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1 Alert

Shipping Batteries or Devices with Batteries

New Lithium Battery Regulations
International: The international regulations applicable to air shipments of lithium metal batteries have changed. Compliance with the new regulations is mandatory effective January 1, 2015.

The regulations, published by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), prohibit transport of lithium metal batteries (shipped without equipment) on passenger aircraft. As a result, UPS will limit transport of these shipments to within its International Dangerous Goods (IDG) network. More information about origin and destination countries authorized for IDG is available in the "Shipping lithium batteries by air service" section of the documents below.

United States: The U.S. regulations applicable to air and ground shipments of lithium batteries have changed. Compliance with U.S. regulations for air shipments is mandatory effective February 6, 2015. Compliance with U.S. regulations for ground shipments is mandatory effective August 7, 2015.

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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 authorized 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 U.S. 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: Both rechargeable or non-rechargeable power sources, common in computers, cell phones, cameras, and other small electronic devices. If dropped, crushed, or short-circuited, these batteries can release dangerous amounts of heat and may ignite, and are 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. Even 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 use Air services to ship batteries recalled by the manufacturer for safety reasons, as such shipments are prohibited by regulation (see e.g., IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations, Special Provision A154). Also, batteries accumulated for recycling are not to be sent via Air services.

  • Air level services include UPS Next Day Air®, UPS 2nd Day Air®, UPS 3 Day Select®, UPS Worldwide Express®, UPS Worldwide Express Freight®, and UPS Worldwide Expedited®.
  • All UPS services between the continental U.S. and Alaska, Hawaii, or Puerto Rico travel by Aircraft.

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Electronic Items for Repair
When sending equipment for repairs, such as computers and cell phones or other battery operated devices, if there is any risk that the device could overheat, it 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 Centers, The UPS Store, authorized shipping outlets, and commercial counters.

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