Monday, June 13, 2016

SnailMail - Batteries Not Included

So I had a weird call today from one of my electronics parts suppliers, and apparently they "can't ship LiPos anymore", so that part of my order has been refunded.

Given this particular LiPo is about the size of a credit card and I've ordered enormous batteries from HobbyKing in the past - this sounded strange to me! So I looked into it and yes, the internet boards are newly filled with hate for Australia Post and IATA over the reclassification of LiPos as "class 9" dangerous goods.

Or something. No-one's really sure, except AusPo won't take their batteries anymore.

What I think that means is that a whole new documentation path needs to be applied for transporting LiPos via air, and most of Australian Posts' inter-city mail goes that way. And AusPo either doesn't have the ability, or doesn't want to, supply all the new paperwork.

Sounds annoying, until you realize that it's not just big RC batteries, it's apparently anything with lithium. Installed or not. Coin cells included. Which means people are being told they can no longer send ordinary things like watches and mobile phones through the post that, perhaps they already sold to someone on eBay. It's not even just a matter of "you have to remove the battery before posting" and expecting the receiver to somehow find a matching replacement - look at a modern iPhone or iPad. Remove the battery - how?!?!

Couriers are apparently still able to get LiPos through, at increased cost of course. But there's vast amounts of mail in international transit that might end up being returned because it doesn't have the required documentation. Maybe.

So, the nations primary package carrier now no longer will carry the majority of the things that we use and sell to each other, due to an air transportation safety rule change. Apparently they hate electronic mail so much they're withholding our electrons.

Makers are particularly hard hit, because we can't get parts, and we can't ship our creations. Well, not using our "national infrastructure" - in which case, what's it for?

The rule change may even affect carry-on luggage for plane passengers. Or it might not. It might all just be temporary, while they sort out systems. Or it might be a federal crime to post an iPhone from now on. No-one is completely sure right now, because inconsistencies abound, straight answers are hard to come by, and official documents keep going up and down on the web like well-formatted yoyos..

Hmm. "Well formatted yoyos." I think that's my new name for Australia Post.

1 comment:

  1. WHAT? Okay, who screwed up and how badly? This is serious...