Compliance Blog

Final Rule Released Regarding Lithium Battery Regulations

Just last month, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) finally released their rule regarding the transportation of lithium based products. The final rule establishes harmony between the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR), UN Model Regulations, the International Civil Aviation Organization’s Technical Instructions for Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air (ICAO) and also the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code. The final rule is now affective across the board. It is interesting to note that this rule is a far cry from the proposal PHMSA’s offered up over 4 years ago. However, this is not surprising as the proposal was widely disapproved of. Congress soon stepped in and ruled that any law PHMSA set forth regarding the transportation of lithium batteries, would not be any stricter than those set forth by the ICAO Technical Instructions. After a few other runarounds, PHMSA released its final rule on the matter. The final ruling now cooperates directly with international requirements. Any carrier that already adheres to the ICAO requirements for air transportation will find that no significant changes are necessary. However, highway, rail, and ocean to land transport will experience serious alterations in their requirements. The following is a sample of the new changes to transportation requirements in these industries. HMR units for lithium ion batteries will now be explained using international “Watt-hours”. Lithium ion batteries and lithium metal batteries require new, and separate shipping identification. Damaged, defective, or recalled lithium batteries can no longer be transported by air. Additional package identification will also be necessary. Recordkeeping will be required to show that lithium cells and batteries meet UN design test standards. Requirements for transportation of low-production and prototype lithium batteries for disposal have been revised. TCA will be holding a webinar to explain the changes. Contact a represenative today to reserve your spot!

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