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Telematics: Lithium Inside

Shipping telematics devices containing lithium batteries

Did you know that there are important packing, labelling and shipping regulations to consider when shipping a device that contains a lithium battery?

In fact, anyone packing and shipping devices containing lithium batteries should receive training and know how to identify, pack, label and ship them. This is crucial if you are intending to ship devices by air, as the rules are even more restrictive.

If you have purchased a device from us and you are unsure about what type of battery your device contains, please contact us and we will advise you.

What do I need to know before shipping?

  • Has a battery been damaged or is it faulty and could overheat? If so, it must be removed, and the device shipped without it.
  • If there is more than one device, do they each contain a single-celled battery (“cell”) or a multi-celled battery (“battery”)?
  • Is the cell/battery lithium metal (non-rechargeable) or lithium-ion (rechargeable) - or not covered by these regulations, e.g. NIMH?
  • Is the lithium content or watt-hour rating within the limits for shipping by Royal Mail or another courier?
  • How many devices will my courier accept in one package?
  • Is there a weight limit for my package?
  • Do I need to attach a Lithium Battery Handling Label?

If you don’t know how to calculate the lithium content in your lithium metal battery…

  • Multiply the ampere-hours (Ah) by 0.3 OR
  • Divide the milliampere-hours (mAh) by 1000 and then multiply by 0.3

Will I need to use a Lithium Battery Handling Label?

Generally, if there are four or less cells installed in devices OR two or less batteries installed in devices OF THE SAME LITHIUM CHEMISTRY within your package AND there are no more than two such packages on one waybill, there is no need to label the package(s) with a Lithium Battery Handling Label. The devices should be packaged as below, and you may need to inform your courier of the contents when booking out or posting. Note that some couriers may not accept packages with a Lithium Battery Handling Label from non-account customers or only accept them under certain circumstances (e.g. Royal Mail).

If you need to attach a Lithium Battery Handling Label to your package…

  • It must have your telephone number on it, so if you are reusing a labelled box, you will need to cover over any previous shipper’s contact number with your own.
  • Use the right label. It must indicate whether the batteries are lithium metal or lithium-ion. You can use the Lithium Battery Handling Label until 31st December 2018, after which time it will be replaced by the Lithium Battery Mark which has a UN code for lithium metal and a UN code for lithium ion.
  • Don’t use a black-and-white copy when shipping by air - the hatching on the Lithium Battery Handling Label MUST be red. After 2018, the Lithium Battery Mark with red hatching will be used for all modes of transport.
  • Use a box which is large enough to display the label without folding it around the sides, top or base, and NEVER stick it on the base of the box.

Is there a weight limit for my package?

  • By air, the maximum weight allowed under Section II is the total weight of the batteries themselves. So, 100 devices each containing a small cell that weighs 5 g would weigh 0.5 kg “net”, which is well under the maximum weight per package of 5kg of lithium batteries.
  • By road, there is no regulatory weight limit for batteries installed in devices, but your courier may impose their own limit, e.g. 30 kg for the “gross” package. i.e. devices, batteries, infill and box.

How should I package my devices?

Always pack devices into a strong, rigid box – do not use a padded envelope - and add enough packing beans, paper or bubble wrap to cushion the devices and stop them moving around inside the box. Close the flaps and tip it from side to side gently. If the products are moving around inside, add further infill.

Next, close your eyes and imagine what could happen to your package after it leaves you. Keep in mind that it will be handled from van to van, through depots, hubs, airports, and so on. Check again that you’ve packed it well, before sealing all edges with strong parcel tape.

And don’t forget to attach a Lithium Battery Handling Label if one is required.

Further information? See below:

Current rules for shipping lithium batteries by road within the UK and EU under Special Provision 188 can be found in Section 3.3 of the ADR 2017 (jump to pages 605 and 606 of the PDF): http://www.unece.org/trans/danger/publi/adr/adr2017/17contentse0.html
IATA’s guidance document for shipping lithium batteries by air transport may be found here: http://www.iata.org/whatwedo/cargo/dgr/Documents/lithium-battery-guidance-document-2017-en.pdf
For Royal Mail’s regulations for domestic and international post, see: https://www.royalmail.com/sites/default/files/royal-mail-prohibited-and-restricted-items-jan-30-2017.pdf https://business.help.royalmail.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/898