3 mistakes to avoid when shipping lithium batteries

Lithium batteries are some of the most commonly used battery types, especially in portable devices. With billions of lithium batteries – both rechargeable and non-rechargeable – in rotation and powering POS terminals and other payment solutions, you likely already use them in your devices. However, although lithium batteries are convenient most of the time, they are a Class 9 Hazard material under the UN regulations, and shipping them on a global scale can cause logistical headaches if you haven’t done your research. Read on to discover the three key mistakes to avoid when shipping lithium batteries, and make sure you’re transporting your lithium-powered POS terminals with confidence.

Mistake 1: Shipping your batteries separately

Shipping lithium batteries can be confusing enough, but it gets more complicated depending on whether the battery is in use. For example, lithium batteries that are shipped inside a device, including POS terminals or other payment devices, have different security requirements to those that are shipped alone. Because of this, it’s worth considering whether your batteries are shipped with or without the accompanying devices, and researching the security measures required in each circumstance to ensure you are fully compliant. 

Mistake 2: Not checking your carrier’s restrictions

Transporting bulk shipments of standalone lithium batteries on passenger aircraft has been prohibited since 2016, so you’ll need to find a dedicated and reputable carrier with guidelines that clearly state their competence when handling dangerous goods. Most large carriers, including FedEx, UPS or DHL, have guidelines in place for shipping lithium batteries, but other carriers are also suitable. For your own peace of mind, and to protect your supply of POS terminals, it’s prudent to check the individual guidelines for your chosen carrier before committing to using them.

Mistake 3: Mislabelling your lithium batteries

It’s your responsibility to ensure your lithium batteries are packaged and labelled correctly, and incorrect labelling can result in fines, confiscation of the batteries and shipment of POS terminals, or other penalties. Most carriers should offer a shipping guide that details their specific requirements, which are useful for ensuring the correct labelling is completed. And it’s not just the carrier’s specifications that need to be followed – the UN has classified six possible categories of lithium battery shipments that need to be adhered to on packaging labels: 

  • UN 3480 Lithium-ion batteries (rechargeable)
  • UN 3481 Lithium-ion batteries contained in equipment
  • UN 3481 Lithium-ion batteries packed with equipment
  • UN 3090 Lithium metal batteries (non rechargeable lithium batteries)
  • UN 3091 Lithium metal batteries contained in equipment
  • UN 3091 Lithium metal batteries packed with equipment

Ensuring you use the correct label and category for your package is vital for streamlining your shipping process and avoiding any delays or charges. 

Lithium batteries are shipped around the world every day, and accidents involving these shipments are very rare thanks to strict regulations. It can seem daunting to ensure your batteries are shipped entirely correctly, but it isn’t as complicated as it seems. As a general rule, make sure you research the type of batteries you are planning to ship, as well as your chosen carrier, in advance. Lithium batteries are the choice of many when it comes to powering POS terminals and other payment devices, so make sure you aren’t held up by these common mistakes and ensure a smooth journey for your lithium battery logistics.

Got more questions? Please don’t hesitate to ask. Get in touch with the Firemane team today.