While there are inherent challenges and risks associated with shipping any dangerous goods, this is especially true for lithium in recent years. In fact, lithium batteries pose such a fire danger that strict regulations — from commercial aircraft bans to state-of-charge rules — have been imposed around transporting them. And if a shipment fails to meet hazmat compliance regulations, or if a dangerous battery-related incident halts transportation in its tracks, the cost of lost time, compliance fines and possible negative press can be severe.
In this challenging shipping landscape, companies that manufacture and distribute lithium batteries should look for opportunities to use new and innovative shipping options that can streamline the shipping process, improve regulatory compliance and reduce risk.
One key strategy is to embrace 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.
In addition to protecting outgoing shipments, shippers must contend with a rise in return shipments generated by increased e-commerce. These shipments must comply with the same hazmat rules as those for shipping items to customers. And since it’s the shipper’s responsibility to adhere to hazmat transportation regulations, customers must be equipped to follow these rules whether they’re aware of them or not.
Next-generation boxes that arrive preassembled and pre-labeled with simple closure instructions help expedite returns management. In addition, they can directly impact customer satisfaction while mitigating risk and enhancing the ability to maintain regulatory compliance. Not only does this simplify the returns process to improve the customer experience; it can also provide additional benefits such as:
As the number of lithium batteries being shipped continues to rise, more organizations will be forced to navigate today’s complex DG shipping landscape. Companies that manufacture and distribute these items must have adequate processes and solutions in place to ensure compliance with complex, ever-changing regulations, and to maintain safe and smooth operations. By evolving their approach to boxes and shipping, companies can leverage next-generation packaging that promotes safety and efficiency for anyone handling lithium batteries.
Bill Barger is senior packaging product manager with Labelmaster.
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