From consumer electronics to zero-emission vehicles to low-carbon energy, lithium-ion batteries are at the heart of modern life and the new digital economy.

In 2022, global battery shipments will be 965Gwh, a year-on-year increase of 66.67%, and it is expected to reach 1294GWh in 2023, a year-on-year increase of 34.09%. It is estimated that the world will reach 7278GWh in 2030, an increase of 654.2% compared with 2022, and the compound growth rate will reach 28.73% from 2022 to 2030. Global battery shipments will continue to maintain rapid growth. So how to ship lithium batteries through zero-emission transport and a broader energy transition becomes a driving demand.

1. Packaging requirements for battery products

Since the International Air Transport Association and various shipping agents have listed battery cargo exceeding the standard as dangerous goods, such cargo will endanger the safety of air transportation, and all shipping agents attach great importance to the transportation of battery cargo. Therefore, how to ship lithium batteries? the shipper needs to operate battery goods according to the standard, provide correct transportation information, ensure that the submitted information is consistent with the actual goods, and ensure that the battery goods are operated according to the requirements and standards of the carrier agent, to ensure the safety and legality of the goods, and to keep promises. Eliminate prohibited items stipulated by laws and air prohibited items.

Prohibited articles

Li-ion battery

Lithium ion battery (Lithium ion): refers to a spare (rechargeable) battery, generally used in electronic products, including lithium polymer batteries, usually used in ordinary electronic devices, such as mobile phones, laptops, etc., lithium Ion batteries are divided into three packaging types:

  • Packaging type PI965: pure lithium ion;
  • Packaging type PI966: Lithium-ion batteries packed together with the equipment, which need to be placed separately from the equipment;
  • Packaging type PI967: The lithium-ion battery installed in the device is a built-in type and cannot be separated from the device.

Lithium metal battery

Lithium metal battery (Lithium metal): Usually refers to a disposable (non-rechargeable) battery containing lithium metal or lithium mixture as an electrode, generally used in electronic watches, calculators, cameras, etc.

Non-rechargeable battery

Lithium metal batteries are divided into three packaging types:

  • Packaging type PI968: pure lithium metal battery;
  • Packaging type PI969: Lithium metal battery packed together with the equipment, the battery needs to be placed separately from the equipment;
  • Packaging type PI970: The lithium metal battery installed in the equipment is a built-in type and cannot be separated from the equipment.
Battery pack

    Lithium battery packaging requirements

    • Packaging type PI965, PI968 (pure lithium battery): Batteries and battery cells must be packed separately in a sealed inner package, and then packed into a strong package. The outer package must use barrels, square barrels and boxes. Accept other packaging (such as PAK bags);
    • Packaging type PI966, PI969 (supporting lithium battery): the battery and the device should be placed separately and have anti-short-circuit measures;
    • Packaging type PI967, PI970 (built-in lithium battery): a strong outer packaging is required, the inner packaging must be properly fixed, the contents must not be shaken, and the power of the equipment inside must be turned off, and all batteries installed in the equipment must be insulated;
    • Packaging type: PI965, PI967: If the goods are double-packaged, the ship lithium batteries label are required for both double-packages, and "OVERPACK" is marked on the outer package.

    Other packaging requirements

    • The box must be new and hard enough without wrinkles or damage;
    • Do not paste any labels on the outer box (marks are acceptable), and all battery labels and UN labels are posted in Hong Kong;
    • The shipment must be packaged into pallets/pallets before delivery, so as not to damage the box during transportation.
    Inside the sealed inner package

      2. What precautions should be taken when shipping lithium batteries

      Safety first

      How to ship lithium batteries? Lithium batteries come in different shapes and forms such as cylindrical, prismatic and pouch cells. These cells are combined into modules, which in turn form a battery pack. They use chemical components (NMC, NCA, LFP, etc.) to store energy. This is why lithium batteries require high product protection, especially during transportation, where the consequences of damage can be catastrophic. Improperly shipping lithium batteries can lead to leakage, short circuits and toxic gas emissions, fires, explosions.

      Pay attention to the whole process

      Shipping routes and packaging must be carefully planned before batteries leave the production line. When cells are packaged and shipped out of the manufacturing aisle, they head to an assembly line (like an OEM). This means that the packaging of lithium batteries goes through a variety of equipment, has different conveyor systems and different grippers, or is subject to different hygiene requirements.

      how to ship lithium batteries? For example, establishing the correct positioning of batteries in automated trays and setting accurate tolerances for this position can prevent batteries from being damaged during automated handling. In addition, lithium battery should also undergo necessary safety tests to ensure the safety of battery cells throughout the transportation process.

      Improper transportation of the batteries

      Green environmental protection

      Conserving resources in the battery supply chain has become a top priority for many companies. For example, the electric vehicle industry is moving towards a closed-loop battery system with lithium battery recycling. This means that the packaging must not only be strong, but also recyclable.

      However, in the case of how to ship lithium batteries, current UN regulations restrict the use of recycled plastic materials, whose components are subject to adequate source tracing and laboratory testing. Therefore, using plastic packaging made of recycled materials in the lithium battery industry is very resource-intensive and time-consuming, sometimes even impossible. The good news is that the UN is currently revising the definition of recycled plastic material and looking at ways to increase its use throughout the shipping packaging of dangerous goods.

      3. Conclusion

      The lithium battery industry is constantly evolving and innovating. As a result of the regionalization of its production, the distance between manufacturers and assembly facilities may be shortened, but the risks and challenges of transporting batteries and cells remain. How to ship lithium batteries is a complex process. Therefore, it is critical to choose the right, experienced partner to help design packaging that meets all needs, while adhering to the various guidelines required by its mode of transport.

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