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Shipping Batteries or Devices with Batteries

New International Lithium Battery Regulations
The regulations applicable to international air shipments of lithium batteries have changed. Compliance with the new regulations became mandatory January 1, 2013.

Refer to the International Lithium Battery Regulations for more details.

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Types of Batteries
There are many kinds of batteries available today and several are regulated as dangerous goods in transportation that may only be shipped by contract shippers within the UPS authorised dangerous goods service area.

Lead-acid batteries: Common in cars, electric wheelchairs, some continuous computer power sources, and other applications. These batteries contain highly corrosive acid and can cause fires from short circuits.

  • Tested, proven non-spillable batteries are allowed under international rules to be shipped as non-hazardous if they will not leak from a cracked case at a high temperature. Batteries and packagings may also be marked "NONSPILLABLE" or "NONSPILLABLE BATTERY".

Lithium metal and lithium ion batteries: These batteries can be rechargeable or non-rechargeable power sources and are common in computers, cell phones, cameras, and other small electronic devices. If dropped, crushed, or short-circuited, lithium batteries can release dangerous amounts of heat and may ignite, making them dangerous in fires. Special regulations apply to shipping these batteries. Shipments requiring dangerous goods shipping documents are accepted only from contract shippers for transport within the UPS dangerous goods service area. Certain lithium batteries may not qualify for UPS dangerous goods service.

Other Batteries: Although common dry cell (e.g., AA, C, D batteries) may not be regulated as hazardous materials, all batteries can cause fires from short circuits if batteries and terminals are not protected.

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Protect Batteries and Terminals
When shipping batteries, you must protect all terminals against short circuits by completely covering the terminals with an insulating material (e.g., by using electrical tape or enclosing each battery separately in a plastic bag).

  • Short circuits can cause fires.
  • Package the batteries to keep them from being crushed or damaged, and to keep them from shifting during handling.
  • Always keep metal objects or other materials that can short circuit battery terminals securely away from the batteries - e.g., by using separate inner box for the batteries.

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Prevent Fires
Any device with installed batteries must not turn on while in transport.  Protect switches that can be accidentally activated, or remove the batteries and protect the terminals.

  • Even very simple devices like flashlights or rechargeable drills can generate a dangerous quantity of heat if accidentally activated.

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Recalled or Recycled Batteries
Never ship recalled or recycled batteries by air.

  • International air level services include UPS Express, UPS Worldwide Express Freight, and UPS Expedited.
  • Other air services are identified as UPS Next Day Air®, UPS 2nd Day Air®, and 3 Day SelectSM.

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Electronic Items for Repair
Repair items, such as computers and cell phones, should be sent without batteries.

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Lithium Battery Documents for Retail
Get step-by-step instructions on how to safely package and label your battery shipments:

Note: These documents are for use when tendering items containing lithium batteries or lithium batteries by themselves over a retail counter. Valid retail channels include: UPS Customer Centre's, The UPS Store, authorised shipping outlets, and commercial counters.

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View Examples

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