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Shipping Devices with Lithium Batteries

Do you ship electronics with a rechargeable battery? If so, it is very likely that the battery is a lithium battery. Lithium batteries power most mobile devices and portable electronics. Due to recent safety concerns, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has tightened the regulations on shipping these goods. DHL has developed several guidance materials to ensure compliance with the new regulations. The Shipper of record on the DHL Express waybill is legally responsible to ensure 100% compliance with the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations. Preferred Shipping is here to help you navigate these changes and ship lithium batteries properly.

Summary of Regulations:

When do regulations apply?

  • Lithium Batteries are packed and shipped as individual items (loose/bulk). Example: Loose Batteries/Power bank
  • Lithium Batteries are packed separately but shipped with equipment in the same box. Example: A cell phone with a replaceable Lithium Battery
  • Lithium Batteries are contained or installed in equipment and therefore shipped in the same box. Example: A computer tablet with an integrated Lithium Battery within the device that cannot be removed or replaced by the user

When are Lithium Batteries NOT permitted on the DHL Express Network?

  • Lithium metal batteries packed in accordance with Section II of packing instruction 968 (loose lithium metal batteries) are forbidden in the DHL Time Definite Network.
  • Lithium ion batteries packed in accordance with packing instruction 965 are forbidden on passenger aircraft and DHL Express requires additional approvals beyond the basic Shippers Dangerous Goods account approval.

When do I need a special DHL account approval?

  • Lithium metal and lithium alloy cells or batteries contained in equipment that meet these criteria do not require DG marks and label and don’t require account approval:
    • Must be UN 3091 – PI970 – Section II
    • Lithium metal cells / battery capacity must be less than or equal to 1g per cell or less than or equal to 2g per battery.
    • Less than or equal to 2 batteries or 4 cells
    • Less than or equal to 2 packages per shipment and no more than 5 kgs total weight per shipment.
  • Lithium ion and lithium polymer cells or batteries
    • Must be UN3481 – PI967 Section II
    • Lithium ion cells / battery capacity must be less than or equal to 20Wh per cell or less than or equal to 100 Wh per battery.
    • Less than or equal to 2 batteries or 4 cells
    • Less than or equal to 2 packages per shipment and no more than 5 kgs total weight per shipment.

Who is responsible for the safe transportation of these goods?
Any person, company or entity identified as the Shipper on the DHL Express shipment waybill is legally responsible to ensure 100% compliance with the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations. This responsibility persists even if the shipment containing the Lithium Batteries does not actually belong to or was made by the person, company or entity identified on the waybill. This is why it is so important for you to work with your Preferred Shipping sales representative or customer service team to ensure 100% compliance. We are happy to walk you through the process.

Will DHL accept defective or damaged batteries?
Lithium Batteries that are known or suspected to be defective or damaged present a high safety risk to personnel and property, and are not permitted on aircraft under any circumstances. When it is known or suspected that a defective or damaged Lithium Battery is enclosed within a laptop, mobile phone or other device, the battery must be removed before DHL can accept the shipment.

Overview for lithium metal:

Overview for lithium ion: 

Download the Full Lithium Battery Shipping Guide

Get all the details, exceptions, and rules for shipping Lithium Batteries

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