If it feels like “new year another new lithium battery rule”- that’s because it is. As lithium battery technology changes and more is learned from battery incidents, the regulations are bound to change to keep battery shipments safe during transport. There are many important things to consider before shipping lithium batteries by air
This year’s big change is in the International Air Transport Association Dangerous Goods Regulations (IATA DGR) as it relates to shipping “small”, standalone lithium batteries by air. The big change? Section II was removed from packing instructions 965 and 968 for standalone lithium batteries.
What is a “Small” Lithium Battery?
Standalone lithium batteries are packaged batteries that are shipped without equipment. “Small” lithium batteries are defined below:
- <= 20 Wh lithium-ion cells
- <=100 Wh lithium-ion batteries
- < =1g lithium metal content lithium metal cells
- < =2 g lithium metal content lithium metal batteries
The requirements for shipping lithium batteries by air are mostly found in the corresponding packing instructions in the IATA DGR. The packing instructions for standalone batteries were previously broken into 3 sections; Section IA, Section IB, and Section II.
Section IA applies to batteries with a watt-hour (Wh) rating greater than those listed above. This section contains the requirements for fully regulated batteries including UN specification packaging, marking, labeling, and documentation requirements.
Previously, Section IB applied to shipments of “small” batteries that were shipped in a quantity greater than what was allowed in Section II. Batteries shipped under Section IB are not required to be packed in UN specification packaging, but are required to show the Class 9 lithium battery label, lithium battery marking, UN number and proper shipping name marking, the Cargo Aircraft Only label and require a Shipper’s Declaration of Dangerous Goods be prepared for the shipment.
Section II applied to batteries that met the definition of “small” batteries above and were shipped in packages under the quantity limitations outlined in the packing instruction. Batteries shipped under Section II do not require UN specification packaging.
What does Removing Section II from PI 965 and 968 Mean?
In the 63rd Edition (2022) of the IATA DGR, Section II was removed from packing instructions 965 and 968 for standalone batteries. The result is that all shipments of “small”, standalone lithium batteries by air will require the Class 9 lithium battery label, Cargo Aircraft Only label, lithium battery marking, UN number, and Proper Shipping Name marking and the preparation of a Shipper’s Declaration for Dangerous Goods.
IATA has developed flow charts for shipping lithium batteries. Below are the flowcharts for lithium-ion and lithium metal batteries from the 2021 and 2022 editions of the IATA regulations to compare the changes made.
IATA provided a transition until March 31, 2022, for compliance with the new packing instructions.
Everything You Need to Know About Shipping Lithium Batteries by Air with Hazmat University
The most important thing to understand about safely shipping lithium batteries by air is that compliance is king. Whether you’re working directly in the DG world or not, it’s critical to stay up to date with the ever-changing regulations that surround lithium batteries. With Hazmat University, you can access a diverse range of easy-to-understand online hazmat courses that empower you to be competent, be confident, and be compliant. Contact us today to get started!