Wednesday May 2016

In 2013 the Post Office introduced a number of additional controls as to what could and couldn’t be sent legally in the postal system when the recipient was overseas. Despite a reasonable amount of publicity, many organisations either missed the introduction of the new rules, chose to ignore them, or didn’t understand that their consignments came under the rules. Audits of some of our customer indicate it is worth reminding everyone what can and can’t be sent.

Some items have never been allowed through the post and are fairly obvious eg. weapons and ammunition, controlled drugs and a large variety of dangerous goods. Some other items are less well known but make sense with a little bit of thought, such as alcoholic beverages with ABV over 25% because of the flammable risk and cosmetics such as nail polish / varnish and perfume /aftershave which carry a similar flammable risk.

Where most issues seem to be arising however is in the consignment of batteries through the postal service. In particular there is an issue with lithium batteries including lithium ion batteries, lithium polymer, lithium metal and lithium alloy batteries. The risk is that the batteries can catch fire if crushed or can short circuit. The rule covers consignment of the batteries loose or with equipment but not connected to the equipment. It is still legal to send the batteries as part of (ie connected to) equipment. However even the rules for sending equipment containing lithium batteries when they are connected are not straightforward.

There are strict requirements on the number of connected batteries, the wattage per cell, wattage per battery and the type of packaging that should be used.

A number of our customers have already fallen foul of these requirements. If you think they may apply to you, give us a call or go on the Post Office website: www.royalmail.com/prohibited goods