Home » Shipping Lithium Polymer Batteries: What You Need to Know

Shipping Lithium Polymer Batteries: What You Need to Know

by | Apr 9, 2024 | Blog Post

Lithium polymer batteries, also known as LiPo batteries, are a type of rechargeable battery widely used in electronic devices and applications. Evolving from lithium-ion and lithium-metal batteries, lithium polymer cells stand out for their impressive energy density and lightweight design. Their capacity to store considerable energy in a small size has made LiPo batteries essential for driving innovation in various industries.

Building on our previous discussions on shipping lithium ion batteries internationally and navigating lithium-ion battery shipping regulations, this article turns its focus to lithium polymer batteries. By exploring the unique characteristics of LiPo batteries, we aim to provide further insight into LiPo battery shipping implications.

Common Uses and Market Trends

Lithium polymer batteries are used in various industries, ranging from personal electronics, medical devices, and consumer electronics. These versatile power sources are integral components in smartphones, tablets, health monitors, remote-controlled toys, and many other electronic devices. As technology advances and new applications emerge, the market for lithium polymer batteries is expected to expand further, driving innovation in battery technology and product design.

Limitations and Considerations

Despite their widespread use and versatility, LiPo batteries present certain limitations and challenges. One drawback is their relatively shorter lifespan compared to other battery types, often ranging from 500 to 800 charge cycles. In high-demand applications where frequent charging and discharging occur, their lifespans can be further reduced. Additionally, the complex chemistry of LiPo batteries demands careful handling throughout their lifecycle. Proper storage, charging, and discharging procedures are essential to ensure both safety and longevity.

Shipping Considerations

Lithium polymer batteries are classified as dangerous goods due to their safety concerns, leading to strict regulations and requirements for their transportation. This classification makes shipping both expensive and challenging. Additionally, not all carriers have the expertise to handle LiPo batteries, further complicating logistics operations. Therefore, it’s crucial for businesses to partner with carriers experienced in handling dangerous goods and compliant with international shipping regulations.

Regional Restrictions for Shipping Lipo Batteries

While UN Model Regulations set the foundation for lithium battery shipping globally, individual countries and regions often have additional and potentially stricter regulations in place. Here are some specific examples of regional restrictions for shipping lithium polymer batteries:

South America: There are generally more restrictions on shipping LiPo batteries here when compared to other regions. This is mainly due to concerns about safety and fire hazards. For example, compared to some developed regions, South America’s transportation infrastructure might have older vehicles and limitations in handling hazardous materials. Regulations can vary within each country and even at the provincial level but here is an example:

  • Argentina: For import into Argentina, an import permit from the National Directorate of Hazardous Materials is required. LiPo batteries must comply with both IRAM standards (set by the Argentine Institute of Standardization) and UN standards. Additionally, all labeling must be in Spanish and include specific details like the UN number, lithium content, and emergency contact information.

Asia: Most Asian countries follow the UN Model regulations with additional regional and national requirements.

  • China: Requires 38.3 test reports for batteries, specific packaging standards, and Chinese labeling. Due to internal regulations in Mainland China, some battery goods may face restrictions on direct export from Southern China and instead require routing via Hong Kong for export. Dimerco has the expertise and experience to navigate these complexities and handle battery goods for export from both regions.
  • Japan: Bans lithium metal batteries on passenger flights and has strict capacity limits for lithium-ion. Requires UN test reports and Japanese labeling.
  • India: Requires import permissions, UN test reports, and specific packaging standards.
  • South Korea: Similar to Japan, with bans on lithium metal and capacity limits for lithium-ion. Requires UN test reports and Korean labeling.

Europe: Most European countries follow ADR regulations for road transport and aligns with UN Model Regulations for other modes.

  • Germany: Requires UN-approved packaging complying with national standards (ADR) in addition to UN Model Regulations. Additional labeling needs may exist beyond UN requirements.
  • Austria: Imposes lower capacity limits for air shipments compared to standard UN Model Regulations. Specific labeling requirements in German might be necessary.
  • Italy: Requires additional documentation and permits for specific battery types or capacities. Specific labeling might be mandatory.

US: Shipping lithium polymer batteries within the US involves both federal and individual carrier regulations. Here’s a breakdown of the key points:

Federal regulations:

Key Requirements:

  • Classification: Determine the UN classification of your batteries based on weight and capacity using the UN Model Regulations.
  • Packaging: Use UN-approved packaging that meets performance standards for your battery classification.
  • Marking and Labeling: Apply UN hazard labels, UN identification numbers, and other required markings clearly and securely to your packages.
  • Documentation: Prepare accurate and complete documentation like commercial invoices, safety data sheets, and shipper’s declarations.
  • Carrier Selection: Choose a carrier experienced in handling dangerous goods and adhering to relevant regulations.

Additional Points:

  • Ground vs. Air: Ground shipments have less stringent restrictions than air shipments. Some restrictions might apply for Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and California.
  • Quantity Limits: Individual carriers might have specific quantity limitations for lithium batteries in one package.
  • Exemptions: For small lithium batteries (<2g lithium content) installed in devices, some exemptions might apply, but consult regulations and carriers for confirmation.

Proactive Safety Measures

Temperature control: Lipo batteries are sensitive to extreme temperatures. Implement measures like insulated packaging or temperature-controlled shipping for long journeys to avoid performance issues and safety hazards.

Damage Prevention: Secure packaging with cushioning material is important. Prevent punctures, short circuits, or crushing during transport by ensuring everything is securely packed.

Emergency Preparedness: Train personnel on proper handling procedures and emergency response protocols in case of incidents. Being prepared minimizes risks and ensures everyone’s safety.

Mastering the logistics of Lipo Battery Shipping

Shipping Lipo batteries may seem daunting but with the right approach, it’s a challenge that can be overcome. By understanding the regulations, implementing proactive safety measures and collaborating with experienced partners, businesses can ensure the safe, compliant and efficient transportation of Lipo batteries.

Streamline your Shipping Process with Dimerco

While shipping lithium polymer batteries presents unique challenges, partnering with a seasoned provider can simplify the process significantly. By understanding the specific requirements and leveraging the expertise of logistics professionals, you can mitigate risks and ensure a smooth and successful shipping experience. Contact Dimerco today to arrange a discussion and initiate your shipping operations.