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1 Alert

Shipping Batteries or Devices with Batteries

Important: New Lithium Battery Regulations for 2016
International Regulations for 2016: The international regulations applicable to air shipments of lithium batteries have changed. Compliance with the new regulations is mandatory effective April 1, 2016.

The international regulations applicable to air shipments of lithium batteries have changed. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Council has approved amendments in relation to the lithium battery provisions in the ICAO Technical Instructions. These amendments include:

  • Passenger Aircraft Ban for Lithium Ion Batteries: All shipments of lithium batteries without equipment are prohibited as cargo on passenger aircraft.
    • This does not apply to lithium ion batteries packed with or contained in equipment.
    • All lithium ion battery shipments must display the Cargo Aircraft Only label.
    • In some parts of the UPS network, we must rely on passenger aircraft to transport packages. Therefore, this change will restrict the origins and destinations available for lithium ion batteries.
  • State of Charge Limits: A 30 percent state of charge (SOC) limit on lithium-ion cells and batteries, including Section II cells and batteries. This does not apply to batteries packed with or contained in equipment.
  • Restrictions on Package Quantity: A shipper is not allowed to offer more than one Section II package (batteries only) per consignment.
  • Restrictions on Overpacks: Overpacks may contain no more than one Section II package - 8 cells or 2 batteries - (batteries only).
  • Battery Package Separation: A shipper must offer lithium battery shipments (batteries only) separately from other cargo.

These amendments are detailed in a lithium battery update document found on the International Air Transport Association (IATA) web site: http://www.iata.org/whatwedo/cargo/dgr/Documents/lithium-battery-update.pdf.

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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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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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