Have you seen all the headlines lately about shipping lithium batteries by air? How are you supposed to keep up with what"™s compliant, and what isn"™t?
Here"™s a guide to the lithium battery air transport regulations which will be effective on the 1st of April, along with a preview of what might be expected later in the year.
All standalone lithium batteries will be prohibited as cargo on passenger aircraft
In February, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)"”the United Nations agency that regulates the transport of dangerous goods aboard aircraft "”enacted a ban on transporting standalone lithium ion batteries (UN 3480) as cargo on passenger aircraft. The ban goes into effect April 1, 2016.
Since lithium metal batteries (UN 3090) were already prohibited, the new regulation means no standalone lithium batteries, in any quantity or packaging, may be shipped as cargo on passenger aircraft.
Can you still ship lithium batteries by air? Yes.
Batteries packed with or in equipment (UN 3091 and 3481) may still be shipped compliantly, subject to regulations. (Passengers may still transport their battery powered devices and spare batteries in their carry-on bag"”for now. See https://www.faa.gov/about/initiatives/hazmat_safety/more_info/?hazmat=7 for FAA"™s guidance)
And all lithium batteries may still be transported on cargo-only aircraft, subject to regulation"”see below. However, you need to be aware that airlines may have variations in place even though the regulations don"™t prohibit them on cargo aircraft.
How will the new ban affect supply chains? Labelmaster"™s Bob Richard predicts the impact will be severe, including severe difficulties in meeting mission critical and medical necessity applications.
New state of charge limitations, consignment and OVERPACK restrictions
ICAO has also mandated that, effective April 1, 2016, standalone lithium ion batteries (UN 3480) can only be shipped by air with a state of charge 30% or less. In addition, shippers will be not be authorized to transport more than one package of standalone lithium ion batteries prepared in accordance with packing instruction 965 or 968 Section II per consignment. "A shipper is not permitted to offer for transport more than one package prepared according to Section II in any single consignment." A consignment is defined as: " One or more packages of dangerous goods accepted by an operator from one shipper at one time and at one address, receipted for in one lot and moving to one consignee at one destination address”…