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While China’s exports have slowed, shipping batteries safely is key for new entrants to the market

By Cory Levins

With the ongoing changes in global trade dynamics, new players may be entering the market for exporting lithium battereis. Cory Levins at hazardous materials and dangerous goods shipping supplies specialist Air Sea Containers writes about some of the main concerns they should be aware of. 

The way countries trade goods has changed dramatically over the last few months as the COVID-19 virus spread across the globe. To prevent the spread of the fast-acting virus, entire industries have been forced to shut down, limiting person-to-person interactions and getting people out of places that may be ideal for catching the virus.

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The virus was first discovered in China, meaning that country felt the impact for some time before the virus crossed the sea to other territories. As a result, the ability to manufacture and ship goods from China has been diminished, especially one in particular—batteries.

Although it was initially reported that the virus began infecting humans in December in Wuhan, China, the COVID-19 novel coronavirus was first detected all the way back in November 2019. Although medical professionals were concerned, the effects of the virus were not yet fully understood, nor the extent of safety measures that may need to be implemented.

Once the number of infected individuals and associated deaths began to rise at an alarming rate, the country began to shut down, leaving many manufacturers unable to export their goods. China’s imports and exports were greatly impacted during January and February and restrictions on travel and manufacturing were quickly tightened to try and avoid the virus getting out to other parts of the world, leaving countries scrambling for supplies and products.

As China began to lift some of the lockdown mandates imposed back in December and January, we have seen an improvement in their trading of goods. In fact, the country was able to export US$15 billion worth of essential medical equipment to other countries during March and April. The increase in imports and exports is a good sign for the country and the rest of the world, but most other countries are still on lockdown and doing everything they can to flatten the curve, meaning the global economy will still struggle for the time being.

Although Chinese manufacturers have begun the process of returning things to normal, there is still a high demand for products typically produced by China. There may be opportunities emerging for suppliers in other territories to meet demand. China is a top producer and trader of lithium batteries, used to power many different devices. With the entire country being limited on travel and manufacturing, the quantity of batteries being traded from China diminished greatly which is why other manufacturers need to find ways to fill that void. Anyone who is planning on ramping up their lithium battery trading, needs to be prepared on how to properly handle this product using lithium battery storage containers.

Safe transportation: following hazardous material protocol

Many products we don’t usually consider to be hazardous are classified in this way when they are produced and shipped in bulk. Lithium batteries, for example, have the potential to cause fires, explosions or even gas leaks if the batteries are faulty or become damaged. Those in the shipping industry should be aware of hazardous materials and how to transport them safely, so for this reason, it’s essential to understand federal restrictions and procedures surrounding these items.

The most important way to safely transport any hazardous materials, like lithium batteries, is by implementing proper training and using the right kind of storage. Lithium battery storage containers will keep the batteries at the right temperature throughout the trip and help avoid contact with heat, sun, water or other hazards which could cause the batteries to explode or catch fire.

For any companies that currently produce lithium batteries, it’s time to consider ramping up production and preparing ways to send shipments amidst the many new regulations. As China just begins to get back on its feet, the other battery companies will need to step up to the plate in order to provide a much needed and wanted item that can power electronics and medical equipment.

If your company fits this model, be sure to use the right storage containers, or use custom cardboard boxes to fit those needs, and make a plan for how you can potentially increase your production as demand rises. Educate yourself and your employees on proper protocols for handling and transporting this product and keep yourself in the know by following national and global news related to transportation and manufacturing.

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