The transport of lithium metal batteries is reserved for cargo aircraft since January 1, 2015 only. The prohibition of carriage on passenger aircraft applies only to lithium metal batteries when shipped separately, and does not apply to the batteries contained within the devices.
Sometimes called Li-ion batteries, these batteries are a type of secondary (rechargeable) battery commonly used in consumer electronics. Lithium-ion batteries are also included in the category of lithium polymer batteries (Li-Pol).
Lithium ion and lithium polymer batteries are typically found in mobile phones, laptops, e-bikes, etc.
SOME INFORMATION ON THE CLASSIFICATION
Lithium batteries are classified in class 9 – Other dangerous goods:
UN 3090, lithium metal batteries
ONU 3480, lithium-ion batteries
or, if contained in a device or packaged separately:
UN 3091, lithium metal batteries contained in equipment;
UN 3091, lithium metal batteries packaged separately;
UN 3481, Lithium-ion batteries contained in equipment;
UN 3481, lithium-ion batteries packaged separately.
United Nations (UN) numbers are four-digit numbers used in international trade and transportation to identify hazardous chemicals.
Each “Dangerous Goods” has its own UN number informing the shipping procedures to be followed such as labeling, packaging, shipping documents and restrictions.
Some exceptions in the packaging and labeling instructions may apply, depending on the amount of lithium contained in your battery and the capacity (Watt Hour rating) of your battery. For more information, do not hesitate to contact our experts:
REQUIRED DOCUMENTS AND PRODUCT TESTS
When importing goods containing lithium batteries, it is essential to check that your supplier can provide all the necessary documents before placing an order.
It is common for the customer to order goods from suppliers without even checking the transport requirements and without ensuring that the supplier provides the documents and certificates required for the export process.
Always remember that it is the responsibility of the importer to check if his supplier is able to provide all the necessary export documents before ordering.
When you plan to transport batteries by air, the first thing to check with your supplier is:
All batteries must be manufactured to the standards set by the latest IATA DGR.
Your supplier must provide you or your forwarding agent with a UN.38.3 or UN Transportation Testing (UN / DOT 38.3) for every product manufactured or sold by them. This is one of the most important document that the airline will require before booking space for your freight.
This report assesses the response of your cargo to flight conditions and includes 8 parts:
T1 – Altitude simulation (primary and secondary cells and batteries)
T2 – Thermal test (primary and secondary cells and batteries)
T3 – Vibration (primary and secondary cells and batteries)
T4 – Shock (primary and secondary cells and batteries)
T5 – External short circuit (primary and secondary cells and batteries)
T6 – Impact (primary and secondary cells)
T7 – Overload (secondary batteries)
T8 – Forced discharge (primary and secondary cells)
Some of the UN numbers that have been classified for packing instructions 966 and 969, Section II also include the requirement for a 1.2 meter drop test for the filled package containing batteries. Another very important document is the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for lithium batteries. This report contains 16 sections, such as:
Identification of chemicals, plant and supplier
Information about materials and ingredients
Identification of dangerous products
Handling and storage
Stability and responsiveness
Transport information and more …
Going more in depth about MSDS documents would be too long. Some companies will also request a shipper’s declaration for Section II lithium batteries – a statement signed by your supplier describing the contents of the shipment, the classifications, the complete contact information of the supplier, as well as the consignee’s.
Your agent / forwarder must provide the carrier, upon request, with all relevant supporting documents (ie UN38.3 test report, MSDS, etc.). Carriers will request and review any documentation supporting the shipment prior to booking space on a flight. Your supplier and forwarder must work hand in hand to ensure a smooth and fast export process. As an importer, you need to have very good communication with your freight forwarder, which will save you a lot time, money, and troubles. It’s impossible to work with a freight forwarder who does not fully understand your case and your logistics needs.
At HIF CHINA LTD Shipping, we fully understand how necessary it is to ensure a permanent contact and a careful attention to every single shipment, in order to ensure hassle-free services to our customers.
Airports in China have different requirements for the export of lithium batteries via air freight.
Thus, the requirements in terms of paperwork and certification of goods can be very different from one airport to another.
To export batteries from Beijing Airport (PEK): You will need a DGM test report from an official laboratory. The authorities will then accurately identify and describe your cargo and make sure that your Lithium batteries meet the requirements of other tests (1.2 drop test and a 38.3). These documents will be sent to the airline with pictures of the cargo and only then will you obtain approval and prices for the transportation of your cargo.
Another example, Shanghai Airport (PVG). To export lithium batteries from PVG airport, you must provide: 1. Chemical Identification published by SRICI (Shanghai Chemical Industry Research Institute) 2. Dangerous Goods Packaging Certificate.
From Guangzhou (CAN) and Shenzhen (SZX) Airports : These airports are quite strict when it comes to lithium batteries. The airlines at these airports will request:
Test report of the UN38.2 lithium battery
Drop test report of 1.2 meter
Magnetic examination report
A large number of cargoes from CAN and SZX are being transferred to Hong Kong Airport, considered as the “easiest” departure airport.