Batteries and cells can present a danger during shipment depending on the type of chemistry, the level of charge, and the level of mishandling. Some batteries are classed as dangerous or hazardous goods and under the New Zealand Land Transport Rule: Dangerous Goods 2005 there are special requirements for shipping them via road, rail, and sea. The batteries mentioned in the Rule are generally wet cells or specialised types.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) have developed a set of stringent policies with respect to batteries, especially relating to lithium based cells. Contact us or your shipping company for advice.
Preparation for shipment by battery type
There are a number of battery types (chemistries) on the market and they have differing characteristics in terms of safety during shipping.
Shipping the batteries in the manufacturers packaging, if available, and in a discharged state is the best option. Failing this, batteries should be protected from damage and prevented from being shorted. Lithium based batteries especially should be protected from damage and from being shorted since they are able to deliver currents capable of causing fires.
Carrier companies may have their own requirements in preparing batteries for shipment. This is sometimes based on the IATA policies.
The following information is what Ecotech Services would consider a minimum requirement for road, rail, and coastal shipping. Additional measures would further reduce and human health and safety issues, and environmental degradation but with diminishing effectiveness.
NOTE: The data in this table is not for air freight. Shipping requirements for air freight are more stringent than those listed here.
Courier, freighting, and shipping company policies
- Courierit – depends on the carrier used.
- CourierPost – batteries and appliances containing batteries are prohibited.
- DHL – batteries are transported but conditions apply.
- Fastway – no explicit mention of batteries in their conditions of carriage but they have stated that they do not transport batteries or only transport batteries under certainn conditions.
- Fedex – batteries are transported but conditions apply. They give specific instructions for how to package lithium batteries for shipping.
- NZ Couriers – not to exceed 5 kg and lithium based batteries require pre-approval.
- New Zealand Post – batteries are prohibited unless they are with equipment and are not lithium metal types.
- Post Haste – no explicit mention of batteries in their conditions of carriage.
- UPS – batteries are transported but special requirements may be stipulated for lithium metal types.
This list is incomplete. If you wish to have your company listed here please contact us.
- Battery safety at the Ecotech Services knowledge base
- Land Transport Rule – Dangerous Goods 2005
- Battery shipment at the Battery University
- NZS 5433.1:2012 Transport of dangerous goods on land
Last updated: May 13, 2020 at 13:22 pm