Can I send a lithium battery?

Rechargeable batteries and batteries: Which dangerous goods regulations apply to shipping?

This guide deals with the shipping of batteries and rechargeable batteries in packages abroad. The information is non-binding and can change at any time due to changed airfreight regulations.

Table of Contents

  1. General
  2. Regulations for shipping batteries within Germany
  3. International Battery Shipping Regulations
  4. International battery shipping with UPS
  5. Note on the exclusion of warranty

General

Some customers buy electronic products from Wish, Aliexpress or other foreign online shops and want to send them back if they do not like them. It often happens that such parcels are recognized by X-rays as part of the export control and are sent back to the sender. Smartphones, drones, action cameras and similar products with batteries or rechargeable batteries are subject to strict regulations when they are transported by air.

Paketda recommends: Remove all batteries and rechargeable batteries from the device before shipping, if possible. Ask the recipient to buy the battery himself in his country (e.g. on eBay).

Important for DHL shipping:

  • You are generally not allowed to send dangerous goods abroad with a DHL standard package. Prohibited under all circumstances.
  • Transport is permitted within Germany with restrictions. There are maximum permissible quantities depending on the type of dangerous goods.

On the following DHL leaflet you can see other dangerous goods such as spray cans (deodorant) and perfume (flammable because of the alcohol they contain).


Click on the graphic for a larger view in a new window
Deutsche Post information page: www.deutschepost.de/brief-international/gefahrgut

↑ to the table of contents


Regulations for shipping batteries within Germany

You can find DHL's information on domestic dangerous goods shipping on this website.

In the leaflet "Regulations for the transport of dangerous substances and objects" you will find lithium batteries in the table "Class 9: Various dangerous substances and objects". You need to determine whether your batteries or rechargeable batteries are of the lithium metal or lithium ion type.

There is also a difference whether the batteries are shipped alone or whether they are built into a device. For example, sending a package with 1kg batteries is far more dangerous than sending a single iPhone.

Note on car batteries: The shipping of car batteries - whether wet or dry - is restricted with DHL. Please refer to the table "Class 8: Corrosive substances" in the PDF information sheet.

UPS only allows car batteries to be shipped to corporate customers with an additional dangerous goods contract. Private and occasional senders can only send dangerous goods in limited quantities (Limited Quantities / LQ). Car batteries are non-LQ goods, i.e. fully regulated dangerous goods.

According to DHL regulations, you do not need to label dangerous goods if a package contains only the following:

  • Button cell batteries that are built into devices (including circuit boards). So e.g. calculators, watches.
  • A device contains a maximum of 4 cells and / or a maximum of 2 batteries. For an explanation of the difference between cells and batteries, see www.lithium-batterie-service.de.

If the above exception rules do not apply to your parcel, the ADR special regulation (SV) 188 must be observed when shipping lithium batteries. The ADR regulate the transport of dangerous goods overland by truck.

The wording of SV 188 can be found at www.it-recht-kanzlei.de, for example. There, the limits on the lithium content and the watt hours per battery or per cell are particularly important.

Lithium-ion: Maximum nominal energy output in watt hoursLithium metal: maximum lithium content
per cell20 Wh1 gram
per battery100 Wh2 grams

If the package contains a device in which the rechargeable batteries / batteries are permanently installed, no drop test is necessary and no warning sticker is necessary. If the rechargeable batteries / batteries are only enclosed with the device, a fall from a height of 1.2 meters must not cause damage or move the contents of the package. Each battery / cell must also have its own inner packaging, e.g. a plastic bag.

The package needs a warning sticker:

  • for lithium-ion batteries in devices: UN 3481
  • for lithium metal batteries in devices: UN 3091 (see page 2)
  • Required: Telephone number (e.g. of the sender), from which further information on the content of the shipment can be requested if required
  • Minimum size of the sticker: 12 cm x 11 cm.
  • Please print in color because of the red hatched border.
  • If required, you can order pre-printed dangerous goods stickers here: www.labelident.com


Warning notices as PDF for printing

↑ to the table of contents


International Battery Shipping Regulations

The shipping of lithium batteries by air freight is strictly controlled in order to avoid any risk during the flight. For normal private customers, it is time-consuming to comply with all regulations and find a suitable carrier.

  • DPD: DPD business customers can send dangerous goods with an additional agreement (information in this PDF). Private customers have no option.
  • Hermes: Dangerous goods are prohibited in national and international Hermes parcels (source: Item 4.2.1 of the GTC)
  • DHL Paket International: Hazardous goods such as batteries and accumulators are generally prohibited, even in small quantities and built into devices.
  • DHL Express International: Dangerous goods are allowed in compliance with transport regulations, but only for contract customers. Contract customers are companies that regularly ship with DHL Express. DHL Express dangerous goods website.
  • UPS: Lithium-ion batteries can be sent if they are part of a device (e.g. the battery of a smartphone). The rules that UPS presents in this PDF must be observed. Lithium batteries without a device can only be sent to UPS business customers with a special additional dangerous goods contract. Source: ups.com/de

↑ to the table of contents




International battery shipping with UPS

As explained above, you can only send rechargeable batteries and batteries with UPS if they are part of a device (e.g. smartphone). First determine the battery type (lithium-ion or lithium-metal) and the watt hours (Wh). If only ampere-hours (Ah) are given, refer to this website for conversion.

After you have determined the battery information, please read the following UPS advisor: www.ups.com/assets/resources/media/de_DE/pack_ship_batteries.pdf.

There you will find diagrams for the safe packaging of batteries. Decision trees are also shown to check the admissibility of the dispatch. Lithium-ion batteries can be shipped up to a maximum of 100 Wh or 20 Wh per cell. Lithium metal batteries are permitted provided the battery contains less than 2g lithium metal or less than 1g per cell. (A battery usually consists of several cells.)

Extract from the UPS advisor:

Place a UPS shipping order

You can book parcel shipping online with UPS at https://www.ups.com/ship/single-page/international. The booking process is relatively complicated for inexperienced users.

You have to pay special attention to booking step 2. Enter the packaging size and weight here. Click on "Show Package Options" to enter additional information for battery shipping. It looks like this:

In the further booking process you will be asked to fill out a customs declaration and a commercial invoice.

If you send a return package, the commercial invoice is the original invoice that you received from the seller of the goods. If you are not familiar with these topics, read our Paketda guides on customs declarations and commercial invoices.

If you forget the required accompanying documents or fill them out incompletely, UPS can prohibit export from Germany or import to the destination country. If you are unsure about one point, it is better to cancel the online shipping order and call UPS customer service.

↑ to the table of contents


Note on the exclusion of warranty

We provide all information on this page without guarantee and without any claim to completeness. Different regulations apply depending on the product type, quantity, destination country and type of transport (land, air, sea). Before shipping, you should contact the customer service of the desired parcel service and find out about the currently valid regulations.

If you have the impression that the customer service employee cannot provide competent information, let yourself be connected to a special department for dangerous goods shipping.

Are you an entrepreneur and would you like yourself or your employees to be professionally trained in shipping lithium batteries? Then we recommend the services of www.lithium-batterie-service.de. This recommendation is neutral and is not a paid advertisement.

↑ to the table of contents







Your questions about battery and battery shipping