Together with several industry bodies the global carrier, Cargo Incident Notification and System Networks (CINS) have compiled and published The Lithium-ion Batteries in Containers Guidelines in an effort to prevent the increasing risks that the transport of lithium-ion batteries by sea creates, providing suggestions for identifying such risks.

In recent years, serious, and sometimes catastrophic incidents involving lithium-ion batteries have become commonplace, with fires reported in all modes of transport—as well as in warehouses and where such consignments are at rest.

Peregrine Storrs-Fox, Risk Management Director at freight transport insurer TT Club, commented, “As the pressure on all forms of economic activity for decarbonization increases, the use of these batteries will inevitably escalate at rates we have previously not experienced. As an adaptable unit, the container will remain a focal point for safe transport, including for EVs alongside other vehicle carriers. The intermodal nature of containers means more actors other than shipping lines, be they manufacturers, packers, forwarders, logistics operators, warehouses and cargo handlers must all be cognizant of the safety issues we are addressing and play their part in ensuring the risks are properly managed.”

Extensive measures have been taken to safely transport what is an exponentially increasing volume of lithium-ion batteries, in their various states or charge and when also contained in electronic devices. The examination includes:

  • Landside Storage
  • Stowage onboard ships
  • Incident Detection
  • Fire Suppression
  • Loss Prevention
  • Risk Mitigation

“We strongly urge all stakeholders in the production, supply, transport, handling, and sale of lithium-ion batteries whether as individual components or integrated into an electronic device, vehicle, or other product to recognize their responsibilities in maximizing safety when in transit,” commented Dirk Van de Velde, deputy chair of CINS.

The purpose of this document is to provide a source of information that is additional to that available to the maritime industry. More information can be found in the Lithium Batteries eBook 2023. This is intended to be the first of an ongoing series of publications, which will be updated as circumstances require and followed by three further documents – regulatory compliance checklists, risk assessment and emergency response, and training and educational awareness.

By Clarissa Chiclana

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