Shipping lithium batteries overseas – how can you do it?4 min read

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It is very common for cameras, smartwatches and, of course, mobile phones to be powered by lithium batteries nowadays. You might find yourself in a situation where you are buying a new drone online or sending a tablet as a gift to someone who lives abroad, and you are not sure what is the most suitable transportation for it. Therefore, it is important to clarify some common doubts when it comes to shipping lithium batteries overseas. Read on to discover how is it possible to safely transport them.

What do you need to know when shipping equipment containing lithium batteries overseas?

There are several means of transport available when booking a shipping service. Even though it is not possible to ship electronic equipment containing lithium batteries by air freight, such equipment can still be shipped by road freight or sea freight. Between them, transporting lithium batteries by road is usually the cheapest and safest option.

Best way to ship lithium batteries by courier

When shipping electronic equipment containing lithium batteries by road, it is important to have it appropriately packed. Here are a few packing tips to guarantee you have the safest shipping possible:

  • Do not remove the batteries from the electronic devices.
  • Send the equipment in the original case, whenever possible.
  • Secure the buttons to guarantee the equipment cannot be turned on during transit.
  • If the equipment has separate parts and cables, make sure to add cushioning material between them to avoid scratching.

Choosing the best shipping method for your equipment

Whenever booking a shipping service, you can make a request to have it shipped using a specific type of transport. Since shipping lithium batteries by air freight is not permitted, you can choose the most suitable type of transport for your route: by road or by sea. Transportation by road is usually available, except in cases when shipping to islands or destinations that are extremely far away.

Let’s take the example of a parcel shipped internationally to the UK. Courier companies might opt for air transport since it is an island and a long distance. However, it is also possible to make the delivery by road or by sea.

If your parcel contains equipment with lithium batteries, make sure to inform our logistics experts when booking the shipping service and they will request that the shipping is done by ground instead, whenever possible.

Why are lithium batteries dangerous?

Lithium batteries are considered as dangerous goods, much like gasoline and propane. The reason behind it is that lithium batteries can overheat and catch fire. If you skim over the internet, you will easily find articles about electronic cigarettes catching fire in someone’s pocket or a lithium battery that exploded in a mini-submarine. These accidents were all caused due to overheating of the batteries. They are especially dangerous because not only is it difficult to put the fire out, but also the gas produced by these fires is extremely toxic and irritating.

Transportation safety board regulations

As lithium batteries became more popular, the transportation safety boards of several countries have taken action and created specific shipping regulations for such items. Since airplanes are pressurized closed environments, they present a higher risk. As a consequence, shipping lithium batteries by air freight is prohibited. Still, such electronics are allowed to be transported by road or by sea freight.

Please have in mind that not all shipping alternatives are available when shipping to islands and remote locations. When it comes to Greece, it is strictly forbidden to send or receive devices containing lithium batteries by courier.

 

As you can see now, shipping electronics containing lithium batteries is something that might require some extra care, but it is most certainly possible if you follow our recommendations.

If you still have any questions regarding the shipping of batteries or equipment containing lithium batteries, do not hesitate to contact us! Our customer support team will gladly assist you.

This article was written in collaboration with Fernanda Spolaor.

Last modified: January 6, 2020

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