The Department of Transportation through the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration released the final rule on the transportation of lithium batteries. The long awaited rulemaking on lithium batteries will revise US regulations, 49 CFR, to address the transportation of lithium batteries.
In relation to the US implementation, shipments of lithium batteries transported to or from the U.S. must follow either the ICAO Technical Instructions by air or the IMDG code by vessel.
The final rule amends hazard communication and packaging provisions for lithium batteries and brings it into line with Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) applying relevant provisions from the following regulations and standards:
- United Nations Model Regulations
- International Civil Aviation Organization’s Technical Instructions (ICAO Technical Instructions)
- International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code (IMDG Code)
Significant details as regards the final rule on transportation of lithium batteries are provided here. The final rule:
- replaces equivalent lithium content with Watt-hours for lithium ion cells and batteries;
- adopts separate shipping descriptions for lithium metal batteries and lithium ion batteries;
- revises provisions for the transport of small and medium lithium cells and batteries including cells and batteries packed with, or contained in, equipment;
- revises the requirements for the transport of lithium batteries for disposal or recycling;
- harmonizes the provisions for the transport of low production and prototype lithium cells and batteries with the ICAO Technical Instructions and the IMDG Code; and
- adopts new provisions for the transport of damaged, defective, and recalled lithium batteries.
As for the cost of taking up this action, PHMSA, using two discount rates that is 3 percent and 7 percent calculates the cost of the rule to be $12.1 million and $10.8 million respectively in recognition of HMR authorizing the use of the ICAO Technical Instructions and the IMDG Code for most lithium battery shipments. Also, considering uncertainties in quantifying cost, PHSMA computes the cost with high and low cost estimates.
Finally, PHMSA looks forward to some safety benefits as the end result of risk reduction through the following:
- Reliable packaging
- Hazard communication
- Inspection and acceptance checks
- Pilot notification
- • Employee training
For detailed information on the final rule on the transportation of lithium batteries, download (PDF Document).