Parcel Direct Blog

Shipping Advice: Lithium Batteries

What are Lithium Batteries?

Lithium Ion batteries are increasingly popular in today’s world. You probably own 3 or 4 electronics that use lithium ion batteries. This type of battery can be found in small devices like your mobile phone or they can be found in your electric car.

What makes these batteries different from any other? Lithium batteries can be recharged, unlike alkaline AAs or similar. Lithium’s generally output more power, this allows them to be able to power bigger and more complex devices.

Shipping lithium batteries can be dangerous, because if these highly flammable items are exposed to certain conditions, they have the potential to overheat and explode. Lithium fires cannot be put out, if a non-extinguishable fire happens on a cargo plane, a major disaster can take place.

Can You Ship Lithium Batteries?

You can ship lithium batteries but due to their dangerous nature, strict guidelines must be followed:

  1. The battery must remain in the device when being shipped.
  2. You can send a maximum of 1 lithium batteries per parcel.
  3. It is vital that the shipper also takes caution when shipping items of this nature. Any device with batteries that you are shipping must be turned off and the power button must be protected to ensure it does not accidentally activate. This can be done with use of electrical tape or cardboard.
  4. Always place your device inside a plastic bag. This prevents any static interference and serves as another layer of protection against an outbreak of fire.
  5. If the battery is faulty or damaged it cannot be sent. Damaged batteries are more unstable and it could result in the battery overheating and exploding. Sending a faulty battery is illegal and can result in a serious fine.

If you plan on shipping lithium batteries overseas then your shipment may be affected by the customs of the country you are sending to, so always contact customer support if you have doubts or questions.

Packaging Lithium Batteries for Shipment

Exactly like anything you send through a courier, it is important to make sure that you package your item properly to ensure that your shipment safely arrives to its destination. To keep your parcel safe during transport, you will need to package the electrical item that houses your battery sufficiently.

With all electrical items that contain a lithium battery, you must make sure that the device is turned off during transit. This is to prevent the battery from overheating and exploding.

Make sure your device will not power on at any stage of shipping. After a parcel is collected it is transferred to a depot where it is sorted and then it is put onto a van for delivery or to be taken to the local depot at the delivery destination. Your parcel will be traveling with thousands of other parcels of different shapes and sizes. During this process your parcel must be packaged in a way that it can withstand a drop or being knocked by other packages etc. Having a parcel that is packaged to this standard also ensures that your lithium battery will be safe during the shipping process.

What Devices Use Rechargeable Lithium Batteries?

  • Power tools
  • Cameras
  • Smartphones
  • Laptops
  • Electronic Cigarettes

This list shows only a small sample of the types of devices that may contain a lithium battery. If you are shipping something and you are not sure whether it contains a lithium power source, then check with the manufacturer; it’s your legal responsibility to specifically declare every item that you are exporting.

Shipping Laptops with Lithium Batteries

Laptops are one of the most common items that are shipped with Lithium batteries. It is important to make sure that your laptop is packaged up to the standards required, it should not be able to move in the box. This is how laptops and their batteries are damaged.