Those of us who ship dangerous goods via air will always try to prepare it for passenger/cargo aircraft (unless it’s COA Cargo Aircraft Only) because there are way more passenger-based aircrafts in the world than cargo only. Unless you are going with a carrier such as FedEx, UPS, DHL, Purolator, etc., which are all great DG cargo service providers; however, they also have their limitations.
Here’s my story.
A company from Victoria, BC, called to ask for repackaging services for three lithium-ion batteries going to Auckland, New Zealand. They were around 200 Watt-hour each, and the total weight for all 3 was around 2 lbs if that. He said he wanted it packaged for ocean transport. I asked him if he is shipping other goods with the lithium batteries, and he said no — just the batteries. I suggested to him why not send it by air and explained the air requirements, i.e., state of charge. He said the batteries were completely drained, so that was not the issue. He can not find an air carrier who can deliver from Vancouver, BC to Auckland, New Zealand. I said, “no, that can’t be.” He said, “be my guest and see if you can find a carrier.” So I called FedEx, and they said no. Not even a hold for pickup from a FedEx depot. My client does not have a DG account set up with UPS or DHL, so those were not options.
I contacted a local freight forwarder, gave them the information, and was told that they would try to find a carrier. And guess what? They couldn’t find anyone either. They said we would have to truck the batteries to LA, and then it could go on a freighter to Auckland. I just couldn’t believe that there are no services for lithium-ion batteries on a CAO plane from Vancouver to Auckland!
When I called the client back, he said “told you” and laughed. He said he tried and was told the same. After all that, we packaged three little lithium-ion batteries using the IMDG Code to ship via ocean freight. It’s times like this that I wish I were a gazillionaire because then I could buy a plane and start a whole new business!
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