Royal Mail ban on lithium batteries?!


JohnX

Link Posted 08/02/2013 - 14:26
Found this on the RM site. Strictly speaking it seems we can never again buy (or sell) any device containing a Lithium battery for delivery via Royal Mail.


Batteries


Batteries that are classed as dangerous goods by the latest edition of the International Civil Aviation Organizationís (ICAO) Technical Instructions are prohibited. This includes lithium ion/polymer/metal/alloy batteries sent in isolation, with or contained in electronic equipment such as mobile phones or digital cameras.

Lead acid batteries (e.g. car batteries) and sealed lead acid batteries are also prohibited.

Alkaline, nickel metal hydride (NiMH) and nickel cadmium (NiCd) batteries may only be sent when new and in their original packaging. Please see www.royalmail.com/restrictedgoods


Seems that RM have been over zealous, since I understand the TI refers to batteries containing over 1gm of lithium.

I for one will be flagging this to my MP, not least because breaking these rules will be a criminal offence punishable by unlimited fines and prison sentences of up to 2 years and I want to know what idiot in HMG let RM to it.
Last Edited by JohnX on 08/02/2013 - 14:31

johnriley

Link Posted 08/02/2013 - 14:36
Well I've read through it and I don't see anything that says what you are interpreting it to say.
Best regards, John

steven9761

Link Posted 08/02/2013 - 15:00
@ JohnX - These regulations came into force on Jan 1st this year. So long as branded batteries have their electrical contacts insulated (sticky tape should do the trick), they are safe to be placed in the hold of an aircraft, provided that the battery casing is intact/free from defects such as cracking, etc.

Otherwise, if the batteries are unbranded (Acme Battery Co, etc) - basically of "questionable" quality, then they are not permitted into the aircraft hold, and should be carried upon the person as cabin baggage. Again - I'd strongly recommend taping over the contacts.

The reason for these regulations is that it has been proven that lithium batteries can spontaneously combust when exposed to air. You may recall a few years ago that Sony had a huge problem with laptops because of this very thing, and when a plane is travelling at 35,000 feet - there's only one place it's gonna go in the event of a major incident, and gravity plays a very big part in that decision.
Last Edited by steven9761 on 08/02/2013 - 15:00

JAK

Link Posted 08/02/2013 - 15:02
Did you click through to prohibited goods?

http://www.royalmail.com/personal/help-and-support/Tell-me-about-Prohibited-Good...

John
John K

JohnX

Link Posted 08/02/2013 - 15:42
johnriley wrote:
Well I've read through it and I don't see anything that says what you are interpreting it to say.

Not my interpretation John, from the RM web-site, "Batteries that are classed as dangerous goods by the latest edition of the International Civil Aviation Organizationís (ICAO) Technical Instructions are prohibited. This includes lithium ion/polymer/metal/alloy batteries sent in isolation, with or contained in electronic equipment such as mobile phones or digital cameras."

JohnX

Link Posted 08/02/2013 - 15:43
JAK wrote:
Did you click through to prohibited goods?

http://www.royalmail.com/personal/help-and-support/Tell-me-about-Prohibited-Good...

John

Yes thanks, it's what I quoted in my original post.

JohnX

Link Posted 08/02/2013 - 15:46
steven9761 wrote:
@ JohnX - These regulations came into force on Jan 1st this year. So long as branded batteries have their electrical contacts insulated (sticky tape should do the trick), they are safe to be placed in the hold of an aircraft, provided that the battery casing is intact/free from defects such as cracking, etc.

Otherwise, if the batteries are unbranded (Acme Battery Co, etc) - basically of "questionable" quality, then they are not permitted into the aircraft hold, and should be carried upon the person as cabin baggage. Again - I'd strongly recommend taping over the contacts.

The reason for these regulations is that it has been proven that lithium batteries can spontaneously combust when exposed to air. You may recall a few years ago that Sony had a huge problem with laptops because of this very thing, and when a plane is travelling at 35,000 feet - there's only one place it's gonna go in the event of a major incident, and gravity plays a very big part in that decision.

Agreed, but the RM have been allowed to be over zealous in their interpretation.
Last Edited by JohnX on 08/02/2013 - 15:48

steven9761

Link Posted 08/02/2013 - 15:53
@ JohnX - I've been working in the international express industry for the past 25 years or so, and I'm also IATA/ICAO certificated, so I do know the regulations. RM has a tendency to apply "overkill" as they don't really have designated staff to deal with such articles.

Carriage of Dangerous Goods By Air is heavily regulated, and can only be transported once packed in accordance with these regulations, in UN-specified containers, with a dangerous goods note issued to cover these goods. They must never, ever be consolidated onto one Master Airway Bill (MAWB), thus they travel at FULL IATA FREIGHT rates, which is "prohibitively" expensive. I would expect a typical freight quote for Dangerous Goods to be around the £150 (minimum) mark.

Certain items simply cannot ever be uplifted by either commercial, or cargo aircraft. Nothing that relates to photographic equipment falls into this category, thankfully.

JohnX

Link Posted 08/02/2013 - 16:58
steven9761 wrote:
@ JohnX - I've been working in the international express industry for the past 25 years or so, and I'm also IATA/ICAO certificated, so I do know the regulations. RM has a tendency to apply "overkill" as they don't really have designated staff to deal with such articles.

Carriage of Dangerous Goods By Air is heavily regulated, and can only be transported once packed in accordance with these regulations, in UN-specified containers, with a dangerous goods note issued to cover these goods. They must never, ever be consolidated onto one Master Airway Bill (MAWB), thus they travel at FULL IATA FREIGHT rates, which is "prohibitively" expensive. I would expect a typical freight quote for Dangerous Goods to be around the £150 (minimum) mark.

Certain items simply cannot ever be uplifted by either commercial, or cargo aircraft. Nothing that relates to photographic equipment falls into this category, thankfully.

I had no intention suggesting you were wrong Steve - it's RM that have gone OTT, but the impact, potentially, is on 'us'. I have bought 3rd party batteries for my various cameras from the likes of 7dayshop and via eBay - can't now.
Last Edited by JohnX on 08/02/2013 - 16:58

judderman62

Link Posted 08/02/2013 - 17:07
JohnX wrote:
steven9761 wrote:
@ JohnX - I've been working in the international express industry for the past 25 years or so, and I'm also IATA/ICAO certificated, so I do know the regulations. RM has a tendency to apply "overkill" as they don't really have designated staff to deal with such articles.

Carriage of Dangerous Goods By Air is heavily regulated, and can only be transported once packed in accordance with these regulations, in UN-specified containers, with a dangerous goods note issued to cover these goods. They must never, ever be consolidated onto one Master Airway Bill (MAWB), thus they travel at FULL IATA FREIGHT rates, which is "prohibitively" expensive. I would expect a typical freight quote for Dangerous Goods to be around the £150 (minimum) mark.

Certain items simply cannot ever be uplifted by either commercial, or cargo aircraft. Nothing that relates to photographic equipment falls into this category, thankfully.

I had no intention suggesting you were wrong Steve - it's RM that have gone OTT, but the impact, potentially, is on 'us'. I have bought 3rd party batteries for my various cameras from the likes of 7dayshop and via eBay - can't now.

Does that not depend on whetehr such rules are actually applied in the real world ?
- -
Mike

Pentax K5 / Pentax K5 11/ Pentax K200D / Canon Rebel T1 i / Canon 650D / Pentax MX-1 / Fuji XF1 /Fuji X 10 / Canon EOS-M / Canon G10/ Pentax Mz-7 x 2

steven9761

Link Posted 08/02/2013 - 17:13
JohnX wrote:
steven9761 wrote:
@ JohnX - I've been working in the international express industry for the past 25 years or so, and I'm also IATA/ICAO certificated, so I do know the regulations. RM has a tendency to apply "overkill" as they don't really have designated staff to deal with such articles.

Carriage of Dangerous Goods By Air is heavily regulated, and can only be transported once packed in accordance with these regulations, in UN-specified containers, with a dangerous goods note issued to cover these goods. They must never, ever be consolidated onto one Master Airway Bill (MAWB), thus they travel at FULL IATA FREIGHT rates, which is "prohibitively" expensive. I would expect a typical freight quote for Dangerous Goods to be around the £150 (minimum) mark.

Certain items simply cannot ever be uplifted by either commercial, or cargo aircraft. Nothing that relates to photographic equipment falls into this category, thankfully.

I had no intention suggesting you were wrong Steve - it's RM that have gone OTT, but the impact, potentially, is on 'us'. I have bought 3rd party batteries for my various cameras from the likes of 7dayshop - can't now.

I didn't interpret it as a suggestion that I was wrong, John Basically, to the layman, it is difficult to understand why regulations such as these are in place. If I can help to explain the reasoning behind it, then I will do so in the hope that it may offer a bit of enlightenment as to the "why's and wherefor's".

I'd have thought that RM would permit batteries to be carried (at least by UK surface mail) since the goods are being supplied from a verifiable retailer. It's the "Acme" batteries that present the problem. Basically (as I interpret these regulations), batteries fall into any one of three categories:

"White list" - DURACELL, EVER READY, and any other "dedicated" battery manufacturer.

"Grey list" - Panasonic, Sony, Kodak, Samsung, etc. These are likely to have been 3rd-party manufactured by a reputable supplier, where there are stringent quality controls in place.

"Black list" - basically any battery (usually made in a "sweat-shop" in the Far East) where there is no accountability/traceability, and generally are packaged with "made-up" names, but visually similar to the genuine article - Sonething along the lines of "PONY" (sounds like Sony).

The "rule of thumb" being that the white listed batteries can be safely loaded into the cargo hold, with minimum checks. Grey listed ones, subject to stringent checks (and possible repackaging to IATA/ICAO standards) can be placed in the hold only after satisfying these stringent requirements. The black list - 'nuff said!!
Last Edited by steven9761 on 08/02/2013 - 17:17

johnriley

Link Posted 08/02/2013 - 17:14
I still don't see why correctly packaged batteries, as per the specification given, cannot be sent by post. It just tells us how to send them and how many can be sent.
Best regards, John

steven9761

Link Posted 08/02/2013 - 17:27
johnriley wrote:
I still don't see why correctly packaged batteries, as per the specification given, cannot be sent by post. It just tells us how to send them and how many can be sent.

John - provided an accurate description is provided, I don't honestly see a problem. The problems only arise when the description is either "vague", or no description is given.

On a daily basis, I see shipments described as "spare parts", which is vague, since these particular parts may have a dual purpose, for example, in the manufacture of nuclear weapons. A more reasonable (and more accurate) description of these machine parts would be along the lines of "Pentax camera spare parts". Similarly, if the batteries are declared as "Pentax LI-ion battery LI-019 battery for Pentax Kr camera" then it gives somebody the opportunity of making a more informed decision as to its safety, or otherwise, with a second opinion sought from someone in a position of authority on such matters.

wasleys

Link Posted 08/02/2013 - 17:58
7 Day Shop stopped selling batteries last month because of the new rules and are currently seeking to make alternative arrangements that will be satisfactory.

It seems that the RM regulations changed for contract customers on 14 January and will change for others on 15 July.

RM seem to say different things in different parts of their website. If you go here and here it suggests lithium ion and polymer batteries may not be sent on their own but are OK within UK (but not internationally) in a device.

Referring to surface mail within UK ignores the fact that quite a lot of the longer distance mail goes by air.

Gwyn

Link Posted 08/02/2013 - 18:11
Lithium batteries are not allowed in the hold of any passenger aircraft, either in a passenger's luggage or as freight. Even small ones such as mobile phone or camera batteries are forbidden. They must be in your hand baggage and have the terminal covered so they cannot short. A plastic bag is sufficient.
Since post often goes on passenger aircraft it is reasonable that it they are no longer allowed in the post. Even within the UK post is transported by air.

This time my camera from SRS was sent by DHL, last time by post, but with the bx clearly marked that it contained lithium batteries.
Last Edited by Gwyn on 08/02/2013 - 18:11
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