Detained Battery Shipment – Fixed!

AA sized lithium battery cells

What Happens When Watt-Hour is not Marked on Each Battery?

Well a few things – beginning with the shipment being stopped until the error is corrected by trained personnel like us.

It is mandatory to have the watt-hour marked on a lithium ion battery (unless it’s manufactured before January 1, 2009), and batteries that don’t display this mark are considered non-compliant for transport. To bring it in to compliance each battery must be marked with the watt-hour.

Doesn’t seem too bad, right? Wrong.

Imagine individually marking 11,600 little batteries.

These batteries were the size of AA batteries. Each individual battery was packaged in its own little box. Like a lipstick box. Then these little boxes (20 in total) were placed in a larger box. Then the larger boxes were placed inside a bigger cardboard box. Never had I done a job this tedious. Add to this trying not to break the small flap on the little boxes when opening these boxes.

The first day was a disaster as we weren’t prepared with the right tools. Finger nails were hurting from opening the little boxes. That night ideas were rolling in everyone’s head on how to efficiently do this job as it took 7 hours, and 2 people to finish 800 batteries. At this rate it would take 2 weeks to do this job.

The next day a tool was brought to speed up the process and did it ever. Almost 1200 batteries were completed. On the last day we did 2400 batteries in a day. As always by the time the job comes to an end, you become a pro at it. Perhaps in my next life I can get a job at a battery factory!

Moral of the Story

If you are an importer of lithium batteries or any dangerous goods please ensure you verify with your shipper that all batteries meet the regulatory requirements – especially when dealing with international shipments.

Ask for pictures of the actual batteries, and then pictures of the completed shipment so that you can see the marks and labels. Verify with your trained dangerous goods personnel to ensure the shipment is compliant with national and international regulations. Detained shipment fees can or might escalate to more than the value of the commodity. Communication is the key!



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