lithium battery regulations explained
Feb 23 2017 0

What do new lithium battery requirements mean for your shipments?

Topics Covered:

  • What do new lithium battery compliance requirements mean for YOUR shipments?
  • How will these new requirements impact costs of your operations?
  • What implications do highly visible battery warning labels have for potential package theft on customers’ doorsteps?
  • Next steps

 

What does this mean for your shipments?

For practically any type of product containing a lithium battery shipping via DHL, FedEx, UPS, USPS, and other carriers, the labeling requirements are much more specific. These carriers may also add surcharges to your shipments that contain batteries.

The exact labels and/or documentation required for each shipment will depend on several variables.  In addition, FedEx and UPS are now banning certain “loose” battery shipments. The type of battery, size of battery, how the battery is packed, and the method of shipment all determine the labeling requirement for a given shipment.

Rush Order is coordinating with each of our clients to review their inventory and the products that contain batteries. These shipments will require dedicated and trained personnel who have been certified to offload, store, pick & pack, and manifest shipments containing Dangerous Goods (i.e. Batteries).

We are proud to report that Rush Order completed the necessary training and obtained the certifications to handle your shipments that may contain batteries now classified as dangerous goods. Dozens of our warehouse team members were trained and certified by a reputable third party to handle these shipments. These team members will receive additional required training and refresher courses on an ongoing basis.

This certification is recognized by our most popular carriers, including but not limited to DHL, FedEx, UPS and USPS. For USPS international shipments, keep in mind that some countries may reject any package labeled as DG. Your Rush Order Project Manager can make this list of countries available to you.

To understand the specific requirements for your shipments, we’ll need to know how your batteries are packaged:

  • Batteries / Cells Shipped Alone
  • Batteries / Cells packed with equipment they are intended to power.
  • Batteries / Cells contained in (installed) in the equipment they are intended to power.

The number of cells and capacity of each cell also plays a role in determining the exact labeling needed on your shipments.

It is critical that a Material Data Safety Sheet (MSDS) is made available to Rush Order for each product that requires a battery. Your manufacturer should be able to provide you with the MSDS for each of your products.

With your MSDS and the above information in hand, Rush Order will leverage compliance software that will help us determine the exact labeling your ground and air shipments will require.

You can expect these requirements to be strictly enforced by Rush Order to remain compliant with the various carriers we ship with, as well as to avoid delays in preparation of your shipments.

In the coming days, we encourage you to consult with your Rush Order Project Manager and share the MSDS for any product in your inventory that contains batteries. We will quickly confirm if your shipments are already in compliance or may need additional labeling.

In addition, most DG shipments are now required to display a visible phone number on the outside of each package. This phone number must be answered 24 x 7 x 365 by certified personnel who have copies of your MSDS on hand. Your own mobile phone number or manufacturer’s phone number is more than likely insufficient.

The certified personnel must be trained on how to answer various questions that shipping carriers and other parties may have when they encounter a damaged or disfigured DG shipment. The consequences are very serious if this phone number is not answered in real time, or if accurate information cannot be provided.

To handle this phone number requirement, Rush Order has engaged in a partnership that immediately provides our clients with a certified DG call center. This center operates 24 x 7 x 365 to handle inbound phone calls from any person in need of information about your shipments while in transit. We will apply this phone number to your DG packages to keep you and Rush Order compliant.

 

Projected Costs

Anyone handling your packages needs to be trained and certified through a third party that is recognized by the various shipping carriers. This process can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars per person. Rush Order benefits from leveraging this expense across many clients to keep the costs manageable.

Labeling will need to be affixed to your packages as required. Generally, Rush Order charges $0.09 per label, which covers both material and labor. Color copies may also be required from time to time if your shipments require additional declarations. Again, a conversation with your Rush Order Project Manager can help confirm these exact requirements for your shipments.

The cost of providing the DG-certified phone number and certified call center agents can also cost thousands of dollars per year. Again, Rush Order leverages this identical need across many clients to achieve a reasonably low cost to each client.

Last but not least, if you have not done so already, we strongly recommend you discuss any potential DG surcharges with your preferred shipping carrier. Some shipments will be subject to additional DG handling surcharges by the shipping carriers.

 

What else should you be aware of?

Rush Order’s Contact Center team is working with our clients to make sure we have business rules and best practices in place for anticipated impacts on consumers / end users who are receiving packages adorned with DG labels.

First, customers may have questions about the meaning of these rather dire looking warning labels. We want to ensure that our customer care agents and your inhouse staff are prepared for consumers’ questions about these labels. Consumers should feel confident their safety is not at risk and you are simply doing your part to safely transport your items to their doorstep.

Another anticipated side effect of additional DG labeling is that any box left on a consumer’s doorstep will be highly visible as containing lithium batteries. Many of these labels are bright red and bright orange in color and can be spotted very easily from a long distance. This makes any package containing DG an easy target for thieves looking to grab expensive consumer electronics from doorsteps.

As a result, our customer support team is also preparing for what may be an increase in package theft. We encourage you to join this conversation with us and discuss how you would like your Rush Order support agents to handle these concerns.

 

Summary of Next steps:

  • Contact Rush Order to ensure you understand the scope and impact of these new regulations for your shipments.
  • Share the MSDS for each of your battery-containing products with your Rush Order Project Manager as early as possible in your logistics planning.
  • Budget accordingly for the costs involved for Rush Order (or your warehouse) and shipping carriers to manage your DG shipments.
  • Discuss and understand how highly visible DG labeling on your direct-to-consumer shipments may impact the customer experience, as well as your customer support resources.
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