Transporting defective lithium batteries

Next to usually harmless everyday goods, dangerous goods are often used and transported in our industrial society as well. Global rules and regulations were established for this purpose, ensuring the safe transportation of these sensitive goods. The regulations are subject to ongoing review and further development as insights in science and technology are taken into account.

Information about dangerous goods law and regulations is found on the website of the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BVMI) (link) or, at the international level, the UNECE website (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe).

Link (only for Germany): Federal Ministry of Transport (BVMI)

Link: UNECE (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe)

The Federal Institute for Material Research and Testing (Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung BAM) is the authority responsible for the testing, approval and quality assurance of all types of dangerous goods packaging in Germany. It supports the federal government with implementing and updating dangerous goods law and the corresponding standardisation at the national and international level.

Link: Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing

Lithium batteries as dangerous good

The special regulation 376 and the multilateral agreement M259 in combination with the packaging directions P908 and LP904 regulate the transportation of damaged lithium batteries that are not subject to dangerous reactions during transportation under normal conditions.

The contents of these regulations are adopted in the ADR 2015 (European Agreement Concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road). If the requirements of special regulation 376 be complied with, there is no need any more to inform the competent authority.

For transportation, this includes also packing, loading and shipping of lithium batteries (and lithium cells) it is obligatory to observe complex dangerous goods regulations. This is due to the potential fire and explosion hazards of lithium batteries.

In particular, the risks are even higher and the rules more strictly, if defective lithium batteries are involved because they can tend towards rapid decomposition, dangerous reactions, the formation of flames, dangerous heat development or the emission of dangerous toxic, corrosive or inflammable gases or vapours. These circumstances require corresponding know-how from companies that are involved in the transport of lithium batteries

Standards and legal regulations

National legislation: GGVSEB, GGVSee, GGVBInSchV, GbV International legislation: ADR, RID, IMDG, ADN, IATA As well as associated regulations such as the German Road Traffic Regulations (StVO), chemicals legislation, waste legislation.

Germany: BMVI Carriage of Dangerous Goods

Europe: OTIF RID (Regulation concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Rail)

International: UNECE Dangerous Goods Regulations

International: UNECE Dangerous Goods Regulations

International: IATA – International Air Transport Association, Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR)

International: UNECE ADR (European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road) 

International: UNECE ADN (European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Inland Waterways) International: IMO International Maritime Organization IMDG