Shipping Lithium Batteries

Lithium batteries provide more energy and a longer operating life than other battery chemistries, making them a popular choice for several products. However, if treated improperly, they have the potential to short-circuit and generate a significant amount of heat, possibly creating an explosion or fire, called thermal runaway.

Preparing to ship lithium batteries

Lithium battery shipping regulations can be complicated. We can help.

There are several regulations surrounding the safe transport of lithium batteries. Remember: all types of lithium batteries are considered Dangerous Goods and must be handled and labeled properly. The type of lithium battery, quantity, electric capacity, charge and how they're packed — whether they're contained within equipment, shipped with equipment or all alone — are all determining factors in how to pack and label lithium battery shipments. Whether it be by air, ocean, rail or truck, there are many regulations in place and it can be difficult to know how to properly pack, label and ship these batteries.

That's why we created the FedEx Trade Networks Lithium Batteries & Cells Shipping Guide to lead you through the process.

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Lithium battery prohibitions

Damaged, defective or recalled batteries are forbidden for air transport. However, batteries which have some other defective feature (e.g., batteries with the incorrect model number on the label or batteries not holding enough charge) could still be shipped by air.

Types of lithium batteries

  1. Lithium metal batteries, typically found in watches or calculators, are generally non-rechargeable, disposable lithium batteries which contain metallic lithium and are also called primary lithium batteries.
  2. Lithium ion batteries, typically found in mobile phones or laptops, are generally rechargeable lithium batteries which contain lithium polymer, and are also called secondary lithium batteries.

A lithium cell vs. a lithium battery

A lithium cell is a single encased electrochemical unit consisting of one positive and one negative electrode that exhibits a voltage differential across the two terminals. A lithium battery is one or more cells electrically connected. A single cell battery is considered a cell and not a battery.

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FedEx Trade Networks Lithium Batteries & Cells Shipping Guide

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