What are lithium batteries/cells?

The term ‘lithium battery’ or ‘lithium cell’ refers to rechargeable or non-rechargeable batteries which are often used in consumer electronics. These batteries often are conceived for a certain appliance specifically. They are separated into:

  • Lithium ion batteries
    Rechargeable batteries commonly used in consumer electronics such as laptops, mobile phones, MP3 players, portable DVD players, GPS/navigation systems, cameras, camcorders, scuba-diving lamps, power tools, etc.
  • Lithium metal batteries
    Non-rechargeable batteries usually found in small electronic devices as there are watches, thermometers, calculators, remote car locks, back-up batteries in computers and communications equipment, etc.

Why are lithium batteries dangerous goods?

Lithium batteries (or cells), used as a source for current in electronic appliances, are classified as dangerous goods due to the fact that they can overheat and ignite under certain circumstances.

How to ship Lithium batteries?

Lithium batteries can be transported in 2 different ways:

  • As a class 9, dangerous goods shipment
    TNT will accept Lithium batteries in Dangerous Goods shipments for transport but only form specifically approved customers and if they are shipped in line with the regulatory restrictions in terms of destination/service/product. Please contact your local contact person on 357 395 220 for more details.
  • As an ‘Excepted’ Lithium battery shipment
    TNT will accept ‘Excepted’ Lithium batteries for transport but only if they are shipped in line with the applicable regulations.

Air The 54th / 2013 edition of the IATA DGR
Road (Europe) The 2013-2014 edition of the ADR: special provision 188
Sea (Ferry) The 2012 edition, incl. the Amendments 36-12 of the IMDG code: special provision 188


All shipment containing Lithium batteries are subject to dangerous goods regulations. All Lithium batteries are Class 9, Miscellaneous Dangerous Goods and products.

Lithium Ion Batteries are classified as follows:

UN number
Proper shipping name
Lithium ion batteries
Loose batteries of mobile phone, laptop or  power tools.
Lithium ion batteries packed with equipment
Batteries packed with the device, but not mounted in the device
e.g. mobile phone + unattached battery, power tool with loose battery.
Lithium ion batteries contained in equipment
Batteries mounted in the device, e.g. MP3 player, Mobile phone with integrated battery/laptop with integrated battery.
Lithium Metal Batteries are classified as follows: 
UN number
Proper shipping name
Lithium metal batteries
Loose batteries for watches or calculators
Lithium metal batteries packed with equipment
Batteries packed with the device, but not mounted in the device
e.g. watch with loose battery
Lithium metal batteries contained in equipment
Batteries mounted in the device, e.g. watch or calculator with integrated battery

Will I have to pay a surcharge?

Yes. A surcharge will be calculated for each shipping containing a lithium battery. TNT is bound to keep a close watch on the strict adherence to the new procedures and regulations. Lithium batteries are classed as ‘dangerous goods’. All non-compliant consignments will be blocked for transport. 

You have more questions? Please contact our Customer Services Desk on 357 395 220. This overview is only intended for information purposes. For the full legislation regarding shipping lithium batteries/cells, please check IATA Dangerous Goods / ADR / IMDG regulations.