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Shipping Lithium Batteries Ups-Methods and Packing

Shipping Lithium Batteries Ups-Methods and Packing

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Lithium batteries are the most common type of batteries to be used in electronics. These are not only affordable, but last relatively long and are easy to manufacture. Unlike the batteries of the past that needed to be discharged completely after usage - or lose efficiency, lithium batteries are smart enough to be able to be charged anytime.?

Even though lithium batteries may be more advanced, they still can explode if damaged physically. If you are a shipper who needs to ship lithium batteries, here are some common asked questions that we will answer to the best of our abilities:?

Can you ship lithium batteries via USPS?

USPS, or United States Post Service is an independent shipping agency run by the deferral government itself, and provides fast, efficient and affordable shipping.?

USPS mentions that they do ship lithium batteries through their various courier methods, as long as the battery adheres to certain pre-defined set of rules. Lithium batteries are extremely fragile, and hard to handle, but USPS notes that most lithium batteries can be shipped inside the electronics themselves.

Eligible types which can be shipped

Because Lithium batteries are not exactly the most reliable package available for shipping, here are the types of batteries supported through USPS channels:?

  • Lithium-ion battery (UN3480)
  • Lithium-ion battery packed (UN3481)
  • Lithium-ion battery (UN3091)
  • Lithium-ion battery UN3091)
  • Lithium-ion battery (UN3481)
  • Lithium metal battery (UN3090)

Important point to remember is these all batteries are rechargeable and they are kept with their equipment.

Battery Marks

After last year’s bill that was passed, it has now become compulsory for battery marks to be packaged with the lithium batteries that you ship. If USPS can not find your battery marks, they hold the right to deny any service to you.?

You can find battery marks for cheap all around the internet and they are generally cheap, but you can also make your own battery marks as long as they adhere to the specific template that the USPS asks for.?

By Air/Surface

Certain types of batteries are limited to exclusively being shipped through surface, while others can be shipped through both the surface or via air. Here are the limitations:

  • UN3480, UN3090 can be shipped via surface only
  • UN3481, UN3091 can be shipped via both air and surface

Density of the battery

A very important factor that the lithium batteries ship through depends on is the density of the battery. USPS states that the batteries shipping must not contain more than 1 gram of Lithium-ion per cell for a 100 Wh battery. Batteries utilizing lithium metal can have as much as 2 grams of Lithium metal per battery.?

Destination

You cannot ship UN3480/UN3090 batteries overseas, but UN3481/UN3091 can be shipped if they are packed in an electronic. 

Apparently, the post office can only ship a limited quantity of batteries per cycle. These quantities differ between destinations.?

How do you ship lithium batteries via USPS?

Before proceeding, please ensure that your battery adheres to the previously mentioned rules that USPS follows. If you find that your batteries adhere to these rules, you can now safely proceed to ship your lithium batteries. 

Here is a step-to-step guide on how to ship these batteries via USPS:

Step 1. Get the right package

You need to select the right package before shipping lithium batteries through USPS. We will discuss in detail on how to safely pack lithium batteries later on in this guide.?

Step 2. USPS Pub 52 General Condition

Understand and properly follow all USPS Pub 52 General Conditions to ensure that your package follows all these conditions. Misunderstanding can lead to issues right on the counter.?

Step 3. Plan your execution

If you plan on sending an employee to ship lithium batteries, ensure that the employee understands all the risks and liabilities that comes with moving a battery from your location to the post office. Additionally, they should have full knowledge on the packing instructions and destination.?

Step 4. Classify properly

Your batteries should be properly classified and should have battery marks attached on them. USPS may, and will refuse any battery shipping orders that do not come with battery marks and other proper classification.

Step 5. Do not mess the packing instructions up

The packing instructions must be followed thoroughly, as a slight mishap can cause a lot of issues down the road.?

Step 6. Be compliant to any extra instructions that the counter asks for

Because of the ever-so-changing nature of shipping, there might be a set of instructions that the post office is following that are not updated on their official online console. Be sure to ask the counter if you run into any issues.?

How do you safely pack lithium batteries?

Since lithium batteries are extremely dangerous package contents that can pose serious hazards if not handled properly, most shipping mediums require that they be packaged properly. Here is a list of instructions that you will need to follow to safely package your lithium battery:?

Follows eligibility

We mentioned a whole list of eligibility criteria in the beginning of this guide. Ensure that your lithium battery follows the eligibility criteria because in the other case, even if your battery is properly packed, your package will still not get accepted by USPS. All packages must meet 49 CFR 173.185 before being shipped through.?

Package dependency

If your battery is not sealed inside another electronic, they must be rigidly packaged, and should be sealed such that the contents of the box do not shake in case of outside force. Another thing to take note of is that the electronics should be adequately protected too, as damage to electronics can cause punctures and fractures to the battery itself.?

Use of metal packaging is discouraged

Even though metal packaging is one of the sturdiest options available right now, it can damage the battery itself if hit with enough blunt force. This is why it is discouraged to use metal packaging for batteries. USPS may not accept such packaging too.

Conclusion

There are various other factors that your battery shipping depends on, but as we mentioned earlier, you can always ask the USPS counter if you have any problems.

 

 

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