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.
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. Devices such as balance wheels, air wheels, solo wheels, mini balance boards and hoverboards, are classified as UN 3171, battery-powered vehicles. See the Cargo Provisions: Small Vehicles Powered by Lithium Batteries (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 as of 1 April 2016, lithium ion batteries (UN 3480, PI 965 only) as cargo on passenger aircraft. 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:
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).
Download the updated Guidance Document (pdf) to learn how to comply with the 59th (2018) Edition of the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR) on definitions, classification, exceptions, prohibitions. It also includes FAQs.
Following a growing number of requests regarding the changes to the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR) for lithium batteries in 2017, IATA has prepared 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 that must approve the carriage of active devices in cargo.
IATA Lithium Battery Tool Kit
Intended for airlines, the toolkit was developed in collaboration with leading industry groups, specialized in the handling of dangerous goods and lithium batteries. The toolkit comprises:
- The Lithium Batteries Risk Mitigation Guidance for Operators
- The sample Safety Risk Assessment, which provides examples of potential failure modes and possible mitigations that operators might consider in their existing SRA process
- The investigation into Three Accidents Involving Lithium Batteries, which analyzes the aircraft accidents where lithium batteries were known to have been on board as cargo
Download the IATA Lithium Battery Toolkit (zip). The toolkit is copyright-free and available for downloading and sharing.
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: