ebike lithium battery fire

Dangerous Goods Regulations are Heating Up – Clarifying Lithium Batteries

One of our most frequently asked queries is whether we can send lithium batteries. Did you know lithium batteries are classed as Dangerous Goods? You will be hard pressed to find many logistics companies who will transport these due to the potential shipping risks involved. If you’re sending devices overseas or around New Zealand which are powered by a Lithium Battery you had better read on.

The aviation industry governs stringent international regulations for the shipping of Lithium Batteries and they have upped the ante on potentially dangerous freight – the airlines have tightened up on what cargo they will ship to help prevent any serious safety issues involving shipping dangerous goods.

PACK & SEND has limited sea freight options for shipping Lithium Batteries under 100 watt-hours. Contact your PACK & SEND service centre for more information on this.

phone with lithium battery on fire

Why is sending a Lithium battery containing item potentially hazardous?

You’ve left your electric device at an overseas airport and you need it sent back, you’ve called your local freight company and felt like you’re in front of the Spanish Inquisition! Why the intense grilling? Lithium batteries (abbreviated as LiPo) provide higher specific energy than other lithium battery types and are used in applications where weight is a critical feature such as mobile phones.

Lithium batteries have an ability to overheat and ignite under certain conditions and this has been the case with several reported serious (fire) incidents during transport. Given the potential for Lithium-ion batteries to catch fire, the difficulty in extinguishing such a blaze and with the toxic fumes a burning battery emits, airlines are extremely wary of batteries rated with high watt-hours.

What are Watt-Hours and is there a limit?

Watt-hours (Wh) are a measure of electrical energy equivalent to a power consumption of one watt for one hour. We may be able to send items over 100 watt-hours overseas in certain circumstances. We can deliver devices exceeding this limit domestically however we have limited options on our overnight freight service. We’ll discuss below how to determine your device’s watt-hours. 

“Most companies I’ve phoned won’t ship my lithium battery containing item – will PACK & SEND?”

By following strict international regulations and guidelines PACK & SEND have limited options to ship Lithium Battery devices providing we meet all of the necessary regulations. We specialise in handling products that contain Lithium Batteries including domestic and international destinations but on the proviso that professional packaging materials are used. Pack & Send prefers to expertly package lithium battery containing items ourselves to ensure the maximum safety measures are in place. Note, also that we can’t send lithium batteries on their own, but we may be able to send these within the device they are powering. 

What devices are over the maximum 100 watt-hours?

Extended  life laptops, sizable power tools, larger drones, ebikes and other small recreational vehicles which include hoverboards, Segways, solo wheels, air wheels, balance wheels, lithium powered skateboards, personal transportation devices with on-board storage, electric RC aircraft and underwater lamps. We often get asked about ebikes, we may have an option for shipping ebikes however we highly recommend that we pack and deliver only the bike for you overseas and the recipient installs a battery once the ebike arrives at its destination.

shipping lithium battery fire

What items containing lithium batteries are acceptable to ship?

Common items such as laptops, mobile phones and digital cameras are usually under the maximum.  Items that are ok to take as an on-board luggage are fine to send with us but if you’re unsure it’s always safest to check with your local Pack & Send store. Note we can no longer send power banks.

How can I check my device’s watt-hours?

Calculating the watt-hours based on the information printed on the outside of a battery is not difficult to determine. Multiply the given volts by the battery capacity, shown as milliamps or mAh. Divide the sum by 1,000 to get the watt-hour rating.

What if I’m sending a high watt-hour item by sea freight?

All of the air freight limitations still apply to shipping lithium battery products via sea freight.

Consult with us to be sure if you can send lithium batteries overseas, or domestically

When you need to send items that contain Lithium batteries contact your local Pack & Send Store and let the experts take care of the rest.

If you have queries about sending dangerous goods domestically or overseas just give us a call.

Find your local PACK & SEND store here or call now on 0508 722 548