USPS Puts Lithium Battery Limits on Hold

The U.S. Postal Service has withdrawn a rule that would have set new limits on outbound mailing of lithium batteries to international, or APO, FPO or DPO locations to await action by the ICAO Dangerous Goods Panel.

The new limits that would have taken effect Oct. 3 for U.S. mail containing equipment with lithium metal or lithium-ion batteries that is bound for international, APO, FPO, or DPO locations are now on hold. The U.S. Postal Service had set the limits with an Aug. 25, 2011, final rule so they would be consistent with recent amendments to the Universal Postal Union (UPU) Convention and regulations, but those amendments are themselves on hold, for now.

USPS said it withdrew its revisions "because of a notice to the UPU from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) on August 19, 2011, requesting that the UPU delay implementation of the aforementioned amendment until the UPU revisions could be reviewed by the ICAO Dangerous Goods Panel, and if approved, incorporated into The Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air manual."

The Postal Service also withdrew the revision to 39 CFR 20.1 that had added a new section 135.6 to the Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, International Mail Manual, to describe the new maximum limits for the outbound mailing of lithium batteries, according to the Federal Register notice.

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