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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Interpretation Response #17-0019

Below is the interpretation response detail and a list of regulations sections applicable to this response.

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Nissan Group of North America

Individual Name: Mark Marson

Location State: TX Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

June 19, 2017

Mr. Mark Marson
Nissan Group of North America
983 Nissan Drive
Bin 1D
Smyrna, TN 37167

Reference No. 17-0019

Dear Mr. Marson:

This letter is in response to your February 9, 2017, email and subsequent phone conversations requesting clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) applicable to transporting lithium ion batteries. Specifically, you describe a packaging concept consisting of a lithium ion battery assembly encased in a steel outer casing, which is then banded to a steel pallet with dunnage welded and screwed to it to prevent shifting of the battery.

We have paraphrased and answered your questions as follows:

Q1. You ask if the packaging concept described above meets the requirements in § 173.185(b)(5) for lithium ion batteries exceeding 12 kilograms.

A1. The answer is yes. Section 173.185(b)(5) allows for various methods to ship large batteries with strong, impact resistant outer casings. Using a pallet is one possible method. In addition, the battery assembly must be secured to prevent inadvertent movement (i.e., the straps and dunnage), and the terminals may not support the weight of superimposed elements.

Q2. You ask if the packaging concept described above would meet the definition of a strong outer package.

A2. The answer is no. Strong outer packaging is defined as "the outermost enclosure that provides protection against the unintentional release of its contents." The pallet used in your packaging concept does not completely enclose the battery assembly. Therefore, it is not a strong outer packaging.

Q3. You ask if the packaging concept described above must meet United Nations performance packaging requirements, specifically testing requirements.

A3. The answer is no. Shipping under § 173.185(b)(5) excepts the shipment from the specification packaging requirements of § 173.185(b)(3)(ii) and (b)(3)(iii), provided all other requirements of § 173.185(b) are met.

I hope this information is helpful. Please contact us if we can be of further assistance.


T. Glenn Foster
Chief, Regulatory Review and Reinvention Branch
Standards and Rulemaking Division

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
173.185 Lithium cells and batteries