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ICAO Dangerous Goods Panel Rejects DOT Proposal on Lithium Batteries; Delays Final Decision to January

On October 19, 2011, the ICAO Dangerous Goods Panel rejected the U.S. Department of Transportation’s proposal to change the quantity limits on excepted lithium ion and lithium metal cells and batteries in Section II of Packing Instructions 965 and 968 of the ICAO Technical Instructions. The DOT proposal was rejected by a vote of 10-6.

However, Panel members have agreed to meet in January in Montreal for a three-day lithium battery working group meeting to re-consider the issues addressed in DOT’s paper. Therefore, it is still possible the Panel could adopt new restrictions on air shipments of small lithium ion and lithium metal cells and batteries. If so, the new restrictions could go into effect internationally on January 1, 2013.

The rejected DOT proposal will not be the only issue on the January meeting agenda. It will also include shipping requirements for large format lithium ion batteries and the approvals required for such batteries, shipments of equipment containing lithium batteries in the international post and other lithium battery-related transport issues.

For more information, contact George Kerchner at gkerchner@wileyrein.com or 202.719.4109.