How to ship batteries

 

Unique risks associated with shipping batteries: Batteries provide the power source for personal computers, phones, automobiles, and life-saving appliances. However, batteries are classified as dangerous goods, because by definition they produce  electricity from a chemical reaction. When improperly handled, packaged, or stored, batteries pose a risk for corrosive chemical and electrical fires. Emphasis must be placed on safety when packaging and transporting them. The following is an overview of the requirements for acceptance and transport of batteries within the FedEx Express system.

At FedEx Express, we understand the importance of ensuring the safe transport of your shipments. Charged battery shipments or shipments with items that contain charged batteries may overheat and ignite in certain conditions and, once ignited, may be difficult to extinguish or may expend corrosive substances.

By following these guidelines and complying with all applicable local, state and federal laws governing packing marking and labeling, you can do your part to help ensure your shipments arrive safely and on time to their final destinations. We strictly adhere to International Air Transport Association (IATA) and International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) regulations.

Steps for how to ship wet batteries

wet battery packing

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STEP 1

Identify your wet battery

Wet batteries or wet cell batteries are typically filled with corrosive acid or alkali and are regulated battery shipments (Class 8 — Corrosive). Wet batteries are common in vehicles, utility systems, un-interruptible power systems and industrial machinery. These commodities must be correctly identified, classified, packaged, marked and labeled. Additionally, the package must have the Shipper’s Declaration for Dangerous Goods completed and signed by a trained shipper.

  • UN 2794, Batteries, wet, filled with acid (electric storage)
  • UN 2795, Batteries, wet, filled with alkali (electric storage)
  • UN 2800, Batteries, wet, nonspillable (electric storage)

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STEP 2

Secure battery in a leakproof box

  • Package wet cell batteries in containers, including metal containers, with acid/alkali leakproof liner — sealed to prevent leakage.
  • Fasten batteries securely with fill openings and vents facing up to prevent short-circuiting or overheating.
  • Position multiple batteries side by side, separated by nonconductive dividers.
  • Place contents in a sturdy outer container.
nonspillable wet battery

In accordance with 49 CFR 173.159 and USG-11, an IATA (USG-11), nonspillable wet electric storage battery may be regarded as not subject to the regulations if the battery and its outer packaging are plainly and durably marked “NONSPILLABLE” or “NONSPILLABLE BATTERY.” The battery must also meet the conditions for being regarded as not subject to the regulations as prescribed in Special Provision A67, meaning that no shipper’s declaration is required.


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STEP 3

Seal and label the package

Seal and label package instructions

Using the H taping method, apply at least three strips of pressure-sensitive adhesive plastic tape that is at least 2" wide to both the top and bottom of the carton. Tape all seams or flaps. Place the shipping label on the top of the largest side. Ensure that all required outer markings, labelings and documentation appear.


  • FedEx Express will not accept or ship recalled or defective batteries, either as a stand-alone unit or contained with equipment. 
  • Waste batteries or batteries being shipped for recycling or disposal. (See IATA Special Provisions A154 and A183 as well as FX-04 (e) for additional details on these restrictions.)
  • FedEx Authorized ShipCenter® locations, FedEx OnSite locations, and FedEx ShipSite® locations do not accept dangerous goods. FedEx Office® Print and Ship Center locations do not accept regulated battery shipments, with the exception of lithium battery shipments meeting Section II IATA regulations.

 
  • How to Pack guidelines.
  • FedEx Dangerous Goods/Hazardous Materials Hotline, 1.800.GoFedEx 1.800.463.3339; press “81” or say “dangerous goods.”
  • FedEx Dangerous Goods training seminars and job aid.
  •  FedEx International hotline, 1.800.GoFedEx; say “international” to confirm commodity acceptability to a specific destination for a FedEx international service

Steps for how to ship dry batteries


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STEP 1

Identify your dry battery

Dry batteries are sealed, nonvented batteries used in flashlights or small appliances. They contain zinc salts and other solids or may be packed in combination with other metals. These batteries include non-rechargeable alkaline batteries and rechargeable batteries made with NiMh (nickel metal hydride) and NiCd (nickel cadmium). Some dry batteries are regulated battery shipments (Class 4 — Dangerous When Wet or Class 8 — Corrosive) and must be correctly identified, classified, packaged, marked and labeled.

  • UN 3028, Batteries, dry, containing potassium hydroxide, solid (electric storage)
  • UN 3292, Batteries, containing sodium

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STEP 2

Secure battery in a box

packing batteries
  • Position multiple batteries or packages of batteries side by side, separated by dividers.
  • Make sure batteries contained in an electronic device remain inside the device when shipping.
  • Pack securely and fill void spaces to prevent shifting or movement in transit.
  • Place contents in a sturdy outer container.

closed box icon

STEP 3

Seal and label the package

Seal and label package instructions

Using the H taping method, apply at least three strips of pressure-sensitive adhesive plastic tape that is at least 2" wide to both the top and bottom of the carton. Tape all seams or flaps. Place the shipping label on the top of the largest side. Ensure that all required outer markings, labelings and documentation appear.


  • FedEx Express will not accept or ship recalled or defective batteries, either as a stand-alone unit or contained with equipment. 
  • Waste batteries or batteries being shipped for recycling or disposal. (See IATA Special Provisions A154 and A183 as well as FX-04 (e) for additional details on these restrictions.)

FedEx Authorized ShipCenter® locations, FedEx OnSite locations, and FedEx ShipSite® locations do not accept dangerous goods. FedEx Office® Print and Ship Center locations do not accept regulated battery shipments, with the exception of lithium battery shipments meeting Section II IATA regulations.


 
  • How to Pack guidelines.
  • FedEx Dangerous Goods/Hazardous Materials Hotline, 1.800.GoFedEx 1.800.463.3339; press “81” or say “dangerous goods.”
  • FedEx Dangerous Goods training seminars and job aid.
  •  FedEx International hotline, 1.800.GoFedEx; say “international” to confirm commodity acceptability to a specific destination for a FedEx international service

Lithium battery guidelines and restrictions

lithium battery packaging diagram

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Lithium batteries are commonly used in devices like mobile phones, laptops, PDAs, watches, cameras, and even children’s toys. Lithium battery shipments or shipments with items that contain charged batteries may overheat and ignite in certain conditions and, once ignited, may be difficult to extinguish. The two main types of lithium batteries are lithium metal (primary non-rechargeable) and lithium ion (rechargeable).

  • UN 3480, Lithium ion batteries
  • UN 3481, Lithium ion batteries packed with equipment
  • UN 3481, Lithium ion batteries contained in equipment
  • UN 3090, Lithium metal batteries
  • UN 3091, Lithium metal batteries packed with equipment
  • UN 3091, Lithium metal batteries contained in equipment

The Class 9 Lithium Battery label (IATA Figure 7.3.X) is required on all Section I, IA, and IB shipments. Note: No text is allowed on the bottom half of the label outside of the number “9.” Lithium-powered vehicles (such as Airwheel®, Solowheel®, Hoverboard®, Segway® mini, and balance wheels) cannot be classified as UN 3481. IATA offers a Small Vehicles Powered by Lithium Batteries – Cargo Provisions document that concludes the correct classification for these small vehicles is UN 3171, Battery Powered Vehicles. There is no exception for vehicles that contain lithium ion batteries that do not exceed 100 Wh.

*Airwheel is a registered trademark of Changzhou Airwheel Technology Co., Ltd. Solowheel is a registered trademark of Shane Chen. Segway is a registered trademark of Segway, Inc.

Some of the FedEx Express operator variations published in the current IATA regulations are specific to lithium batteries: FX-04 (f) and FX-05 (a)–(d).

  • FX-04 (f) – Hoverboards or similar self-balancing vehicles will only be accepted from companies in new, original, unopened packaging. Used, refurbished balancing vehicles shipments from individuals, resellers, or third-party shipments will not be accepted. 
  • FX-05 (a) – FedEx Express will not accept UN 3090 or UN 3480 offered as Section II.
  • FX-05 (b) – UN 3090 lithium metal batteries under Packing Instruction 968 (Section IA, IB) require pre-approval. See fedex.com/dangerousgoods; select Getting Started, then Lithium Batteries. 
  • FX-05 (c) – All lithium batteries (Section I, IA, IB, and II) in all packing instructions must not be shipped in the same package as the following dangerous goods classes/divisions: 1.4, 2.1, 3, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 5.1, 5.2, and 8 and 2.2 with a Cargo Aircraft Only label. This includes All Packed in One, Overpacks, and combination All Packed in One/ Overpacks. Exception: If the only lithium batteries are those contained in temperature-control devices and the lithium batteries are Section II. The package must also not require the Lithium Battery Mark, and ELB (FedEx Express DG handling code for Section II lithium batteries) must not be selected in the FedEx automation device. 
  • X-05 (d) – Shippers sending any data loggers, which remain active in flight (other than SenseAware®), must be pre-approved.

Contact the FedEx Dangerous Goods/Hazardous Materials hotline at 1.901.375.6806 or email dghotline@fedex.com to begin the approval process.


Section II IATA Lithium Battery Shipments

All packages containing lithium batteries are classified as Class 9 Miscellaneous Dangerous Goods. However, packages containing small amounts of lithium may be exempted from most of the IATA and ICAO requirements if they comply with the requirements in Section II IATA Packing Instructions (PI) 966 and 967 for lithium ion batteries and 969 and 970 for lithium metal batteries as appropriate.

Shipments of lithium metal batteries, lithium metal batteries packed with equipment, and lithium metal batteries contained in equipment may be packaged in accordance with Section II IATA (Section II ICAO) packaging requirements provided that the metal or alloy cell content does not exceed more than 1g, and the aggregate lithium content does not exceed 2g per cell.

Lithium ion cells and batteries meeting the requirements of Section II must meet the general requirements of the packaging instruction. For lithium ion or polymer cells, the watt-hour rating is not more than 20Wh and 100wh per battery.

For proper shipping names ending in “Packed with Equipment,” Packing Instructions 966 and 969 indicate that the number of cells or batteries in each package must not exceed the number required for the equipment’s operations plus two spare sets. A “set” of cells or batteries is the number of individual cells or batteries that are required to power each piece of equipment. Each of the proper shipping names defined in Section II IATA may have additional requirements related to types of approved outer packaging, weight limits, and package drop tests of 1.2 m.

When the Lithium Battery Mark (IATA Figure 7.1.C) is required and used for Section IB and permitted Section II lithium battery shipments, the UN number(s) must be added to the mark. The UN number indicated on the mark should be at least 12 mm high. Note: The Lithium Battery Mark cannot be folded or wrapped around multiple sides of the package.

UN 3480, Lithium Ion Batteries Sections IA and IB have a state of charge (SoC) maximum of 30% without competent authority approval from both the state of origin and the state of the operator. Per IATA Special Provision A213, lithium batteries conforming with IATA 3.9.2.6.1 (f) containing both primary lithium metal cells and rechargeable lithium ion cells must be assigned to UN 3090 or UN 3091 as appropriate. When offered as Section II, the content of all the lithium metal cells contained in the battery must not exceed 1.5 g, and the total capacity of all lithium ion cells contained in the battery must not exceed 10Wh.

Section II Lithium Battery Packaging Guidelines

To comply with Section II IATA shipping requirements, shipments containing lithium batteries and cells must comply with specific packaging guidelines.

  • Ensure that lithium batteries are individually packaged in fully enclosed inner packaging such as a plastic blister wrap or pasteboard to provide protection for each battery.
  • Shield and protect lithium batteries to prevent short circuits or contact with conductive materials within the packaging that could cause short circuits.
  • Ensure that packaging is proven (i.e., tested) to meet the requirements of each test in the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria, Part III, Sub-Section 38.3.
  • Make sure that lithium batteries are completely enclosed (such as in equipment or surrounded by plastic with void space filled to prevent movement), except when the proper shipping names end with “contained in equipment.”
  • Place contents in a sturdy outer container.
  • Provide correct labeling and documentation.

Certain fully regulated Section IA and Section I Packing Instructions require UN specification packaging that meets Packing Group II performance standards. Refer to the specific IATA Packing Instruction for complete packaging requirements.


Section IA IATA Lithium Battery Shipments

Lithium batteries, both lithium ion and lithium metal, are fully regulated dangerous goods when prepared under Section IA IATA regulations. These commodities must be correctly identified, classified, packaged, marked, and labeled. Additionally, the package must have the Shipper’s Declaration for Dangerous Goods completed and signed by a trained shipper.


Section IB IATA Stand-Alone Lithium Battery Shipments

lithium battery packaging diagram

Section IB requirements apply to lithium metal cells with a lithium metal content not exceeding 1g and lithium metal batteries with a lithium metal content not exceeding 2g packed per Table 968-IB. Section IB requirements apply to lithium ion cells with a 20Wh and batteries of 100Wh or less per Table 965-IB. “IB” is required on the shipper’s declaration after Packing Instruction. See the applicable Packing Instruction for complete details. All IB shipments are required to have a Shipper’s Declaration for Dangerous Goods completed and signed by a trained shipper, and “IB” must be indicated after Packing Instruction, either in the Packing Instruction section or in Authorization

When the Lithium Battery Mark (IATA Figure 7.1.C) is required and used for Section IB and permitted Section II lithium battery shipments, the UN number(s) must be added to the mark. The UN number indicated on the mark should be at least 12 mm high.

Note: The Lithium Battery Mark cannot be folded or wrapped around multiple sides of the package.

Refer to the FedEx Express lithium battery flow chart for additional assistance: FedEx Express lithium battery flow chart.

When shipping UN 3480, Lithium Ion Batteries or UN 3090, Lithium Metal Batteries internationally, additional carrier and country limitations apply. Refer to this job aid for country limitations: Job aid for country limitations

  • FedEx Dangerous Goods/Hazardous Materials Hotline, 1.800.GoFedEx 1.800.463.3339; press “81” or say “dangerous goods.”
  •  FedEx International hotline, 1.800.GoFedEx; say “international” to confirm commodity acceptability to a specific destination for a FedEx international service

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*Dangerous goods are not allowed at FedEx drop boxes, FedEx Office and Print Center, FedEx Authorized ShipCenter, FedEx OnSite and FedEx ShipSite locations except as noted below .

Exception: FedEx Express shipments containing permitted IATA Section II lithium batteries are allowed at FedEx Office Print and ShipCenter locations and may be placed in FedEx drop boxes.


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NOTICE: This packaging brochure is provided to FedEx customers to help reduce loss or damage due to improper packaging. It is NOT intended to be a comprehensive guide for packaging items we accept for transit. We make no warranties, expressed or implied, regarding this information. Proper packaging is the sole responsibility of the shipper. For more information and comprehensive guidelines, contact the FedEx Dangerous Goods/Hazardous Materials Hotline at 1.800.GoFedEx 1.800.463.3339; press “81” or say “dangerous goods,” then press “4” for the next available dangerous goods agent. (Outside the U.S., request to speak to a dangerous goods representative.) Refer to the current FedEx Service Guide for terms, conditions, and limitations applicable to FedEx® delivery services.

NOTICE: FedEx Express will refuse to accept packages that do not meet FedEx Express, government, or IATA and ICAO requirements.