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Safely Packing Batteries Is Critical
Service Update

The U.S. and international regulations applicable to shipping lithium batteries have changed.
International Regulations
Compliance with new international regulations applicable to shipments of lithium batteries by air 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. Visit the link below to see which origins and destinations are authorized for IDG:

UPS Approved Countries

Refer to UPS guidance on International Lithium Battery Regulations for more details.

U.S. Regulations
Compliance with U.S. regulations applicable to air shipments of lithium batteries is mandatory effective February 6, 2015. Compliance with U.S. regulations applicable to ground shipments is mandatory effective August 7, 2015.

It is important to note that while the U.S. air regulations are generally harmonizing with international air requirements, ground shipments within the U.S. will now be subject to packaging, marking and other requirements similar to the air requirements. The regulations also apply to cross-border ground shipments from the U.S. to Canada and Mexico.

Refer to UPS guidance on U.S. Lithium Battery Regulations for more details.

Pre-Approval Is Required to Ship Lithium Metal Batteries Without Equipment
Effective July 1, 2015, all existing customers and new customers who wish to ship lithium metal batteries without equipment (UN3090) via UPS® Air services must obtain pre-approval from UPS Airlines.

This requirement applies to all lithium metal battery shipments, including those that are considered lightly regulated (such as small cells or batteries), as well as those that are fully regulated. Fully regulated shipments will also require dangerous goods shipping papers and a separate UPS Dangerous Goods Agreement.

Shippers may begin obtaining pre-approval immediately. Please download the PDF form below, complete it in English, and email it to dangerousgoods@ups.com. After your request is reviewed, you will receive additional instructions in an email from dangerousgoods@ups.com.

Safety Procedures
It is important to be aware of proper safety procedures when shipping batteries, as improperly packaged batteries can short-circuit, overheat, and catch fire while in transportation. 

If you ship packages containing batteries, whether by ground or air, it is your responsibility to make sure they are packaged correctly and ensure they comply with all applicable regulations.

There are many types of batteries, including lithium (e.g., computer and cell phone batteries); dry cell (e.g., AA, C, D batteries); and lead-acid (e.g., for cars or wheelchairs). Each type has varying levels of regulatory requirements and packaging needs, and several types must be documented as hazardous materials when shipped.

Please assess your current shipping operation to make sure you are following safe battery packing procedures.

To help reduce the risk of battery-related incidents, follow these guidelines for preparing a package containing batteries:

  • For batteries packed without equipment, cover the battery terminals (or leads) with an insulating cap or electrical tape, if the battery is not already contained in protective packaging.
  • Ensure there is adequate internal protection to keep batteries from contacting metal or other batteries by wrapping them individually, either with bubble sheeting or plastic bags.
  • Do not ship damaged, defective, or recalled batteries by air, as such shipments may be prohibited by regulation. Also, UPS does not accept air shipments of recycled batteries.
  • For battery-operated tools, laptops, or other appliances, provide effective protection for the switches to make sure they will not turn on accidentally during transportation.
  • Lead-acid batteries contain highly corrosive liquids, making these batteries subject to U.S. and international shipping regulations. UPS hazardous materials restrictions may also apply.
  • Package batteries securely to keep them from shifting, being crushed, or otherwise damaged while in transportation.

We appreciate your help in making sure your packages are safe for transport.

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