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HomeHazardous GoodsGuidelines for shipment of Lithium-Ion Batteries by sea published

Guidelines for shipment of Lithium-Ion Batteries by sea published

In the maritime industry, there is a growing consensus on the importance of prioritizing health, safety, security, and environmental concerns. To minimize the environmental impact and reduce dependence on fossil fuels, there is an urgent need to develop new energy sources and energy storage methods.

Lithium Ion Batteries are vital in this context, but if not handled, packaged, classified, and declared properly, the shipment of these batteries can pose a significant risk to people, property, and the environment. Safety concerns have become a major impediment to the widespread use of Lithium Ion Batteries.

Those involved in handling, offering, and providing storage or transport of Lithium Ion Batteries should review the safe carriage of these batteries in collaboration with their customers, suppliers, manufacturers, and producers.

Industry bodies CINS Network, ICHCA Internationa, IG P&I Clubs, and TT Club have united to produce “Guidelines for safe transport of Lithium-ion batteries in containers“.

This first in a series of in-depth advisory publications is aimed at minimizing the risks of transporting lithium-ion batteries and cells launched amid heightened concern over container fires that have

The Lithium-ion Batteries in Containers Guidelines seek to prevent the increasing risks that the transport of lithium-ion batteries by sea creates, providing suggestions for identifying such risks and thereby helping to ensure a safer supply chain in the future.

Extensive measures to safely transport what is an exponentially increasing volume of lithium-ion batteries, in their various states or charge and when also contained in electronic devices are fully examined including, classification and regulation, container packing, landside storage, stowage onboard ships, incident detection and fire suppression, and loss prevention and risk mitigation.

Commenting on the publication, Dirk Van de Velde, Deputy Chair of CINS and a board member of the association of cargo handlers, ICHCA said “We strongly urge all stakeholders in the production, supply, transport, handling, and sale of lithium-ion batteries whether as individual components or integrated into an electronic device, vehicle or other product to recognise their responsibilities in maximising safety when in transit.

Our Guidelines will create greater awareness of the possibilities of the damaging and life-threatening incidents, which have already occurred, and instil more urgent motivation to act before more catastrophic disasters result.

This Lithium-ion Batteries in Containers Guidelines (101.A) is expected to be followed by three further documents – regulatory compliance check-lists, risk assessment and emergency response, and training and educational awareness.

As our experience of transporting lithium-ion batteries widens and the technology surrounding their chemical composition, production, and application rapidly evolves, risk controls and loss prevention measures need to keep pace.

The work encapsulated in these Guidelines will, of necessity, continue and be undertaken in collaboration with all relevant stakeholders to increase our knowledge and understanding of the risks posed by carriage of lithium – ion batteries in containers by sea. 

This publication follows on from a very successful one day Conference held on 15th March by the IG P&I Clubs, CINS, TT Club to bring all parties together to discuss such risks and to share knowledge and experience of carriage across the logistics supply chain” underlines Mark Smith, Loss Prevention Executive NorthStandard, International Group of P&I Clubs’ representative on the CINS LiB WG.

The document can be downloaded in full HERE.

Peregrine Storrs-Fox, Risk Management Director at freight transport insurer TT Club concludes, “As the pressure on all forms of economic activity for decarbonisation increases, the use of these batteries will inevitably escalate at rates we have previously not experienced.  Air transport has been heavily restricted already and it is clear that surface modes will be called upon to transport these goods. 

As an adaptable unit, the container will remain a focal point for safe transport, including for EVs alongside other vehicle carriers.  The intermodal nature of containers means more actors other than shipping lines, be they manufacturers, packers, forwarders, logistics operators, warehouses and cargo handlers must all be cognisant of the safety issues we are addressing and play their part in ensuring the risks are properly managed.


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