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Reguations about shipping Lithium Batteries Safely


  • 2016 IATA Lithium Battery Guidance Document -57th Edition
  • Lithium Batteries as Cargo in 2016 - Update III
  • For more and updated information, please visit IATA website
  • April 1st, 2016 – ICAO/IATA Air Regulations – Overpacking Li Ion and Lithium Metal Cells/Batteries

    New ICAO/IATA regulations will prohibit the “Overpacking” of Section II cells and batteries under Packing Instructions 965 (Lithium Ion) and 968 (Lithium Metal). After April 1, 2016 air shipments under Section II of the regulations will be limited to one 2.5 kg package. Multiple 2.5 kg packages will not be allowed unless they ship as Class 9.

    This change will have the largest impact on servicing direct customer base. While shipping lithium product by air will still be possible via Class 9 shipping, it will become more complicated and expensive. We highly recommend ordering within lead time so boat shipments can be used or maintaining inventory of the product.
  • April 1st, 2016 – ICAO/IATA Air Regulations – Li Ion State of Charge

New ICAO/IATA regulations will limit the State of Charge (SOC) to 30% for all lithium ion cells and batteries on both Passenger and Cargo aircraft. Please refer to Packing Instructions 965, Section 1A, 1B and Section II. This will impact just the shipment of cells and batteries by air, not the shipment of cells and batteries “packed with” or “contained in” equipment.

In this case, we will have to fully charge all the cells/packs and discharge to 30% of the capacity in our facility. It will delay the lead time significantly, so we strongly suggest you choose ship by Ground instead by air, because it will take equal or longer time than ship by Ground. If you have to choose ship by air, for example, oversea customers, please charge the cells/packs immediately when you receive them to maintain the cells/packs.

  • January 1st , 2017 – ICAO/IATA Air Regulations – Li Ion and Li Metal in Equipment
    This change refers to cells and batteries “contained in” equipment, Packing Instructions 967 (Lithium Ion) and 970 (LithiumMetal). Each package must be labeled with the Lithium Battery Handling Label. The only exceptions will be for:

    • Packages containing only button cell batteries installed in equipment (including circuit boards); and
    • Consignments of two packages or less where each package contains no more than four cells or two batteries installed in equipment.
    This label change for batteries/cells in equipment is not mandatory until January 1st, 2017. ICAO and IATA regulationsrecommend that this change be followed voluntarily as soon as possible after January 1st, 2016. Panasonic will beginadopting this change as of January 1st, 2016.
  • IATA Packing Instruction 965-970
    • Standalone = package ONLY contains batteries, NO equipment
    • Packed with = package contains equipment + batteries that are NOT installed in the equipment
    • Contained in = package has equipment with batteries installed
    •   Lithium Ion Battery Lithium Metal Battery
      Standalone Lithium Ion Standalone (P.I. 965) UN 3480 Lithium Metal Standalone (P.I. 968) UN 3090
      Packed With Lithium Ion Packed With (P.I. 966) UN 3481 Lithium Metal Packed With (P.I. 969) UN 3091
      Contained in Lithium Ion Contained in (P.I. 967) UN 3481 Lithium Metal Contained in (P.I. 970) UN 3091

Special Provision for 2016 IATA 57TH Edition

Country List which accept Lithium ion batteries

Transport within Passenger Baggage

Carrier's Shipping requirement for Lithium Batteries


DOT (PHMSA) Updates

  • 49 CFR 173.185 - as of Jan 21, 2016
  • Proper Shipping Names
    • 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

Ship Prototypes of Lithium batteries

  • 173.185(e) - Must be shipped by ground as Class 9
  • A55 Cargo aircraft under approval. (The lead time for approval is around 3-6 months. Customer can contact PHMSA for shipping approval by air) (DOT)

Low Production Runs

  • 173.185(e) low production runs of not more than 100pcs, must be shipped by ground as Class 9, Packing Group I packaging. Applies to small batteries.
  • A88 Cargo aircraft under approval (The lead time for approval is around 3-6 months. Customer can contact PHMSA for shipping approval by air)

Damaged, defective or recalled Cells or Batteries

  • 173.185(f) - ship by class 9 , Packing Group I level


Lithium Battery Calculations

  • Watt hours = Volts (V) x ampere hour (Ah)
  • Lithium Content is: Ah per cell x 0.3 gm x number of cells
  • Lithium Battery Calculation help document
What to consider when designing Lithium Batteries?
UN 38.3 Safety Test

We own a national standard UN38.3 testing lab. We can provide UN38.3 test service to our customer.

If you want to set up your own lab, we also provide UN38.3 & IEC62133 equipments and onsite training. Email us for the quote and lead time.
Lithium Battery Shipping Regulation
Recommendations on How to get ≤30% Rated Capacity for Shipping
Thermal Abuse Test for IEC62133
Thermal Spread Material used in Battery Pack Assembly
Show & Conference
33rd International Battery Exhibit, March 21-24, 2016, Florida, Booth#412
Lithium Battery Power and Safety, Baltimore MD, Nov 17-19, 2015
The Battery Show, Novi. MI, Sept 15-17, 2015 Booth#1716
Battery Power 2015, Denver, CO, August 5-6, 2015 Booth#29
Next Generation Batteries Conference, San Diego, CA, April 21-22, Booth#9
More ...
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