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Ban on Lithium Ion Batteries Shipped as Cargo on Passenger Planes Enters into Force

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has issued a safety advisory notice to inform those engaged in the transport of lithium batteries in commerce of recent actions taken by the International Civil Aviation Organisation to enhance the safe transport of these goods by air. Specifically, effective 1 April the ICAO is:

  • prohibiting the transport of lithium ion cells and batteries as cargo aboard passenger-carrying aircraft (i.e., those not contained in or packed with equipment, but not those contained in personal electronic devices carried by passengers or crew);
  • requiring lithium ion cells and batteries carried on cargo aircraft to be shipped at a state of charge of no more than 30 percent of their rated capacity; and
  • limiting the number of packages of both lithium ion and lithium metal batteries that may be offered for transportation on cargo aircraft under current provisions for small cells and batteries to not more than one package per consignment or overpack.

PHMSA notes that in co-ordination with the Federal Aviation Administration it is considering additional actions, including appropriate amendments to the Hazardous Materials Regulations, to address these enhanced safety measures.

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