This post was originally published in January 2018 and has been updated in January 2022 for accuracy.

Shipping Laptops Means Shipping Lithium Batteries

If you were to ship a laptop in 2013, all you would need to do was pack it up and ship it. Like shipping socks. But now that same laptop is considered a dangerous good due to the lithium battery it contains. 

The Situation

I had a customer drop off 2 laptops going to Australia. He wanted me to prepare the shipment for air transport as he isn’t certified to ship dangerous goods via air. He said he received about 6 pallets of marine vessel equipment returning from Canada to Australia and he said someone put these 2 laptops in one of those pallets thinking it can all go as general cargo. He knew that there are restrictions on shipping lithium batteries via air so he knew he had to call in the expert! 

The Solution

I removed the battery from the laptop to see the watt-hour rating. It was a 41-watt hour, and the total net quantity of lithium was below 5 kg (well below). Which meant these laptops are classified as Section II for UN3481, Lithium-ion batteries contained in equipment; therefore, does not require a shipper’s declaration. It’s always good news for the client when it falls in Section II as it saves the client money. 

I placed both laptops inside a good, strong, box (each laptop was initially placed inside its own case), marked one side of the box with the lithium battery mark, added the shipper and consignee addresses; it’s always a good idea to add To and From addresses on every package you send in case the air waybill gets detached from the package. Completed the FedEx air waybill (client requested it to go FedEx) and shipped it out from our location. The package arrived safely a couple of days later in Australia! 

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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.

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