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VIDEO: New FedEx and UPS Lithium Battery Air Rules

Posted on 12/11/2016 by Roger Marks

The rules for shipping lithium batteries continue to change. Now air carriers are getting in on the action.

In addition to major regulatory changes for lithium battery air shipments in the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR) for 2017, shippers now face new requirements from major air carriers FedEx and UPS.

The FedEx and UPS updates can be found in the Operator Variations in the 2017 IATA DGR (58th Edition) and in policies recently released by the carriers. The change from FedEx and UPS applies to Section II lithium-ion and lithium-metal batteries (UN 3090 and UN 3480) shipped stand-alone, i.e., without equipment. 


What Are Section II Lithium Batteries?

In the IATA DGR, “Section II” refers to smaller lithium batteries that are eligible for exception from some of the more burdensome dangerous goods air shipping rules.

Size limits for Section II lithium batteries in air transport:

 
Section Type Lithium Metal (UN 3090) Lithium Ion (UN 3480)
II (Small) Cell Not more than 1 g Not more than 20 Wh
  Battery Not more than 2 g Not more than 100 Wh
 

New FedEx Lithium Battery Rules

Simply put, if you ship by FedEx Express, the reliefs offered for Section II lithium-ion or lithium-metal batteries cannot be applied to your shipment.

FedEx Express will no longer accept stand-alone lithium-ion or -metal batteries shipped under Section II. These lithium battery shipments must be prepared using Section IA or IB of IATA DGR Packing Instruction 965 (lithium-ion) or 968 (lithium-metal).  See the new policy at Fedex.com here.

This means that, if you ship stand-alone lithium batteries by air via FedEx Express, the following requirements apply no matter the size or number of batteries:    
  • UN specification packaging (for Section IA shipments)
  • Strong rigid outer packaging (for Section IB shipments)
  • UN # and Proper Shipping Name marked on package
  • A new Class 9 lithium battery label (New for 2017!) 
  • Shippers’ Declaration that fully and accurately describes the shipment

In addition, all lithium metal batteries shipped without equipment require prior approval from FedEx.
 

Additional FedEx Lithium Battery Training Requirement

The IATA DGR requires “adequate instruction” for all employees involved in preparing lithium battery air shipments. 

Now, FedEx requires personnel involved in preparing lithium batteries for air transport to complete “full dangerous goods training.” Per 49 CFR 172.704, “full” training for US hazmat employees must include general awareness, security awareness, and function-specific training. In some cases, safety training and training on the site’s security plan may also be required. Learn more about DOT’s hazmat training rules in the video on this page.

To provide full dangerous goods training for lithium battery ground, air, or vessel shippers, Lion Technology offers the Shipping Lithium Battery Online Course. The course covers the latest 49 CFR, IATA DGR, and IMDG code rules that apply to lithium batteries, whether fully regulated or shipped under an exception.
 

New UPS Lithium Battery Rules

UPS too will require Section II lithium batteries to be shipped as fully regulated as of January 1, 2017. The announcement on the UPS website reads:
“The change will require that all US Air and international Air shipments of lithium ion or metal cells and batteries shipped without equipment by a UPS Air service be prepared and shipped as fully regulated dangerous goods. Beginning January 1, 2017, UPS will no longer allow air shipments under reduced regulations such as:
  • Section II of the IATA PI 965 and 968
  • 49 CFR 173.185(c)“

Refurbished lithium batteries shipped in, with, or without equipment must now be pre-approved by UPS Air Dangerous Goods department. Pre-approval from UPS is also required for lithium batteries shipped using Special Provisions A88 (pre-production prototypes), A99 (large format batteries in excess of 35 kg each), or A183 (waste batteries).
 

New for 2017! Class 9 Lithium Battery Label

Among the new major lithium battery air shipping requirements taking effect January 1 is a new Class 9 label dedicated to lithium batteries. Starting January 1, 2017, packages containing lithium batteries are to be marked with this label. A one-year transition period is in place until January 1, 2018, during which shippers may use either the old Class 9 label or the new Class 9 lithium battery label. 
 

Lithium Battery Training for Ground, Air, and Ocean Shippers

The Shipping Lithium Batteries Online Course covers hazmat general and security awareness, as well as the specific requirements for classifying, naming, packaging, marking, labeling, loading, unloading, and documenting lithium battery shipments for ground, air, or ocean transport.

Tags: DOT, IATA, lithium batteries, new rules

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