On August 15, 2016, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced it had issued a letter to trade, industry, and transportation authorities around the world to call for stricter enforcement of lithium battery shipping regulations.
Issued in cooperation with manufacturing and trade organizations like the US Rechargeable Battery Association (PRBA), RECHARGE, the Global Shippers Forum (GSF), and others, the letter warns about lithium battery shippers who currently flout international requirements for properly testing, classifying, packaging, marking, and labeling lithium batteries for air transport.
By offering undeclared or inadequately tested lithium batteries for air transport, these “problem shippers” have driven airlines and regulators to take a hard line on accepting lithium batteries for air transport, even from reputable shippers who do
follow the complex and sometimes burdensome rules in place.
New Lithium Battery Rules (2014–Present)
Since 2014, US and international regulators have taken action to address the hazards posed by lithium batteries in transportation, including:
- In a rare off-scheduled rulemaking in 2016, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) took the monumental step of prohibiting all lithium-ion batteries shipped alone (UN 3480) from transport on passenger aircraft.
- In August 2015, new US DOT 49 CFR lithium battery rules took effect, which added lithium battery communication and marking rules, reduce the number of special provisions for ”small” lithium batteries, and more.
- The United States Postal Service (USPS) updated its lithium battery rules last year.
- New! The 58th edition IATA DGR, mandatory for hazmat air shippers on January 1, 2017, will include new marks and labels to be used for air shipments of lithium batteries, including a new Class 9 label specifically for shipments containing lithium batteries. In addition, the ICAO changes effective since April 1, 2016 will now be incorporated into the text of the 58th edition DGR. Save $10 and get free shipping anywhere in the US when you pre-order your copy of the 58th edition IATA DGR here.
- New! US DOT Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) sent a new 49 CFR lithium battery rulemaking for approval of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). OMB received the rulemaking for review on August 17, 2016.
What Is IATA?
An industry organization representing 265 of the world’s airlines (about 83% of all air traffic), IATA publishes its Dangerous Goods Regulations
(DGR) each year. This DGR manual is the primary rulebook used by hazardous materials/dangerous goods air shippers to ensure safe, compliant air transport.
From IATA’s August 15 announcement:
See the full IATA lithium battery announcement here.
“Airlines, shippers, and manufacturers have worked hard to establish rules that ensure lithium batteries can be carried safely. But these rules are only effective if they are enforced and backed-up by significant penalties. Government authorities must step up and take responsibility for regulating rogue producers and exporters. And flagrant abuses of dangerous goods shipping regulations, which place aircraft and passenger safety at risk, must be criminalized.” –Tony Tyler, Director General and CEO, IATA
Have questions about what’s required to ship lithium batteries or other dangerous goods by air? Check out the informative video on the Lion.com Hazmat Air Shipper Training page.
Training for Lithium Battery Shippers
Get up to speed on the latest 49 CFR, IATA, and IMDG Code rules for offering lithium batteries for transport. Whether you ship your lithium batteries by themselves, in equipment, or with equipment, the Shipping Lithium Batteries online course
will help you keep shipments in compliance.
What you don’t know can
hurt you. Don’t risk rejection or fines up to $77K per day, per violation because of a rule you haven’t heard about. Find out what it takes to keep you lithium batteries shipments safe and in compliance, in 2017 and beyond. This Lion.com online course is updated continuously
to cover the latest rules for classifying, packaging, marking, labeling, loading, unloading, and filling out shipping papers for lithium battery shipments.