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Lithium Battery Regulatory Update

The ICAO Dangerous Goods Panel (DGP) held a special dedicated working group focused on lithium batteries. Specifically the papers were presented to consider how to address details of “bulk” shipments of lithium batteries prepared under Section II of Packing Instructions 965 and 968 appearing on the written information to the pilot-in-command.

In drafting the new text, the DGP has tried to balance the needs of the various stakeholders; shippers, operators, and regulators, without imposing undue requirements on any single party. The lithium battery supply chain will need to be on the same page for these changes to work effectively. That will mean a lot of outreach and oversight by the parties involved.

The ICAO Dangerous Goods Panel also identified that these changes alone will not necessarily reduce incidents involving lithium batteries. In order to significantly improve safety, IATA advocates enhanced outreach by regulatory authorities and industry to manufacturers and shippers of lithium batteries and lithium battery powered equipment. This will ensure that all parties are aware of the regulations applicable to the testing and transport of lithium batteries. Regulatory authorities should also undertake more surveillance of shippers and, where necessary, appropriate enforcement action.

A summary of some of the major changes is found below:

  • There are New Section II lithium ion (PI 965 II) and lithium metal (PI 968 II) cell and batteries quantity limits per package.
  • New Section “IB” for lithium ion (PI 965 IB) and metal (PI 968 IB) batteries that exceed the limits referred to above to be shipped as Class 9 but without the need to be packed in UN specification packagings.
  • Dangerous goods training for personnel involved in the transport of these Section IB batteries.
  • Consignment does not require a Shipper’s Declaration provided that alternative written
  • Documentation or electronic information describing the contents.
  • Package requires a Class 9 hazard label AND the lithium battery handling label to distinguish it from other lithium battery packages.
  • A dangerous goods acceptance check required
  • A summary NOTOC, similar to that permitted for Dry Ice
  • Alignment of the net quantity limits for lithium batteries packed with and contained in equipment.

The full report can be found on ICAO’s website .

These changes will be incorporated into the 54th edition of the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations effective 1 January 2013.

In the coming months IATA will update the Guidance Document on the Transport of Lithium Batteries and the Guidelines for Shipping Lithium Batteries by Air booklet.

Find out more on lithium bateries.

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