See if this makes sense to you.  

A shipment was prepared that has a lithium metal battery inside a piece of equipment that was going by air. The lithium metal content is less than 2 grams for the battery; therefore, this shipment was classified as UN3091 using Section II of PI 970 for packaging. It was prepared as such, and a lithium battery mark (with the UN# and telephone number) was applied on the package. The required statement was included on the airway bill.  

This company which services handling of cargo for most major airlines rejected the shipment. They sent over a checklist that said the lithium battery mark must include the shipping name, not the UN#. Their “Lithium Battery Acceptance Checklist” is from 2014. Considering they are one of the largest cargo service providers, you would think someone would update their checklist.  

Making matters worse, this shipment was a rush. Now the shipment was rejected, and the freight forwarder was stuck with trying to get this out after we had closed for the day. One of their staff drove down to the airport to add the shipping name on the mark.  

When I saw this email the following day, I was furious. Not only did this company have outdated information on their checklist, but they also made someone put incorrect information on the mark. The agent didn’t even bother looking up the label in the regulations because then they would have seen what is required. This can’t be the first time he saw this mark. The update on adding the UN# instead of the shipping name was switched a couple of years ago, so I am surprised that no one has pointed out to them that their checklist is out of date.   

Without going into so much detail, the email they received from me wasn’t the nicest. I even included screenshots of Section 7.1.5.5.2 of the IATA so that they can see it for themselves.  

Similar to how these companies expect shippers to follow and meet the current requirements when offering shipments for transport, we expect them to use a current checklist to verify our shipments so our shipments aren’t delayed.   

Stay up to date and sign up for our newsletter!

We have all the products, services and training you need to ensure your staff is properly trained and informed.

Lithium Battery Pictogram, Custom, 100x100 mm, Gloss Paper, 500/Roll
Lithium Batteries Labels

IATA Lithium Battery Shipping Guidelines, English

IATA Publications
Racheal Mani

Racheal Mani

Racheal Mani, based out in our Delta, B.C. office, has over 12 years of experience working under different auspices of federal, provincial, and municipal regulatory framework. She specializes in TDG Clear Language, IATA, IMDG, and WHMIS 2015 training. Racheal’s extensive knowledge in the dangerous goods industry is driven from her hands-on experience from packaging of dangerous goods for all modes of transport and her consistent liaison with ICC clients to ensure dangerous goods consignments meet the applicable regulatory requirements prior to transport.