Behind the Scenes: The Intricate Logistics of Battery Circularity

Credit: Midjourney by Discord

From A-B is a gross oversimplification. Within A-B, there is a vast gulf of many different outcomes and pathways. The operations behind a successful delivery of end of life (EOL) li-ion batteries are complex and ruled by myriad documents, regulations, and guidelines.

Here is just a selection: ADR, EUR.1, MSDS/SDS, UN 38.3, Basel, COTIF, OECD Decision, CIF Terms, TFS, and Incoterms – a real acronym soup of different steps. A deep time-sink. Amid all the detail provided and multiple parties involved, information will get lost. It is therefore critical to have a strong infrastructure and service network.

Regulations are indeed needed as batteries are potentially dangerous goods. If used batteries for any reason are short circuited, either internally or externally, it can cause fire or an explosion resulting in burns, toxic chemical exposure, and pollution. It is therefore essential that goods are handled correctly in transportation and storage.

Yet, the required paperwork and orchestration for selling batteries to second life or recycling is waste deep and takes focus away from core activities for companies of any size. It is easy to imagine the number of emails and all the twists and turns with customs, authorities, and 3rd party logistics providers (3PLs) all involved. The burdens of paperwork are only going to increase with the spike in volumes coming in this decade. Meanwhile, any shortcuts can be (and should be) costly.

In the light of this and the need for simplification for all stakeholders involved, the major transportation providers have started recognizing the value in taking market share for battery shipments.

They are now building special facilities for temporary storage and offering consultation on documentation. Transportation of used EV batteries is here and will grow rapidly, and there is still a marathon to complete.

Adding to this, batteries do not reach end-of-life nicely piled up in a warehouse but rather at the hundreds of thousands of car dismantlers around the world. It needs consolidation and extensive logistics. Circular battery value chains will require a better digital infrastructure that can handle the logistical complexity and can work with players of all sizes and purchasing power.

Thank you for reading – Cling Systems is building the digital infrastructure needed to enable circular battery value chains.

In the last 12 months we have coordinated shipments of 15,269 ton-km – the weight in tons of material transported multiplied by the number of kilometers.

For more information, please do get in touch

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