Friday, March 3, 2017

Freight Shippers Should Brush up on New Lithium Regulations

IATA Prepares Advice for Logistics Companies and Manufacturers
Shipping News Feature
WORLDWIDE – It’s no secret that lithium batteries are an absolutely critical commodity in today’s world. From laptops to phones, music players to e-cigarettes, lithium batteries power just about all of our portable electronics. But so ubiquitous has this sort of technology become that most don’t realise just what in the freight industry uses these power sources. And this is an issue as lithium cells have been known to, on occasion, catch fire and explode.

As small battery powered devices are now used as standard to monitor temperature or to act as anti-theft devices in the air transportation of food, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, vaccines, and industrial chemicals, there are now many more situations were lithium cells and batteries are in use that are not really considered. But as these are classified as dangerous goods their use must comply with Dangerous Goods Regulations when used in air shipments.

Whether the lithium cells or batteries are shipped as cargo in their own right or whether they are installed in a small device such as a data logger, all lithium cell and battery types must have passed the applicable tests set out in Subsection 38.3 of the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria. As the regulations for lithium batteries have changed this year IATA has developed a guidance document that addresses the use and carriage of lithium battery-powered devices such as cargo tracking devices and temperature data loggers. The guidance document also provides information to manufacturers of these active devices, users of the active devices and airlines that must approve the carriage of active devices in cargo.

Photo – An e cigarette spontaneously combusting in a man’s pocket.