Regulations on Shipping Prohibited Items

One of the biggest challenges that retailers face when they decide to sell and ship internationally is knowing which items in their inventory can and cannot be shipped to specific locations. While some countries have trade embargoes or other legal restrictions, in general, all countries are bound by safety regulations by IATA/ICAO.

Fulfillment of prohibited item

Who Decides the Rules & Regulations for Shipping Dangerous Goods?:  All regulations for international shipment are managed by IATA. IATA is the International Air Transport Association. It is a global trade organization that develops commercial standards and publishes the Dangerous Goods Regulations, containing standards for the transport of dangerous goods by air. IATA’s Dangerous Goods Regulations are based on the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). ICAO is the United Nations body with jurisdiction over international aviation issues

PHMSA is the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation, which develops regulations for transportation of dangerous goods by all modes within the U.S. All carriers have to follow these regulations or otherwise pay a huge penalty.

List of Prohibited Items for Shipment:  Prohibited items does not mean that these items cannot be shipped; it just means that these items requires special packaging, trained staff and must comply with rules and regulations. Most shipping companies avoid shipping these items as any failure could result in penalties.

Prohibited Domestic Items:

  • Air bags
  • Ammunition
  • Explosives
  • Gasoline

Prohibited International Items:

  • Aerosols
  • Air Bags
  • Alcoholic Beverages
  • Ammunition
  • Cigarettes
  • Dry Ice
  • Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
  • Gasoline
  • Nail Polish
  • Perfumes (containing alcohol)
  • Poison
 

Are Lithium Batteries Classified as Hazardous Material?

Lithium batteries are designed to provide high levels of power. The electrical energy in these batteries is significant, meaning that such batteries can sometimes generate a great amount of heat if short circuited. In addition, the chemical contents of these batteries may catch fire if damaged or if improperly designed or assembled. For these reasons, there are safety regulations controlling the shipment of these types of batteries. Shippers must conform to the applicable regulations published by PHMSA and/or IATA. While all lithium batteries are classified as hazardous materials (also referred to as dangerous goods), there are exceptions for common small sizes of these batteries that simplify the rules for shipping these items. This document describes the rules for shipping these small lithium batteries. Shipments are not fully regulated.

Lithium Battery fulfillment
Regulations differ depending upon what type of lithium battery you are shipping (lithium ion or lithium metal) and whether you are shipping batteries packed without equipment, batteries packed with equipment, or batteries contained in equipment.
  • Lithium Ion or Lithium Metal: There are two major kinds of lithium batteries, both of which contain very high levels of energy: lithium ion and lithium metal. Lithium ion (Li-ion) batteries are rechargeable, also called “secondary lithium batteries.” These ion batteries includes lithium polymer (Li-Po) batteries and are often found in common electronic devices such as cell phones and laptops. Lithium metal batteries are generally non-rechargeable and commonly called “primary lithium batteries.”
  • Measuring the Size of Your Lithium Battery: Lithium batteries are measured in “Wh.” “Wh” stands for “watt-hour.” It is a measure used to indicate the energy capacity of a lithium ion cell or battery. It is also important to learn the difference between a cell and battery. A cell is a single encased electrochemical unit. It has one positive and one negative electrode that exhibit a voltage differential across its two terminals. Many cells can be termed “battery” or “single-cell battery” in common conversation. Examples of a “cell” would be a CR123 primary lithium cell used for cameras and flashlights. A battery is two or more cells electrically connected together by permanent means, including case, terminals and markings. A button battery is a small round battery where the height is less than the diameter and also commonly referred to as “coin batteries.” Examples can be found in watches, calculators, electronic clocks, toys and other applications.

Does your lithium battery requires special handling?

Therefore, to conclude, whether you can ship lithium batteries depends on whether you are shipping lithium ion or lithium metal and whether you are shipping batteries packed without equipment, or batteries contained in equipment.

 

Everything you need to know about USB Write Protection

In spite of all the buzz regarding digital distribution, fulfilling your content on physical medium, like a USB flash drive, is still a very critical aspect of any business. You may have large data files or would just like to have your content branded. Whether you plan to fulfill software or a large library of video files, a USB key (a flash based storage device, also known as USB flash drive or thumb drive) is widely supported by most computer systems and smart devices. Unlike other storage devices such as magnetic tapes, compact discs or memory cards, USB flash drives do not have any built-in write-protection mechanism unless you choose to work with a provider who can work on the controller level and make the USB a read-only device. A write-protected USB will ensure that your content is secure and not accidentally erased.

  • Safeguard Against Malicious Activity: When a disk is write-protected, files can be read or copied from the disk, but nothing can be saved or copied onto it. This can help prevent you, or anyone else, from accidentally deleting or saving over important files. Most importantly, a write-protected USB is safer since it can not be infected by any viruses or other malicious activity.

    For example, let’s say you have a software package which is distributed on USB media. It is important that the company write-protects the flash drive because not only do you not want to spread any viruses, but you also do not want a third party messing with your software and saving the changes on your USB stick.

  • Better Customer Experience: A USB flash drive behaves like a removable storage. If you accidently delete files from a USB flash drive you are out of luck. The deleted files do not go in the recycle bin so you will not be able to recover the files once they have been deleted. You want to make sure your content doesn’t accidentally get deleted which can result in an unwanted, expensive support service call with a frustrated customer.
  • USB is Unlike Other Storage Devices: Whether you had IBM’s ½ inch magnetic tape, a floppy disk, a CD-ROM, or SD card, there has always been an option to write-protect your content. On the other hand, USB does not have this selection. IBM’s magnetic tape had a circular groove on one side of the reel, into which a soft plastic ring had to be placed in order to write on the tape. A floppy disk was write-protected when the plastic tab at the top was moved to reveal a “hole” in the disk. Sliding the tab up or down switched the floppy disk to enable or disable write-protection. Memory cards used in your camera have the option to write-protect. Standard CD or DVD-ROMs are “Read Only Memory,” which means the content is written once and used for reading only. CD and DVDs are still the most viable form of distributing your content as the content is secure and very economical to produce and distribute. However, the predominance of drive-less computers is forcing companies to choose USB flash drives as an alternative medium. For this reason, an easy write-protection option is a very desirable feature.
  • Requires Technical Expertise to Write-Protect: A USB Flash drive can be write-protected. It requires sending a command to the controller and turning off the SCSI write command. The IC chip on a USB stick is called the controller and it is a chip which controls the read and write process between the USB memory and the host computer it is connected to. The SCSI write command (Small Computer System Interface) is unique to each USB controller on the market, so there is no universal command. A good service bureau who has expertise in data pre-loading and duplication services can easily control the command in the controller and help produce write-protected USBs.

    In conclusion, even though USB flash drive does not have an easy way to write-protect your content, you must find a way to secure your content if you are choosing to fulfill your digital content on USB. This will safeguard your organization's interests and allow for a better customer experience.

Five ways to ship your package International

Shipping is complicated, but Acutrack has simplified the selection process for our customers. No more worrying about pricing or selecting from the multitude of methods. Choose the option that best fits your needs and we ship with the cheapest and fastest option.

  International First Class MDX USPS International First Class

Internation Priority MDX

USPS International Priority FedEx International 
Package weight limitation 1 oz. to 4.4 lb. 1 oz. to 4.0 lb. 1 oz. to 4.4 lb. 1 oz. to 70 lb. No Limit
Delivery Tracking There is no delivery tracking. Delivery tracking only available to the last destination in USA. No tracking once it leaves USA border. Delivery tracking is available door to door to certain countries Delivery tracking is available door to door Delivery tracking is available door to door
Package Insurance No No No up to $200 for certain countries only (only when requested). Increased insurance available for additional cost. Up to $100 insurance per package
Delivery time 6 to 14 days 7 to 15 days 5 to 10 days 5 to 10 days 3 to 5 days

Three ways to ship your package Domestic

  First Class MDX USPS First (Priority) Class UPS/FedEx Ground
Package weight limitation 1 oz. to 15 lb. 1 oz. to 70 lb. 1 lb. to 70 lb.
Special Package gets injected to various USPS destination (hubs) Package about 1 lb. or more automatically qualifies as Priority shipment Zone based shipment
Delivery Tracking Yes Yes Yes
Tube/Large Box Supports less than 26" in length No limit Dimensional weight applies
Package size Supports up to 50” in length and girth No limit No limit
Package Insurance No Up to $50 for priority mail order Up to $100 per package
Delivery time 2-5 days for shipment 2-7 days for first class and 2-4 days for priority 2-5 days. Shipment to California in 2 days and east coast in 5 days

 

Choosing the right shipping method for eCommerce Fulfillment

Fast and dependable fulfillment is critical to the success of your online business. Your top priority is getting your orders to your customers quickly and accurately, but at the same time choose a cost effective shipping method. This article gives you a detailed overview so you are prepared to select the right shipping methods for your fulfillment business.

  • Shipping Options: Choose from the widest range of shipping options to ensure you get the most reliable and cost-effective delivery methods for your orders. The choice of shipping companies and shipping methods depends on following criteria:

    You have essentially two choices - services offered by USPS or services offered by private carrier such as UPS/FedEx.

    In spite of all the bad press, USPS is one of the best and most reliable shipping option for delivering to consumer for home delivery. USPS service is by far the cheapest. There are many shipping choices available. First Class, Media , Priority and Express Mail. USPS also offers Flat rate package mail for one standard price to any part of USA. The best part of USPS is that it is the only choice to deliver package to PO Box and APO locations. Unlike other carrier, First class mail charge the same flat amount whether the package is shipped to next door neighbour or air shipped to Hawaii or Alaska.

    UPS/FedEx usually charge more. These two carries are a good choice if you want very dependable service. If your products have high value and you want an insured and guaranteed delivery then it is OK to justify the high cost charged by UPS/FedEx. Also, these carrier are a good fit for heavier package items. Both UPS/FedEx offer ground and air services. The cost and time to deliver a package based on the zone. The entire country is divided into various zones. Packages shipped to the closest zone gets delivered next day via ground and cost less compared to farther zone which could take up to 5 business days via ground service.

  • Delivery confirmation and tracking: The terms "Delivery Confirmation" and "Tracking" are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same thing. When UPS or FedEx "tracks" a package, it knows where it is at all times. Delivery Confirmation will usually acknowledge that the package arrived at the destination zip code. It will also note if delivery was attempted but not successful. However, the details are often fuzzy after that. If "delivered", was the package left at the doorstep? Did the postal worker leave it at the neighbor's house? Delivery Confirmation often will not help you in those situations. It is possible to have a lost package with “delivery confirmation” showing "delivered" at the same time.

    Another limitation of Delivery Confirmation is that it is often not scanned. There have been reported instances when the package was never scanned, either on the pickup side or the delivery side or both. When you look up the “delivery confirmation” number online, it simply says "Label Printed".

    Other things to note about delivery confirmation: USPS Delivery Confirmation on “first class” mail is restricted to items which are at least ¾” thick. If the item is less than ¾” thick, you must upgrade to priority mail to use Delivery Confirmation.

  • Shipping Merchandise to the Fulfillment Center: In addition to selecting the right shipping for outbound shipping; you also need to ship merchandise to the fulfillment center. Most fulfillment centers have negotiated rates for freight shipment via LTL or other shipping methods and you should compare the shipping cost for inbound shipment from your fulfillment company instead of going direct to the freight company. Depending on the nature of your merchandise, and pickup location, there could be a huge cost difference between various freight companies, your fulfillment center should be able to guide in advising the best option.

Have a question?

Please contact us:

Toll-Free: 888-234-3472
Phone: 925-579-5000
Fax: 925-579-5001
sales@acutrack.com

Request for Quote!

Acutrack Contact

sales@acutrack.com
350 Sonic Avenue
Livermore, CA 94551
USA

Please contact us:

Toll-Free: 888-234-3472
Phone: 925-579-5000
Fax: 925-579-5001
sales@acutrack.com

Request for Quote!

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About Acutrack

Acutrack is a technology-driven fulfillment house,
with a specialization in publishing any product needed
for your business (such as books, CDs/DVDs/USBs,
marketing collaterals, and much more).

 In this manner, we serve as a one-stop logistics extension
of your business.

 

Fulfillment centers:
Livermore, CA
Cincinnati, OH