As the market for lithium-ion powered batteries has grown in recent years, shippers and carriers have struggled to find and establish safe, compliant and cost-effective approaches to packaging and transporting these items.
The popularity of lithium batteries continues to rise — Market Study Report LLC projects market size to exceed $100 billion by 2025 — and more organizations will be forced to navigate the complex regulatory and safety landscape. These four strategies will help companies ensure compliance and avoid disruptions to operations.
Watch the rules. Regulations for shipping lithium batteries are complex and constantly changing and, in some cases, they are put into effect without a transition period. It’s important for companies to stay up-to-date on the latest regulations and understand how the changes impact their operations in order to quickly make necessary adjustments.
Process and infrastructure. The regulations for shipping hazmat can vary by country, transportation mode, item type and more, so ensuring compliance can be challenging — especially for organizations with multiple business units and locations. Establish enterprise-wide processes to make sure every shipment is compliant with the latest regulations — from proper labels and packaging to complete and accurate documentation.
Dangerous-good shipping software can help automate the process while validating each shipment against the latest regulations.
Industry partnerships. Shipping dangerous goods is a complicated and time-consuming process. Partnering with an industry expert can not only help you stay informed of the latest regulations, but also make sense of them to ensure compliance across your supply chain.
Innovative packaging. There are now stricter rules and harsher noncompliance penalties when it comes to lithium battery shipments. Companies who manufacture and distribute them should look for opportunities to utilize new and innovative shipping solutions to streamline the shipping process, improve regulatory compliance and reduce risk.
For example, look to utilize next-generation packaging engineered specifically for transporting lithium batteries. These modern packaging solutions provide a thermal barrier that mitigates the risk of fires by containing pressure, fire, gasses and projectiles, yet requires no use of gel packs, heavy liners or fillers. This makes the transport of lithium-related items safer, easier and more cost-effective.
Given that connected technologies, “smart” products and other innovative electronics are hot commodities, an increasing number of lithium batteries will enter the supply chain. And just as the use of lithium batteries and battery-powered devices continues to expand, so too will the rules for transporting them. Companies that manufacture and distribute these items must have adequate processes and infrastructure in place to ensure compliance with these complex, ever-changing regulations, and to maintain safe and smooth operations.
Bill Barger is senior packaging product manager at Labelmaster.
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