Just in time to brighten the holidays for U.S. service members and their loved ones, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has lifted its ban on shipping packages containing lithium batteries installed in electronic devices to many international destinations, including Army (APO), Fleet (FPO) and Diplomatic Post Office (DPO) locations.
Since May 16, 2012, the USPS had prohibited the shipping of smartphones, tablets and other electronic devices with lithium batteries to troops stationed overseas, because the batteries posed a risk of explosion. The ban did not apply to lithium batteries shipped within the United States.
While USPS had anticipated being able to lift the ban by January 1, 2013, too late for the holiday mailing rush, the ban is instead being officially lifted effective Nov. 15, 2012.
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"The Postal Service is pleased to be back in the business of shipping gifts containing lithium batteries internationally and to our service members overseas," said Giselle Valera, USPS vice president of global business in a press release. "Postal employees are gearing up for a busy holiday season, and we're ready to help customers send care packages to loved ones around the world."
There are some special procedures for shipping items containing lithium batteries and to help consumers and commercial shippers, the USPS provides online resources including, APO/FPO/DPO Mailing Guidelines, Preparing International Mail Shipments and Fill Out Customs Forms Online.
"The Postal Service is always working to make package shipping more and more convenient," said Valera. "Customers can visit the Post Office that's always open, 24/7, usps.com, to ship holiday care packages without ever having to leave the comfort of home or office."