Industry Leads Charge Against Rogue Lithium Battery Shippers

Posted on 12/17/2019 by Roger Marks

“The increasing use of lithium batteries coupled with the growth of e-commerce supply and demand is exposing the air cargo supply chain to greater risk of undeclared or mis-declared goods. We support regulators imposing strict adherence to established compliance standards.”

–Keshav Tanner, Chairman, Airfreight Institute (FIATA AFI)

In a December 11 press release, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) issued a stark warning to lithium battery shippers who fail to comply with international regulations. Together with the Global Shippers Forum (GSF) and other industry groups, IATA renewed its call for governments to “crack down on manufacturers of counterfeit batteries and of mis-labeled and non-compliant shipments.”

IATA is asking governments to bolster enforcement efforts to “get much tougher with fines and penalties.”

Ship lithium batteries? Get required hazmat training to keep your shipments moving safely, in compliance, and on time at

Lithium Battery Demand Rises 17% Annually

Citing rising global demand and an increase in incidents involving mis-declared or undeclared lithium batteries, IATA announced a new, three-pronged campaign to raise awareness of lithium battery shipping requirements.

The campaign will include:
  • A new incident reporting system for airlines to target mis-declared lithium battery shipments;
  • An industry awareness campaign on the dangers of mis-declared or undeclared lithium batteries in transportation; and
  • Support for adopting a cross-domain approach to include aviation security, manufacturing standards, and customs and consumer protection agencies.
As part of the campaign, industry groups offer education and awareness events in locations where lithium battery compliance has been a challenge.

What It Means for Lithium Battery Shippers

For businesses and shippers who do put forth the investment in dangerous goods training, proper packaging and labels, and dangerous goods compliance in general, rouge shippers who flout safety standards and regulations pose a serious problem. Their refusal to comply with accepted requirements undercuts the competitive advantage that companies earn by shipping lithium batteries the right way.

Undeclared and mis-declared lithium battery shipments put all air cargo at risk—when lithium batteries enter thermal runaway in transit, the damage can quickly spread to other cargo before the fire can be extinguished.  On passenger aircraft, lithium battery incidents can lead to emergency landings—or worse.

Even more scrutiny on lithium battery shipments will make compliance with 49 CFR, IATA DGR, and IMDG Code regulations more important than ever in 2020.

Lithium Batteries in E-Commerce

Individuals who ship lithium batteries through an e-commerce store—even a single cell phone at a time—must comply with specific domestic and international regulations to prevent incidents in transit, rejected shipments, and rising fines and penalties.

To learn more about the hazards posed by lithium batteries in transportation, watch our two minute video Real Dangers of Lithium Batteries on our YouTube channel (  

Training for Lithium Battery Shippers

Keep your shipments moving through the latest lithium battery enforcement push! The Shipping Lithium Batteries online course covers what shippers must know to offer lithium batteries—ion or metal, big or small, in-equipment, with-equipment, or alone—by ground, air, and vessel. The online course also includes a free Lithium Battery Safety course.

This training prepares shippers to identify the US and international regulations that impact their shipments and take the steps needed to ensure compliance.

Tags: hazardous materials, hazmat training, IATA, lithium batteries, shipping lithium batteries

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