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Gadgets using lithium to be barred from overseas shipments
STars and Stripes ^ | May 11, 2012 | By ERIK SLAVIN AND STEVEN BEARDSLEY

Posted on 05/12/2012 4:04:02 PM PDT by Jet Jaguar

If you’re a servicemember overseas planning to order the latest smartphone or laptop from the United States, take a second look at your options.

Effective May 16, new U.S. Postal Service restrictions will ban air shipping of any electronics containing lithium batteries — such as iPads, smartphones and digital cameras — between the United States and overseas locations.

The ban affects hundreds of thousands of servicemembers, foreign service officers and their families who rely on military and diplomatic post office addresses to receive packages.

The rules do not affect travelers carrying electronics.

“Until January 2013, the Postal Service will not be able to accept packages containing lithium batteries and electronic devices containing lithium batteries addressed to international destinations,” the U.S. Postal Service stated in a recent service alert. “This includes mail destined to, or from, APO (Army Post Office), FPO (Fleet Post Office) and DPO (Diplomatic Post Office) locations.”

The ban follows safety rules set by the International Civil Aviation Organization and the Universal Postal Union, “both of which currently prohibit lithium batteries in mail shipments that are carried on international commercial air transportation,” the USPS alert said.

The new rule also extends to shipment by sea, according to a USPS spokeswoman, further limiting alternatives to air transport. FedEx, DHL and other private carriers do ship consumer electronics containing lithium batteries, according to their websites, and they have not made any announcements indicating a change.

The USPS said it anticipates that international aviation rules will change by January 2013 and that it “is working with expert organizations to determine if any new exceptions can be developed prior to January 2013.”

Military officials in the Pacific and Europe have discussed sending electronics containing lithium batteries from theater by ship or through the Air Mobility Command, but neither of those options was approved as of Friday.

“We can’t reach every place with those (AMC flights),” said William Kiser, theater postal officer for European Command. “Right now, we have no idea of volume, and we have no idea of frequency. And mail is the bottom priority.”

Unclear is whether the battery-powered electronics purchased and shipped from the U.S. before the deadline will make it to their overseas destination.

For example, an item postmarked prior to May 16 may not reach the California destination where packages are forwarded to overseas servicemembers in the Pacific until after May 16.

“Does that mean we will still be able to move that (package) forward? We don’t know that yet,” Navy Pacific region postal manager Mike Arnold said. “That has not been clearly defined … we are anticipating guidance almost on a daily basis in continuous updates.”

As the rules now stand, people living overseas with base access have a few options, all of which will either cost more or limit their selection:

• Shop through base exchange stores. Shop through base exchange stores. While this may offer the best pricing option and special orders can sometimes be made, selection is limited. The new ban also affects orders from the Army and Air Force Exchange Service website or catalog, said AAFES spokesman Chris Ward. The service is looking at alternative shipping options, Ward said in an email.

• Use a private delivery service and ship internationally. Fedex and DHL deliver internationally to Japan and Europe. Servicemembers in many countries can use a country-specific address available at the base. However, international shipping often costs several times more than USPS and may not be available or reliable in less-developed countries. When shipping to the United States, private parcel carriers may have special instructions on packing and labeling lithium batteries.

• Buy electronics within the local economy. Assuming the desired goods are available, this is also likely to cost more because of exchange rates, tariffs and other factors. For example, the newest 32-gigabyte iPad model costs $599 through the U.S. Apple Store, but the same device costs $620 through the Apple Germany website and $651 through an Apple Japan store.

The restrictions on lithium batteries came into effect after battery fires were blamed for at least two cargo plane disasters since 2006. A lithium battery burns with such intensity that if one catches fire, it can ignite all others in a shipment, according to a 2011 Federal Aviation Administration study.

Electronics retailers typically ship goods with minimally charged batteries to reduce the chance of accidents.


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Government
KEYWORDS:

1 posted on 05/12/2012 4:04:10 PM PDT by Jet Jaguar
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To: KitJ; T Minus Four; xzins; CMS; The Sailor; ab01; txradioguy; Jet Jaguar; Defender2; ...

Active Duty/Retiree Ping.


2 posted on 05/12/2012 4:05:33 PM PDT by Jet Jaguar
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To: Jet Jaguar

Might be better to UPS it to yourself.. Safer anyway!


3 posted on 05/12/2012 4:06:32 PM PDT by satan69 (garden)
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To: Jet Jaguar
“Until January 2013, the Postal Service will not be able to accept packages containing lithium batteries and electronic devices containing lithium batteries addressed to international destinations,” the U.S. Postal Service stated in a recent service alert. “This includes mail destined to, or from, APO (Army Post Office), FPO (Fleet Post Office) and DPO (Diplomatic Post Office) locations.”

Makes sense.

From what I hear, they don't really need the business anyway.

4 posted on 05/12/2012 4:12:23 PM PDT by RetroSexual
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To: Jet Jaguar

Let me see if I get this right. The Post Office is already losing money so they have decided to ban shipping of certain items. Therefore, they are going to lose more money because they are forcing customers to ship somewhere else. Makes sense to me. Shrug.


5 posted on 05/12/2012 4:13:06 PM PDT by teacherwoes ("It is vain to expect a well-balanced government without a well-balanced society" -Gideon Welles)
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To: RetroSexual

USPS should just close up.


6 posted on 05/12/2012 4:15:00 PM PDT by Venturer
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To: teacherwoes
Let me see if I get this right. The Post Office is already losing money so they have decided to ban shipping of certain items. Therefore, they are going to lose more money because they are forcing customers to ship somewhere else.

Sounds like an 0bama directive.

If it makes sense and is good for the country then stop it!

7 posted on 05/12/2012 4:18:45 PM PDT by EGPWS (Trust in God, question everyone else)
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To: teacherwoes

Sounds to me like somebody in the lithium battery business has found the right palms to grease in DC.


8 posted on 05/12/2012 4:19:49 PM PDT by The Duke
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To: Venturer

They could go to every other day delivery and close a lot of old facilities, but then govt. employees would lose jobs.

I think it would be fun to swamp them with postage due mail, things they have to stop and try to collect a nickel on. It’s the civil disobedience side of me, take an agency down.


9 posted on 05/12/2012 4:29:37 PM PDT by wrencher
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To: The Duke

Sounds to me like somebody in the lithium battery business has found the right palms to grease in DC.

HUH?


10 posted on 05/12/2012 4:34:35 PM PDT by philetus (Keep doing what you always do and you'll eventually get what you deserve)
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To: Jet Jaguar

Lithium watch batteries ?
Many small lights and interments use lithium button cells.
This will be fun/NOT!


11 posted on 05/12/2012 5:00:48 PM PDT by DUMBGRUNT (The best is the enemy of the good!)
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To: RetroSexual

why the ban? Some international UN thing. Are we nuts?

Yes.

Right.


12 posted on 05/12/2012 5:04:48 PM PDT by Chickensoup (STOP The Great O-pression.)
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To: Jet Jaguar

As a watchmaker, I’m laughing myself silly. Does anyone but those of my trade, know what a HUGE proportion of WRIST WATCHES, worn by one and all, are powered by LITHIUM BATTERIES?
Additionally, the proper thickness and diameter batteries for all these watches are ONLY found as LITHIUM.
Of course, on a sunny day, the traditional SUN DIAL can still be used.


13 posted on 05/12/2012 5:12:12 PM PDT by CaptainAmiigaf ( NY Times: We print the news as it fits our views.)
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To: teacherwoes

In the good old days (1960s), the USPS used to say “we can’t make money because we have to carry all those packages”. After UPS and FedEx came into being, the story changed.


14 posted on 05/12/2012 5:19:08 PM PDT by QBFimi (When gunpowder speaks, beasts listen.)
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To: The Duke

Aren’t most DC palms greased easily?

One wonders if this is what the Founding Fathers had in mind when they created this nation.


15 posted on 05/12/2012 5:36:09 PM PDT by 353FMG
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To: satan69
"The ban follows safety rules set by the International Civil Aviation Organization and the Universal Postal Union, “both of which currently prohibit lithium batteries in mail shipments that are carried on international commercial air transportation,” the USPS alert said"

This has to do with international commercial air transport governed under various treaties, and the two organizations cited above act as a consequence of treaties already in place.

USPS didn't think this one up on their own!

16 posted on 05/12/2012 5:38:24 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: 353FMG

This is pursuant to an existing international treaty ~ not USPS, not even anyone currently in DC.


17 posted on 05/12/2012 5:39:42 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: QBFimi
No the story didn't change.

UPS and FedEx aren't carrying these items either.

18 posted on 05/12/2012 5:40:29 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: Chickensoup

The international agreements governing this latest rule predate the UN by many years.


19 posted on 05/12/2012 5:43:17 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: wrencher

Years ago when one of my daughters was in high school she and her friends had a little post office scam going. It was for greeting cards.

They would mail it to themselves with the person they wanted to receive it as the return address.

No postage.

Voila,return to sender.

Greeting card received.


20 posted on 05/12/2012 5:47:07 PM PDT by Mears (Alcohol. Tobacco. Firearms. What's not to like?)
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To: Jet Jaguar; All

The lithium batteries you want to ship MUST ALSO meet the IATA standards as set forth in: http://www.iata.org/SiteCollectionDocuments/Documents/GuidanceDocumentontheTransportofLiBatt_2010.pdf ~ if you want to ship them by air. That usually involves pulling the batteries out of the device and wapping them separately from the device as instructed.


21 posted on 05/12/2012 5:57:59 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: Jet Jaguar

Guess this means you can’t ship a Dolt..


22 posted on 05/12/2012 7:00:23 PM PDT by razorback-bert (Some days it's not worth chewing through the straps.)
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To: DUMBGRUNT
"Many small lights and interments use lithium button cells."

Electronic burials of midgets????

23 posted on 05/12/2012 7:59:27 PM PDT by TXnMA ("Allah": Satan's current alias...)
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To: Jet Jaguar

What’s the deal with Lithium batteries? Article doesn’t say why they were banned in the first place. TSA also doesn’t allow loose lithium batteries in carry on.


24 posted on 05/13/2012 5:14:37 AM PDT by ops33 (Senior Master Sergeant, USAF (Retired))
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To: TXnMA

instrument
Noun
A device ...

interment
Noun
The burial of a corpse in a grave or tomb, typically with funeral rites.

Maybe I should turn off Auto-Correct and wear my glasses?

That’s like work!

I’m retired¿!


25 posted on 05/13/2012 5:28:26 AM PDT by DUMBGRUNT (The best is the enemy of the good!)
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To: muawiyah
UPS and FedEx aren't carrying these items either.

If you order a new iPhone, iPad or laptop from Apple, you can track the shipment from the factory in China to your front door via FedEx. I'm sure they're carrying tens of thousands of those batteries each day.

An aside: it's fascinating to watch the precision with which the package moves around the globe. I'd be challenged to get my body from home to a specific point in China in less than a day, but FedEx does it routinely with packages.

26 posted on 05/13/2012 5:32:43 AM PDT by RetroSexual
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To: RetroSexual
it's a trick they play with airplanes. i know, not everybody knows about them.......,

The batteries still have to packed according to IATA rules, and there are quantities limited for devices shipped in bulk.

27 posted on 05/13/2012 5:37:46 AM PDT by muawiyah
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To: muawiyah; RetroSexual
Yep, FedEx and UPS tracking is pretty amazing.

BTW, the article gives the secret for shipping Li-ion batteries:Do not charge them! Only those with a near-full charge have the power to explode and cause firesl Besides, when they are installed in a device, there is little likelihood of them getting against something and shorting (and causing a fire).

Shipping them fully-charged -- in bulk -- is invitation to disaster!

~~~~~~~

Apple rcently shipped to me (@ no charge) a replacement for the three-year old battery in my MacBook Pro. The instructions included, "Charge fully before using..."

28 posted on 05/13/2012 11:24:07 AM PDT by TXnMA ("Allah": Satan's current alias...)
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To: TXnMA
There you go ~ although there have been discussions about batteries going on for decades (the earliest ones being little more than poorly sealed acid baths). Having to work on questions of hazmat gave me plenty of time to consider those discussions.

The law is pretty clear ~ you cause it you own it. So if you ship a fully charged battery of any kind without totally following the hazmat rules and it does something that injures an employee in the supply chain ~ whether that's UPS, FedEx, USPS or somebody else you can be liable for just all sorts of things.

The lithium batteries are just one more in a series of troublesome devices.

I'm not sure I'd trust a fully charged lithium battery coming in the mail at my house if it originated in China. No way to know who packed it for one thing.

I don't bring their fireworks indoors either!

29 posted on 05/13/2012 12:26:20 PM PDT by muawiyah
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