Shipping Lithium Batteries by Air with UPS?

You Need to Know About These Important Changes, Effective 1/1/2017

UPS changed its requirements for standalone shipments of lithium batteries (i.e., not packed in or with equipment) shipped by air. That means shippers will have to change the way they prepare these shipments if they want to continue using UPS Air services.

Under previous rules, standalone shipments of lithium ion (UN3480) and lithium metal (UN3090) could be accepted as IATA Section II, commonly known as “Excepted Lithium Battery Shipments.” Section II shipments of lithium batteries were not fully regulated, which meant they did not need Class 9 labels, UN packaging or Shipper’s Declarations, and there was no Dangerous Goods surcharge.


UPS Battery Shipping Policy — As of January 1, 2017 rules have changed.

According to the new UPS Air requirements, all standalone shipments of lithium batteries will require transport as fully regulated shipments under either Section 1A or Section 1B of ICAO/IATA Packing Instructions 965 and 968, respectively. Shippers are required to enter a UPS Dangerous Goods service agreement before shipping lithium batteries without equipment by air.

To determine whether a shipment is Section 1A or Section 1B, you must know the watt-hours (Wh) of lithium ion cells/batteries, the amount of lithium (in grams) contained in lithium metal cells/batteries and the gross weight of cells/batteries per package.



Regulated Labels and Marks

To ship lithium batteries via UPS Air:

  • All fully regulated Section 1A shipments require a Class 9 Hazard Class label and a Cargo Aircraft Only (CAO) label.
  • All fully regulated Section 1B shipments require a Class 9 Hazard Class label, a CAO label and a lithium battery handling/mark label.
Class 9 Hazard Class Labels Cargo Aircraft Only Labels Lithium Battery Marks


Lithium Battery UN Packaging

Shipments that go under Section 1A will require UN packaging for lithium batteries that meets the Packing Group II performance standards. Shipments that go under Section 1B will require battery excepted packaging that is rigid and is capable of withstanding a 1.2 m drop test in any orientation without damage to cells/batteries, battery-to-battery (or cell-to-cell) contact or release of contents.

Labelmaster offers a complete line of shipping supplies to help you meet your inner packaging requirements, including Anti-static Bubble Wrap® bags.



Shipper's Declaration Documentation

Both Section 1A and Section 1B shipments will require Shipper’s Declarations. Labelmaster’s DGIS software is approved by UPS for creating and printing Shipper’s Declarations.



Shipping lithium batteries contained in or packed with equipment by air?

UPS will continue to accept lithium batteries contained in or packed with equipment by air prepared in accordance with the Section II (P.I.s 966, 967, 969 and 970) requirements; however, it is important to note that UPS has additional marking requirements for these shipments that became effective on 1/1/17, as outlined in the UPS Operator Variations (5X) contained in the 58 Edition of the IATA DGR.



When in doubt, ask the experts!

Don’t risk delayed or rejected shipments. Labelmaster is always available with a broad range of services to help ensure compliance with the latest regulations so your shipments arrive safely and on time. Call us at 800.621.5808.