To offer lithium batteries with most major air carriers, shippers must comply with requirements found in the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR).
A new edition of the DGR takes effect every January 1. Below we outline important revisions for shipping lithium batteries by air found in the 2023 IATA DGR (64th Edition).
Read More: Significant Changes to the 2023 IATA DGR
Order the 2023 IATA DGR
Button Cells and Lithium Battery Test Summaries
As of January 1, the lithium battery test summary requirement that took effect in 2020 will no longer apply to button cells shipped in equipment.
The test summary requirement applies to manufacturers and distributors of lithium cells and batteries (and battery-powered equipment) manufactured after June 30, 2003. The test summary provides critical safety information about the batteries to downstream shippers and consumers.
For details about what’s required in a lithium battery test summary, and to see examples of test summary documents, check out this blog from July 2019.
Phone Number on Lithium Battery Handling Mark
Shippers will no longer be required to include a telephone number on the lithium battery mark shown in DGR 184.108.40.206. Lithium battery marks that display a phone number may still be used until December 31, 2026.
Engines, Machinery, and Vehicles with Lithium Batteries
Starting January 1, engines, machinery, and vehicles will be forbidden for transport by air if the lithium batteries inside of them are damaged or defective. IATA is also adding references for engines, machinery, and vehicles that contain prototype lithium cells or batteries or low production runs that may be shipped by cargo aircraft under an approval.
These changes impact IATA DGR Packing Instructions (PI) 220, 378, 950, 951, 952, and 972.
New Package Test Specs for Section IB Batteries and Cells
IATA is revising Packing Instructions 965 and 968 to require that packages prepared according to Section IB will pass a 3-meter stack test. This requirement already applies to limited quantity packages.
A stack test, sometimes called a compression test, ensures that a package will withstand weight being stacked on top of it during storage or transportation. The test is performed by simulating three meters worth of stack pressure on a package for 24 hours. To pass, the package must not leak or show defects that could affect transportation safety.
Lithium Batteries in Overpacks
To align the lithium battery regulations with general requirements for overpacks, IATA will specify that all packages prepared under Section II of a lithium battery packing instruction and placed in overpacks are “secured in the overpack” and that “the intended function of each package must not be impaired by the overpack.”
This clarification will be added to PI 966, 967, 969, and 970.
Other Recent Updates
In recent years, revisions to the rules for lithium battery air shipments have been a mainstay on the list of significant changes to IATA’s manual.
The 2022 IATA DGR (63rd Edition) added stricter standards for shipping lithium cells and batteries separately by air. As of April 1, 2022, smaller standalone batteries and cells may no longer be prepared according to Section II of the relevant Packing Instruction (965 or 968).
Training to Ship Lithium Batteries
US and international regulations require shippers of lithium batteries to provide hazmat training for all employees who can affect transportation safety.
Lion’s four-hour Shipping Lithium Batteries Webinar covers the current US DOT (49 CFR), IATA DGR, and IMDG Code regulations for lithium batteries transported by ground, air, and vessel. The webinar provides hazmat general awareness, security awareness, and function-specific training to help satisfy mandates for hazmat employees found in 49 CFR 172.704, IATA DGR 1.5, and IMDG Code 1.3.1.
Lion will present the final session of 2022 on December 15.
Can’t join a live webinar? The self-paced, interactive Shipping Lithium Batteries Online Course allows managers and employees to complete training when and where it’s convenient.
Pre-order Your 2023 IATA DGR Now
The 2023 IATA DGR takes effect on January 1, 2023 and includes significant changes for more than just lithium batteries. Air shippers will also find revisions affecting shipments of self-reactive materials, organic peroxides, corrosives, compressed air, articles containing dangerous goods, life-saving appliances, and more.
The new manual is now available for pre-order at Lion.com. Pre-orders will ship in November 2022.