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Shipping Batteries or Devices with Batteries

Effective January 1, 2017, UPS will require Section II batteries to be fully regulated.

Effective January 1, 2017, UPS will change its requirements for shipping lithium batteries by air. These changes support our continuing efforts to ensure the safety of our employees while at the same time meeting the needs of our customers.

The change will require that all U.S. Air and international Air shipments of lithium ion or metal cells and batteries shipped without equipment by a UPS Air service be prepared and shipped as fully regulated dangerous goods. Beginning January 1, 2017, UPS will no longer allow air shipments under reduced regulations, such as:

  • Section II of IATA Packing Instructions 965 (ion, UN3480) and 968 (metal, UN3090)
  • 49 CFR 173.185(c)

Shippers will need to enter a UPS Dangerous Goods service agreement before shipping lithium ion or lithium metal batteries without equipment by air. This requirement does not apply to UPS® Ground shipments. Additional service fees may apply to these changes.
The following list of services are applicable to these changes:

UPS Next Day Air®, UPS 2nd Day Air®, UPS 3 Day Select®, UPS Express Critical®, UPS Worldwide Express Plus®, UPS Worldwide Express®, UPS Worldwide Express Freight®, UPS Worldwide Saver®, UPS Worldwide Expedited®, UPS Express® Freight, UPS Air Freight Direct®, UPS Air Freight Consolidated®, UPS Next Day Air® Freight and UPS 2nd Day Air® Freight, as well as Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico using UPS Ground.

Questions about shipping dangerous goods with UPS may be directed to your UPS sales professional.

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Guidance on Shipping Lithium Battery Power Banks

The 2017 IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations and supplemental IATA Lithium Battery Guidance clarify that battery packs, modules or battery assemblies, often known as power banks or portable chargers, are regulated as lithium ion batteries (UN3480). Such shipments are subject to the UPS requirement that, when shipped by air, all lithium ion and metal batteries must be shipped as fully regulated dangerous goods.

Classification questions related to a specific product should be directed to the appropriate national authority in the country from or within which a shipper wishes to send lithium batteries.

UPS Section II Battery Requirements Changing

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New International Lithium Battery Regulations

2016: The international regulations applicable to air shipments of lithium batteries have changed. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Council has approved amendments to the lithium battery provisions in the ICAO Technical Instructions. Compliance with the new regulations is mandatory effective April 1, 2016. These amendments include:

  • Passenger Aircraft Ban for Lithium Ion Batteries: All shipments of lithium batteries without equipment are prohibited as cargo on passenger aircraft. As a result, all lithium ion battery shipments must display the Cargo Aircraft Only label. Due to UPS's reliance on passenger aircraft to transport packages in some parts of its network, this change will restrict the origins and destinations available for lithium ion batteries. This limitation does not affect lithium ion batteries packed with or contained in equipment.
  • 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:

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

International Lithium Battery RegulationsOpen the link in a new window

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Lithium Metal Battery Shipper Pre-Approval

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 After your request is reviewed, you will receive additional instructions in an email from

Download the Pre-Approval Form (English only)Open the link in a new window

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Lithium Ion Battery Service Limitations

Several passenger and cargo airlines that UPS uses to serve some markets around the world now prohibit shipments of lithium ion batteries packaged without equipment (UN3480, shipped in accordance with Section II of IATA Packing Instruction 965) on their aircraft.

As a result, some countries are no longer available as origins or destinations for these shipments.

Below are the locations where service is unavailable by air for these types of battery shipments. This list is subject to change, and we will provide updated information as it becomes available.

Download Lithium Ion Battery Service LimitationsOpen the link in a new window

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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 battery: There are two types of lithium batteries: lithium ion and lithium metal. If dropped, crushed, or short circuited, they could catch fire. These batteries are subject to special regulations. Lithium ion batteries are found in cell phones and laptops. Lithium metal batteries are found in flashlights, watches, and calculators. 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.

Lithium Ion and Lithium Metal BatteriesLithium ion batteries (left) and lithium metal batteries (right).

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.

UPS Section II Battery Requirements Changing

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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 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

When sending equipment for repairs, such as computers and mobile 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:

Lithium Battery Safety DocumentOpen the link in a new window

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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