The start of Peak season is fast approaching and we want to prepare our agent family with instructions and guidance on how to properly package, label, and mark lithium batteries on both domestic and international personal property shipments. Please refer to the USTC PP Advisory 23-0044 if you need a refresher on the new regulations effective 15 May 2023. A quick reference chart for cell and battery size definitions can be found HERE.
IAW the watt-hour/gram limitations, there are 3 ways that lithium batteries can be packed and should be noted as such on the inventory:
Lithium Batteries Alone – Batteries packaged by themselves without the equipment that would house those batteries.
Lithium Batteries Packed with Equipment – Equipment and battery in same package; battery not installed in equipment.
Lithium Batteries Contained in Equipment – Battery installed in equipment.
It is in the agent's best interest to leave the battery installed in the equipment it is deigned to power. *No special labeling/marking is required when the batteries are contained in the equipment*
Restrictions to quantity per carton/weight are as follows:
For small lithium-ion batteries contained in equipment, no more than 4 cells or 2 batteries per carton, and battery weight cannot exceed 11 lbs. per carton.
For small lithium metal button cells contained in equipment, there is no limit to the number of cells installed however battery weight cannot exceed 11 lbs. per carton.
Shipments in which the batteries are alone (no equipment) require a UN3480 label, and the carton must be marked "Lithium-Ion Batteries - forbidden for transport abroad passenger aircraft".
For small lithium-ion batteries alone, no more than 4 cells or 2 batteries per carton, and gross weight per carton cannot exceed 66 lbs.
Small lithium metal batteries (1 gram or less) that are alone require a UN3090 label, and the carton must be marked "Primary Lithium Batteries - forbidden for transport abroad passenger aircraft".
- Gross weight of batteries cannot exceed 66 lbs. per carton.
Shipments in which the batteries are packed with equipment (meaning equipment and battery are in the same carton but battery is not installed) require a UN3481 label, and the carton must be marked "Lithium-Ion Batteries - forbidden for transport abroad passenger aircraft".
For small lithium-ion batteries packed with equipment, battery weight cannot exceed 11 lbs. per carton.
When having to pack lithium-ion or lithium metal batteries that are alone, they must be separated to prevent short circuits and damage to the battery terminal. Bubble wrap/blister pack is recommended, with a carboard divider between additional batteries and/or items in the carton.
Lastly, all cartons regardless of the manner of packing must be of strong outer construct and capable of withstanding a 1.2 meter drop test.
A PDF version of this memo which can be easily printed and distributed to your crews can be found HERE. This is a topic that is complex and we encourage our network to take an online class developed by the International Association of Movers in collaboration with the Transportation Safety Institute (TSI) titled Lithium Batteries Transportation Course. Upon successful completion of the course the learner will receive a Certificate of Course Completion.