment with batteries, this new ruling has the potential to be disruptive and costly. 

All members are encouraged to read the summary posted by member organization ASCDI below, or review the IATA document at this link.  


Regulations for Air Shipments of Lithium Batteries
Here is a brief synopsis of the changes:
1.    Lithium ion cells and batteries must be offered for transport at a state of charge (SOC) not exceeding 30% of their rated design capacity.  Cells and/or batteries at a SOC of greater than 30% may only be shipped with the approval of the State of Origin and the State of the Operator under the written conditions established by those authorities.
NOTE:  Units that are commonly referred to as "battery packs", "modules" or "battery assemblies" having the primary function of providing a source of power to another piece of equipment are for the purposes of these Regulations and the provisions of Subsection 38.3 of the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria treated as batteries.  We interpret this to mean that Cache Batteries and other batteries installed on cards are treated as loose batteries for the purposes of the regulations.

2.    No more than one Section II package may be placed in an overpack (1 package containing 2 batteries).
       a.    Additional labeling required (Cargo Aircraft label)
3.    Packages and overpacks of Section II lithium batteries must be offered to the carrier separately from other cargo.
4.    A shipper is not permitted to offer for transport more than one (1) package prepared according to Section II in any single consignment.
5.    Shipments of more than 2 batteries not contained in equipment would fall under Packing Instruction 965 Section IB and would be subject to the following:

a.    Dangerous goods surcharge (subject to change by the carriers):

$42.50 for domestic air (FedEx / UPS)
$66.25 for international air (FedEx / UPS)
$42.00 for domestic freight (FedEx)
$66.25 for international express freight (FedEx / UPS)
$37.00 for Standard to/from Canada (UPS)
$90.50 for international air (DHL)

b.    Additional labeling required (Class 9 label and Cargo Aircraft label now required in addition to the Lithium Battery Label)

c.    Additional information required on Shipper's Declaration

d.    Carriers require the Shipper to have a Dangerous Goods contract

e.    Dangerous Goods training required.  (The federal government requires every dangerous goods shipper to have job-specific dangerous goods training before tendering a dangerous goods shipment to FedEx or another air carrier.)
6.    Beginning January 1, 2017 consignments of Packing Instruction 967 Section II of more than two packages (packages with not more than 2 batteries contained in equipment) will require the Lithium Battery Handling Label be applied to each package.   Example: 3 boxes in one consignment with each box containing 1 server with 1 lithium ion battery installed would require the Lithium Battery Handling Label on each box.
The regulations for U.S. ground shipments have not changed.  If you are not familiar with the requirements, they can be found in the Code of Federal Regulations: