Lithium batteries have become the preferred energy source to power a wide variety of consumer goods ranging from mobile phones to children toys to e-bikes and passenger vehicles.
Though widely used, most people are not aware that lithium batteries are dangerous goods and can pose a safety risk if not prepared in accordance with the transport regulations.
To help with their compliance requirements, IATA has developed guidance information for shippers, freight forwarders, ground handlers, airlines and passengers.
New: Small Lithium Battery-Powered Vehicles
There have been questions raised regarding the classification of small lithium battery-powered vehicles when shipped as cargo. IATA issued a notice providing background on the provisions that apply, specifically the wording of Special Provision A21. This 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.
Lithium battery transport in 2016
There will be changes to the provisions applicable to the transport of lithium ion batteries as cargo to require them to be shipped at no more than 30% state of charge. Lithium ion batteries (UN 3480 PI 965, Section II) and lithium metal batteries (UN 3090 PI 968, Section II) will also be restricted to no more than one (1) package per consignment. This change is effective 1 April 2016.
Download the Guidance Document (pdf) developed by IATA for complying with the 57th (2016) Edition of the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR) 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: