Tracking devices forgotten part of the shipment

By: Mike Atkinson

Publication: Hazmat Transportation Regulatory Alert

Date Posted: 02/05/2021

Cargo tracking devices can be considered as hazardous materials

Since the pandemic hit about a year ago people have been shopping online more than usual. In fact, online shopping for Black Friday increased by an astonishing 22% over the previous year.

With the influx of online shopping comes an increase in tracking devices in the transportation system. Tracking devices not only keep us informed of the package location; they can also give us other statistics such as the temperature of the shipment.

Unfortunately, most people forget that a lot of cargo tracking devices can be considered as hazardous materials because they contain lithium batteries. Tracking devices offered as part of the shipment are subject to the requirements of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR).

Fortunately, lithium batteries inside the majority of tracking devices are fairly small and may be completely excepted from the HMR or may meet the requirements as a smaller lithium cell or battery and need only the lithium battery mark.

For shippers and carriers, it’s important to recognize what type of tracking device you have and the type and size of the battery inside. Once you have that information, you can determine if your tracking device is regulated by the HMR or not.

If your shipment is being transported by air, there is an additional factor you need to be aware of; when tracking devices are in use, they must be in compliance with all applicable Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requirements, including those in 14 CFR § 91.21 that address the operation of portable electronic devices aboard aircraft.

About the author
Mike Atkinson - Hazmat Transportation Editor

Mike expertise is in operations, management, hazmat preparation, hazmat inspection, logistics, and material handling

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