Australian postal service bans lithium battery air lifts

Australian Post claims the batteries are dangerous and will only deliver them by road - but only if they are lithium-ion and rated for 2 grams, 100-Watt-hours or under.
Written by ZDNET Editors, Contributor
Australia Post will no longer be accepting packages that contain lithium batteries by air.

The batteries have been classified as dangerous, leading the International Civil Aviation Organization to enact more stringent controls. This follows on the exploding laptop batteries debacle of 2006, prompting a recall, and further recalls in 2008 and 2009.

Lithium batteries may still be sent by road, but only if they are lithium-ion and rated for 2 grams, 100-Watt-hours or under.

Most devices should fall under this requirement, although in the official document (PDF) Australia Post mentions that "Equipment will not be safe to send if it contains more than two batteries/four cells" — six-cell batteries being common in laptops.

A customer is also required to attach a "Road Transport Only" sticker to the package, although Australia Post does not guarantee its arrival if remote locations can only be reached by air. Air carriers scan mail for dangerous goods, and any packages containing lithium batteries will be rejected.

This has potential run-on effects for those who import electronic products from overseas to bypass Australia's often higher priced goods. Australians will also not be able to send offending products overseas, and those who wish to send electronic gifts over long distances but still within the country will have to be sent early, to make up for the additional road transport time.

This article was originally posted on ZDNet Australia.

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