IATA regulations for the shipping of lithium batteries introduced

Posted By : Lanna Cooper

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has changed its IATA DGR (Dangerous Goods Regulations) concerning the shipping of lithium batteries. Since January 1st 2017, lithium batteries that were previously not covered by labelling requirements have become partially subject to them.

Hereafter the FBDi summarises the most important changes:

  • Labelling requirement: The number of shipment items not subject to labelling requirements according to Pi 967 and PI 970 (maximum two batteries / four cells) is limited to two per shipment. This affects lithium-ion and lithium-metal batteries integrated into a device. They require a label even where not more than two batteries or four cells per shipment are contained per shipment item (not subject to labelling), but more than two shipment items per shipment are shipped.

In principle, every packaging item containing lithium batteries (UN 3090, UN 3480) must bear a ‘Cargo Aircraft Only’ label, in addition to all other required marks and/or labels.

  • Instructions for shipment of Section II lithium batteries: Since 1st January 2017, the Dangerous Goods Regulations (Section 1.6.2) contains an exact definition of ‘sufficient instructions’ as required in the packaging requirements for persons who prepare or provide lithium batteries for shipment.
  • Changes in labelling and documentation: Since 1st January 2017, the previous Class 9 lithium battery label and lithium battery handling label (Section II) have been replaced by new Class 9 labels. There is a transitional period until 31st December 2018. Simultaneously, since the beginning of the year transport documentation for lithium batteries is no longer required.

Hazard label for lithium batteries
The 9A hazard label now expressly refers to the package contents with lithium batteries (instead of ‘miscellaneous substances and articles’ as previously with the Class 9 label). However, this is only valid for packaging lithium batteries, and its use is mandatory from 1st January 2019. For labelling the outer envelopes (e.g. containers), the requirement only to use the Class 9 label for lithium batteries remains applicable. It is important to ensure that the label contains all UN numbers relevant to the contents. This also applies to the telephone number of the sender if it does not appear elsewhere. This is required so that information may be obtained from the sender if necessary.

"In this connection, we would like to draw attention to two more aspects", said Wolfram Ziehfuss, Managing Director of FBDi association. "An ancillary agreement must be concluded for the shipment of lithium-ion batteries subject to labelling requirements. Batteries integrated into boards (‘CoinCells’) are not subject to labelling requirements."

A set of guidelines is available here.


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