Lithium batteries have become the preferred energy source to power a wide variety of consumer goods ranging from mobile phones to children toys to cars and e-bikes. Though widely used, most people are not aware that lithium batteries are dangerous goods that can pose a safety risk if not prepared in accordance with the transport regulations. To help with compliance, IATA has developed guidance for shippers, freight forwarders, ground handlers, airlines and passengers.
New: Small Lithium Battery-Powered Vehicles
IATA issued a notice on the classification of small lithium battery-powered vehicles when shipped as cargo and the provisions that apply, specifically the wording of Special Provision A21. These devices, that go by names such as balance wheel, air wheel, solo wheel, mini balance board and hoverboard, are accordingly classified as UN 3171, battery-powered vehicles. See the
Small Vehicles Powered by Lithium Batteries - Cargo Provisions (pdf)
Lithium battery transport latest updates
The ICAO Council has confirmed the recommendation of the ICAO Air Navigation Commission (ANC) that prohibits, on an interim basis, lithium ion batteries (UN 3480, PI 965 only) as cargo on passenger aircraft. This prohibition is effective 1 April 2016. Download the Lithium Batteries as Cargo in 2016 Update III (pdf)
In this video, IATA's lithium battery expert explains what IATA and the air transport industry work on to ensure the safe transport of lithium ion batteries and the application of the current international regulations:
Download the updated Guidance Document (pdf) developed by IATA for complying with the 57th (2016) Edition of the IATA
Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR) including Addendum I and II on:
- Definitions, classification, exceptions, prohibitions
- Frequently asked questions and their answers
Risk mitigation guidance for operators
The Lithium Batteries Risk Mitigation Guidance for Operators (pdf) outlines strategies to reduce the risks associated with lithium batteries transportation by air. Intended for airlines, it was developed with input of leading industry groups specialized in the handling of dangerous goods and lithium batteries. The document is copyright-free, allowing download and onward distribution to interested users.
To assist shippers in understanding the complete requirements related to the transport of lithium batteries, including packing instructions, IATA has prepared the
Lithium Battery Shipping Guidelines (LBSG).
Preparation is a key component in understanding the terms of the Regulations. IATA has created a training course on
Shipping Lithium Batteries by Air that covers all aspects of the identification, packing, marking and labeling, as well as the documentation requirements on lithium batteries transportation.
IATA has developed lithium battery outreach and awareness products: