As our partners at Labelmaster so deftly put it “the global supply chain may remember 2021 as the year of the capacity crunch.” However, the Dangerous Goods regulatory world, while naturally affected by everything happening in the global supply chain, had a relatively placid year in 2021 with relatively few changes.
But, that doesn’t mean the shippers don’t need to keep dangerous goods and hazmat compliance in mind when shipping – especially as retailers roll out an increased omnichannel logistics strategy.
With more people handling and shipping goods than in traditional warehouses or distribution centers, understanding and managing dangerous goods has become a bit more difficult to control and train staff about.
One of the more commonly shipped dangerous goods item is Lithium Batteries, which are omnipresent and more likely to be shipped from retail locations and other non-traditional shipping points than some other dangerous goods.
Here’s a look at some of the more significant regulatory changes of 2021 that impacted Lithium batteries, and their impacts on the hazmat supply chain in 2022 and beyond.
Department of Energy’s Blueprint for Lithium batteries
In June, the Federal Consortium for Advanced Batteries, led by the Departments of Energy, Defense, Commerce, and State, released its National Blueprint for Lithium Batteries 2021- 2030, which outlines a strategy to guide federal investments in the development of domestic lithium battery manufacturing and recycling supply chains.
2022 implications: 2021 saw significant investment into the growth of the lithium battery recycling industry that also supports the consortium’s Blueprint. It’s refreshing to see the federal government and industry working together on a commodity that’s become critical to so many aspects of our modern lives—that just happens to be classified as Dangerous Goods.
IATA removes Section II provision for some lithium battery shipments
Back in August 2021, IATA released its preview of significant changes for the 63rd edition of its Dangerous Goods Regulations, which took effect at the beginning of this year. The big by air.
2022 implications: After the transition period expired on March 31, 2022, all packages containing any number of standalone small lithium batteries will be Fully Regulated shipments under Section IB. They will require additional marks and labels, stronger news was the removal of the Section II provision from Packing Instructions 965 and 968 covering smaller shipments of standalone lithium batteries. Of course, there are dozens of other changes that you should be aware of if your organization ships hazmat packaging and training in Fully Regulated lithium battery transport for all employees involved in handling these packages.
PHMSA releases Lithium Battery Handling Guide
Last October, PHMSA released a Lithium Battery Handling Guide that offered the agency’s take on how to comply with the many regulations surrounding this seemingly ubiquitous commodity, organizing them into scenario-based shipping guides based on battery type, size, and chemistry.
2022 implications: Any organization that manufactures, ships, carries, or sells lithium batteries—or the devices they power—knows how important it is to stay current on the regulations governing their transport. This guide should be an essential resource for those organizations moving forward. If you haven’t already, download it here.
USPS effectively bans e-cigarette mailings
Later in October, the U.S. Postal Service published a new final rule setting strict limits on the mailing of electronic nicotine delivery systems that effectively disallowed commercial mailing.
2022 implications: As lithium battery devices, e-cigarettes are Dangerous Goods, and this ruling may force manufacturers to explore other transport options with which they may not be as familiar.
With so many regulation changes to keep in mind –and just for lithium batteries—initial and ongoing training is essential to keep staff members, especially those who aren’t traditionally logistics and shipping specialists, up to date, but it isn’t easy.
Watch this on-demand webinar to get “The Lowdown on Lithium: Training is Indispensable to Understanding and Managing Regulations When Shipping Batteries,” and learn about how regulations impact you and how to get your staff the proper training to stay compliant.