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DHL's guide to shipping lithium batteries and electronics

E-commerce · 8 min read

How to ship batteries and electrical items cross border

IF YOUR E-COMMERCE BUSINESS SHIPS PRODUCTS CONTAINING BATTERIES INTERNATIONALLY, THERE ARE SOME IMPORTANT SHIPPING AND PACKAGING CONSIDERATIONS YOU WILL NEED TO COMPLY WITH TO ENSURE THEY ARRIVE THERE SAFELY AND WITHOUT DAMAGE OR DELAY. READ ON FOR A SIMPLE GUIDE.

 

The online market for electronics is booming – in fact, it's one of the leading product categories for worldwide e-commerce sales1

If your e-commerce business sells electronics, the chances are many of those products and devices contain batteries – in particular, lithium batteries, which are commonly found in laptops, smartphones, tablets, medical devices and power tools. You need to be aware of some specific regulations about the cross-border shipping of batteries 

Broadly speaking, lithium batteries fall into two main categories:

Lithium metal batteries and cells are typically single use and contain metallic lithium. They are not rechargeable, but they do have a longer life than standard alkaline batteries/cells, making them ideal power sources for devices that are out of reach, such as smoke detectors and computer motherboards. 

Lithium ion batteries and cells contain lithium which is only present in an ionic form in the electrolyte. They can be formed into many shapes which makes them ideal for a range of electricals. They have a shorter shelf life than lithium metal batteries, but they are rechargeable so are present in many portable consumer electronics such as laptops and smartphones. 

Though widely used, lithium batteries are classified as Dangerous Goods by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) as they're highly flammable, they react sensitively to environmental factors, and can cause fires if wrongly packed.    

Any person, company or entity identified as the Shipper on a DHL Express shipment waybill is legally responsible to ensure 100% compliance with the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations. 

So, when it comes to shipping lithium batteries or sending other type of batteries by post to cross-border customers, there are some key things you should know to make certain that the items arrive safely and legally. 

The regulations relating to your shipment will vary depending on factors such as the type of battery, how they're packed (loose or within a device), and the destination country's specific customs regulations. 

DHL'S SHIPPING LITHIUM BATTERIES GUIDE is an in-depth manual to follow so that your products get to their destination safely and in line with all rules and regulations.

But, for a quick checklist, read our simple infographic guide as a reminder of:

  • Packaging: how you should package combustible goods

  • Shipping: how to label the goods correctly so that the carrier knows what's inside

  • Regulations: key rules to adhere to

  • Documentation: what you need to include with your shipment

  • Returns: how to arrange them whilst complying with all the above

If your e-commerce business specializes in electronics, you need to ensure customers find you by listing your products on the right marketplaces. Check out our guide to the marketplaces you should be selling on, from Etsy to eBay and improve your sales with our expert Product Listing SEO tips.

Trust the world's most international company to get your shipments to their destination safely, on time, and without damage. 

 
Anna Thompson
Anna Thompson Discover content team

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