The demand for lithium remains high. This poses new challenges for the transport industry, in particular air cargo carriers, to which the ICAO has now responded:
Lithium, the white gold of the Andes, has an unprecedented energy density compared to all metals previously used in batteries. Since lithium is the lightest metal on earth, (it even floats on water) extremely light cells can be built. This makes lithium batteries very attractive for many applications.
The increasing demand for lithium batteries is challenging for all transport companies. Because lithium cells can pose a fire hazard in the worst case, especially if deep discharging and overcharging occurs. For this reason, extreme care must be exercised in the handling and transport of lithium batteries throughout the entire manufacturing process.
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), has now reacted to this risk and made the existing rules for international air transport of lithium batteries even more stringent. As of April 01, 2016, manufacturers of lithium batteries or products that are powered by a lithium power source, must take the following into account:
Prohibition of Lithium Batteries on Passenger Aircrafts
Lithium batteries may no longer be transported as cargo on passenger aircrafts. This prohibition does not apply to lithium batteries which are part of equipment or packed with it. Photographers whose digital cameras are supplied with power from lithium batteries can continue to send their equipment as cargo because they are installed “in the equipment.” But shipments containing only lithium batteries, must henceforth always be labeled as “Cargo Aircraft Only.”
Since April 01, 2016, the state of charge for lithium batteries is of particular importance during transport of cells or batteries alone. For this reason, the ICAO has limited the SOC (state of charge) of lithium cells to a maximum of 30%. Only lithium batteries, which are charged to 30% or less, may be sent by airfreight. These provisions do not apply to batteries that are installed in equipment or packed with it. The state of charge is not defined for this scenario.
Restricting the Amount
When shipping batteries only, the maximum limit of eight cells or two batteries per package (for each air waybill) applies according to IATA Packing Instruction 965 II.
Previously, these small packages could be combined into one overall package in accordance with PI965 II. This is no longer possible.
Separate Delivery of Batteries
Companies wishing to ship packages with pure lithium batteries must ship these separately from any other shipping goods.
There are now over 100 variations of the laws and regulations that must be followed.
Jauch Quartz GmbH battery experts have supported custom projects for over 30 years. This high level of expertise is reflected in the shipping of lithium batteries as well. Our technical personnel, who have been trained and certified in line with the IATA courses PK1 and PK2, provide support for manufacturers of battery-powered products through all project phases, including the transportation of battery-powered products to their destination. There are now over 240 different ways in which lithium cells and batteries can be shipped via all modes of transport.
Do you need assistance in transporting your lithium batteries or have general questions? We would be happy to help you by e-mail or over the phone 07720-945 262.