Lithium Batteries are continuing to be a huge topic of conversation across multiple industries. The UK government especially, are investing millions of pounds to research innovation projects with the aim to improve and meet environmental targets that have been set for 2020.

What’s the 2020 goal? The UK is aiming to reduce absolute carbon emissions by 34%.

With the aim to reuse and recycle, as well as using fossil fuel alternatives, such as battery operated systems, the end goal is to develop an electrified economy. Car manufacturers are working on electric and hybrid vehicles more vigorously than ever, working towards the proposed plan to ban the sale of all diesel and petrol cars by 2040. 

It’s not just the UK tightening up its eco-belt. On the other side of the globe, Australia’s federal government is aiming to be the world’s leading country in the rapidly developing lithium-ion battery manufacturing sector. Western Australia is currently the world’s largest producer of lithium, a resource that is much sought after due its very high electrode potential. These batteries are used in batteries for smartphones and other portable electronic devices. Furthermore, the electric car industry is expected to become its biggest driver, and as of 2019 the Tesla GigaFactory has been announced the largest producer of Lithium-ion batteries for electric mobility, at 23GW.

The use of lithium batteries has grown at an exponential rate over the last few years as regulations have become stricter. These regulations are now somewhat more complicated, particularly concerning the transportation of lithium batteries. 

Here’s a quick insight into lithium batteries

What does a battery do? The electrolyte is a chemical medium that allows the flow of electrical charge between the cathode and anode. When a device is connected to a battery — a light bulb or an electric circuit — chemical reactions occur on the electrodes that create a flow of electrical energy to the device.

Lithium batteries in general are very safe but, because of their high energy capacity, if they are not treated with care or if they are abused or have a manufacturing fault then they can catch fire. Defective batteries have been the cause of a number of fires on board aircraft and during ground handling processes.

It is important to raise awareness of the hazards from lithium batteries and the importance of ensuring they are transported in accordance with the Carriage of Dangerous Good Regulations, both as cargo and by passengers.  Shipping Lithium Batteries safely by following the regulations ensures that we continue to mitigate the risks to people, property and environment during transportation.

Lithium batteries currently must be tested in accordance with sub-section 38.3 of Manual of Test and Criteria. In January 2020 it will become a requirement for shippers and distributors of lithium batteries to have a copy of the test summary from the manufacturer on hand. You may be required to produce this document to your freight forwarder prior to shipping. This is to ensure the safety requirements are being met by manufacturers.  

What should I do?

Don’t wait for the deadline, start reaching out to your manufacturers now to get a copy of the test summary report.

If you would like a sample of the format of the Test summary report, don’t hesitate to ask Logicom Hub Ltd.

One of the major risks associated with transportation of batteries and battery operated equipment is the short-circuit of the battery. A battery short-circuit is the result of terminals coming into contact with each other or other conductive surfaces. All packed batteries must be separated to prevent short circuiting and damage to the terminals and placed in strong, rigid packaging. Make sure your packaging meets the required standards.

If you are required to ship dangerous goods articles including lithium batteries overseas by any mode of transport and need assistance on how to correctly prepare the package, marking, labelling and documentation, Logicom Hub Ltd can help.

Logicom Hub Ltd is a certified Civil Aviation Authority training provider, working in the logistics industry to help shippers and freight forwarders navigate through the dangerous goods regulations. We train every mode of transport in an interactive, relaxed and shared learning environment. Watch out for our online dangerous goods training courses. Giving our customers access to the right training at the right time.