Keeping your Cargo Safe
Lithium Batteries in Cargo
While we are all aware that almost all portable consumer electronic devices use lithium batteries, as a power source, we may not be aware that lithium batteries are also in many shipments of other goods. For example, in the air transport of food, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, vaccines, and industrial chemicals where small battery-powered tracking devices or data loggers are placed inside or attached to packages of cargo to monitor temperature or to act as anti-theft devices.
Most of these devices use lithium metal or lithium ion cells or batteries as a power source. Lithium cells and batteries are classified as dangerous goods and therefore must meet all of the applicable provisions of the
Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR)
when shipped by air.
Whether the lithium cells or batteries are shipped as cargo in their own right or whether the lithium cells or batteries are installed in a small device such as a data logger to be permitted in transport all lithium cell and battery types must have passed the applicable tests set out in Subsection 38.3 of the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria.
New Regulations for Lithium Batteries in 2017
The Regulations for lithium batteries has changed in 2017. The new requirements are stated and available in the 58th (2017) Edition of the
IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR)
. However, the regulatory requirements in that respect can be seen as quite complicated for non-dangerous goods professionals.
Therefore, to help shippers who use cargo tracking or other lithium battery powered devices to prepare compliant packages IATA developed a guidance document that addresses the use and carriage of lithium battery-powered devices such as cargo tracking devices and temperature data loggers.
The guidance document also provides information to manufacturers of these active devices, users of the active devices and operators (airlines) that must approve the carriage of active devices in cargo. It includes the requirements, recommendations on shipping active devices, definitions, and Frequently Asked Questions.