Airplane Icon
2020 Vision or Still Blurry for Lithium Battery Shippers?

The title says it all, can you see clearly when you ship lithium batteries, or are the waters still a little murky? If it is the former rather than the latter for you, that may change as Amazon has announced new global FBA requirements for all lithium batteries and products which contain lithium batteries. A Lithium Battery Test Summary will now need to be uploaded to Amazon, starting this past 1st of January 2020. This new rule will affect those who sell a variety of products, from watches to smartphones to toys. This type of change is not only exclusive to Amazon, as IATA and IMDG Code will now also be enforcing a new regulation that requires the test summary for the lithium battery/cells to be made available throughout the entire distribution network. 

What is the Test?

Lithium cells and batteries that are manufactured after June 30, 2003, and equipment powered by those cells and batteries have to be tested in accordance with the UN Manual of Test and Criteria Part III, Section 38.3. If the testing passes, the test facility provides a summary certificate to the manufacturer that confirms that the cells or batteries meet an international standard and can be shipped around the world in accordance with the appropriate regulations. The test standard includes eight tests total: Altitude Simulation; Thermal Test; Vibration; Shock; External Short Circuit; Continue Reading…

Complacency of Own Safety During Air Travel

As a former member of the Canadian Armed forces, I have always tried my best to keep keenly aware of any possible hazards/dangers that could affect me, my family, or others. I have never been one to stand by idly and say nothing or do nothing. I have noticed a trend developing lately in air travelers where it seems the majority are seemly unaware or oblivious of safety regulations and the reasons why some rules even exist.

I remember as a teenager embarking on my first flight in the mid-1980s being very attentive to all demonstrations; looking at every exit; observing every rule. It was easily noted that every traveler was watching the hand gestures of the flight attendant, knowing where our life jackets were, and again knowing the location of the nearest exit. But, as air travel safety has improved it seems complacency has increased. I have noticed hardly anyone listens to the flight safety briefing anymore as they are more preoccupied with taking their shoes off and looking at their phones.

Here are a couple of rules that exist and why:

NO lithium batteries in checked baggage
It is imperative to not check any lithium batteries in your luggage. If a lithium battery in your electronic device fails, thermal runaway occurs. The heat at which it will burn will melt aluminum which is what aircrafts are made of. Continue Reading…

Air Canada Cargo – Section II Lithium Batteries Transport Document

It’s really no surprise that something new has come up with shipping lithium batteries again. Frankly speaking, these days it’s easier to ship a radioactive shipment on a passenger aircraft then a cell phone. Of course, I am referring to the process of shipping when I make this statement. Crazy isn’t it?

Effective Jan 2, 2020, anyone shipping any of the following:

  • Lithium-Ion batteries packed with equipment – UN3481 Section II PI966
  • Lithium-ion batteries contained in equipment – UN3481 Section II PI 967
  • Lithium metal batteries packed with equipment – UN3091 Section II PI 969
  • Lithium metal batteries contained in equipment – UN3091 Section II PI 970

With Air Canada cargo must complete and sign Lithium Batteries – Section II – Shipper’s Transport Document. The contents of the document include:

  • certifying shipment doesn’t include forbidden lithium battery shipments such as defective/damage batteries;
  • verifying the watt-hour for lithium-ion batteries meet Section II requirements;
  • verifying lithium metal content for lithium metal batteries meet Section II requirements;
  • airway bill includes the statement, if applicable;
  • lithium battery mark is on the package(s), if applicable; and 
  • shipper’s declaration statement. 

This document reinforces the fact that any person preparing or offering Section II lithium batteries must receive adequate instruction (IATA section 1.6). Basically, have some sort of dangerous goods training before you can ship lithium batteries. 

Up here in Canada we are limited to dangerous goods Continue Reading…

Recalled Macbook Pro Laptops – Prohibited on US Flights

If you were planning on watching your favorite movie or a TV show on your Macbook Pro on your next flight well instead you may need to take a book.

Following Apple’s recall in June 2019 for certain 15-inch Macbook Pro laptops sold between September 2015 to February 2017, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has announced that effectively immediately these laptops are prohibited on all US commercial fights.  This isn’t a new regulation but rather a reminder of already existing regulations which bans recalled lithium batteries and lithium battery powered devices for air carriers.  These Macbook pros contain lithium batteries which may overheat and pose a fire safety risk. This restriction applies to both carry-on and checked in luggage.

Ensure you check your Macbook Pro model to confirm you are not in the recall group.

For more information, visit ICC Compliance Center’s website or call one of our Regulatory Specialists today! USA: 888-442-9628 | Canada: 888-977-4834

Eureka Moment with Batteries

Every year when teaching the concept of density to high schoolers, I would use the story of Archimedes and the king’s crown. They really enjoyed the part of him running naked through the streets shouting, “Eureka, I have found it.” Since that time, the concept of “eureka moments” has become a thing. The moment you finally realize, understand, or discover something is a “eureka moment”.

My most recent one occurred while updating ICC’s lithium battery courses. You see, I’ve always struggled with a few paragraphs in 49CFR 173.185. The paragraphs in question are (c)(1)(iii) and (c)(1)(iv) for those smaller or “excepted” cells and batteries. My brain just couldn’t comprehend or truly understand what they were telling me. Add to that the changes brought in by the interim final rule HM-224I and my brain was just fried. Both paragraphs are shown below for your reference.

173.185(c)(1)(iii)
Except when lithium cells or batteries are packed with or contained in equipment in quantities not exceeding 5 kg net weight, the outer package that contains lithium cells or batteries must be appropriately marked: “PRIMARY LITHIUM BATTERIES—FORBIDDEN FOR TRANSPORT ABOARD PASSENGER AIRCRAFT”, “LITHIUM METAL BATTERIES—FORBIDDEN FOR TRANSPORT ABOARD PASSENGER AIRCRAFT”, “LITHIUM ION BATTERIES—FORBIDDEN FOR TRANSPORT ABOARD PASSENGER AIRCRAFT” or labeled with a “CARGO AIRCRAFT ONLY” label specified in §172.448 of this subchapter.

173.185(c)(1)(iv)
For transportation by highway or rail only, the lithium content of the cell Continue Reading…

Lithium ION Battery Phrase Confusion with HM-224I

Laurel and Hardy the comedy duo from the 1930’s coined the phrase, “Well, here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten me into.” Sadly, I believe this is the situation DOT created with HM-224I which is an interim final rule published in March.  When this new rule is taken into account along with the general frustration many shippers face when shipping lithium batteries, it is easy to see how the mess was made.

Basically, here’s what happened.  The 49 CFR can be used to make air shipments along with going by ground and vessel.  In the “old” version of the regulations, you were allowed to put lithium ion batteries on passenger planes as long as the net weight of the batteries was below 5 kg.  Well, DOT has finally admitted it is NOT a good idea to put lithium ion batteries on passenger aircraft.  They also wanted to be in closer alignment with the IATA which restricted ion batteries to cargo planes just a few years ago.  This is where HM-224I comes into play.

One of the biggest changes is the addition of a phrase to section 173.185 for small powered or excepted batteries.  It is paragraph (c)(1)(iii) that is causing the most trouble.  Keep in mind nothing changed with the existing phrases in this paragraph. It is simply a matter of a new one being added.  Also, this paragraph Continue Reading…

Lithium batteries by air

Shipping lithium batteries has become a confusing issue. Let’s start by asking “what is a lithium battery?”. There are two types of lithium batteries – metal and ion (polymer). The lithium metal battery is also termed “primary” which means non-rechargeable. Typically you find these batteries in watches, calculators, cameras, etc. Lithium ion (and polymer) are “secondary” or rechargeable batteries. These are found in mobile phones, laptop computers, satellite navigation units, etc.

As most shippers are aware, ICAO/IATA rewrote the packing instructions for shipping lithium batteries by air for 2009. In the 51st Edition of the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations for 2010, the packing instructions for lithium batteries have changed again.

First a quick review: the shipping name Lithium batteries is now either Lithium ion batteries or Lithium metal batteries. And for each of these shipping names are two (2) more: contained in equipment or packed with equipment. The shipping descriptions are:

  • UN3090, Lithium metal batteries
  • UN3091, Lithium metal batteries contained in equipment
  • UN3091, Lithium metal batteries packed with equipment
  • UN3480, Lithium ion batteries
  • UN3481, Lithium ion batteries contained in equipment
  • UN3481, Lithium ion batteries packed with equipment

The packing instructions in the 51st Edition of the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations now consist of 3 sections. Packing instructions 965-970 each consist of:

  • General Requirements: outlines the requirements for that battery type
  • Section I: these batteries are fully regulated as Class Continue Reading…