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Standardised numbering and identification system for intermodal shipping containers

Posted by Ingenious Storage on

You can learn alot about any seacan by checking the serial number.  All shipping containers used in intermodal freight systems have unique identifiers and the standard is managed by the International Container Bureau (BIC).

The standard called ISO 6346 is an international standard covering the coding, identification and marking of all intermodal shipping containers used within containerized intermodal freight transport systems worldwide.  The standard identifies the unique serial number, check digit, the owner, country, size, type and equipment category.

Bic Code for shipping container identification

Owner code

Using the above example the owner code is CBH. The owner code consists of three capital letters of the Latin alphabet to indicate the owner or principal operator of the container. Such code needs to be registered at the Bureau International des Conteneurs in Paris to ensure uniqueness worldwide. So if you go to the lookup page for BIC codes you see CBH is

FLORENS CONTAINER SERVICES CO LTD Hong Kong


But not all containers are in the register if you take this example:
BIC CODE CONTAINER identifier code 
If you lookup FWC (remember the U is the category identifier) you will find no result in the registry.  That is simply because this container was built for selling the container and is not registered under the intermodal container system.

Category Identifier

The U is the category identifier.

The equipment category identifier consists of one of the following capital letters of the Latin alphabet.

  • U for all freight containers
  • J for detachable freight container-related equipment
  • Z for trailers and chassis

Under the ISO code, then, only U, J, and Z are in use—the reefer container is identified by means of the size type code.

Serial Number

The serial number consists of 6 numeric digits, assigned by the owner or operator, uniquely identifying the container within that owner/operator's fleet.

Check Digit

The check digit consists of one numeric digit providing a means of validating the recording and transmission accuracy of the owner code and serial number.
To lookup a check digit go here: bic code

Container Type Code

Shipping container BIC code   BIC code on container

The size / type codes above are the 4 digits below in this case: 22G1 and 45G1.  So let's see what this means.

The following is an overview of the most common codes taken from Wikipedia.

So as you see below 22G1 is a "General Purpose Container"

45G1 indicates a "High Cube container"

ISO Type Group ISO Size Type
Code Description Code Description
20GP GENERAL PURPOSE CONT. 20G0 GENERAL PURPOSE CONT.
20G1 GENERAL PURPOSE CONT.
20HR ISOLADO CONTAINE REEFER 20H0 INSULATED CONTAINER
20PF FLAT (FIXED ENDS) 20P1 FLAT (FIXED ENDS)
20TD TANK CONTAINER 20T3 TANK CONTAINER
20T4 TANK CONTAINER
20T5 TANK CONTAINER
20T6 TANK CONTAINER
20TG TANK CONTAINER 20T7 TANK CONTAINER
20T8 TANK CONTAINER
20TN TANK CONTAINER 20T0 TANK CONTAINER
20T1 TANK CONTAINER
20T2 TANK CONTAINER
22BU BULK CONTAINER 22B0 BULK CONTAINER
22GP GENERAL PURPOSE CONT. 22G0 GENERAL PURPOSE CONT.
22G1 GENERAL PURPOSE CONT.
22HR INSULATED CONTAINER 22H0 INSULATED CONTAINER
22PC FLAT (COLLAPSIBLE) 22P3 FLAT (COLLAPSIBLE)
22P8 FLAT (COLL.FLUSH FOLDING)
22P9 FLAT (COLLAPSIBLE)
22PF FLAT (FIXED ENDS) 22P1 FLAT (FIXED ENDS)
22P7 FLAT (GENSET CARRIER)
22RC REEFER CONT.(NO FOOD) 22R9 REEFER CONT.(NO FOOD)
22RS BUILT-IN GEN. F. POWER SPLY OF REEF 22R7 BUILT-IN GEN. F. POWER SPLY OF REEF
22RT REEFER CONTAINER 22R1 REEFER CONTAINER
22SN NAMED CARGO CONTAINER 22S1 NAMED CARGO CONTAINER
22TD TANK CONTAINER 22T3 TANK CONTAINER
22T4 TANK CONTAINER
22T5 TANK CONTAINER
22T6 TANK CONTAINER
22TG TANK CONTAINER 22T7 TANK CONTAINER
22T8 TANK CONTAINER
22TN TANK CONTAINER 22T0 TANK CONTAINER
22T1 TANK CONTAINER
22T2 TANK CONTAINER
22UP HARDTOP CONTAINER 22U6 HARDTOP CONTAINER
22UT OPEN TOP CONTAINER 22U1 OPEN TOP CONTAINER
22VH VENTILATED CONTAINER 22V0 VENTILATED CONTAINER
22V2 VENTILATED CONTAINER
22V3 VENTILATED CONTAINER
25GP GP-CONTAINER OVER-HEIGHT 25G0 GP-CONTAINER OVER-HEIGHT
26GP GP-CONTAINER OVER-HEIGHT 26G0 GP-CONTAINER OVER-HEIGHT
26HR INSULATED CONTAINER 26H0 INSULATED CONTAINER
28TG TANK FOR GAS 28T8 TANK FOR GAS
28UT OPEN TOP (HALF HEIGHT) 28U1 OPEN TOP (HALF HEIGHT)
28VH VE-HALF-HEIGHT =1448 MM HEIGHT 28V0 VE-HALF-HEIGHT =1448 MM HEIGHT
29PL PLATFORM 29P0 PLATFORM
2EGP GEN. PURP. WITHOUT VENT WIDTH 2.5M 2EG0 HIGH CUBE CONT. (WIDTH 2.5M)
42GP GENERAL PURPOSE CONT. 42G0 GENERAL PURPOSE CONT.
42G1 GENERAL PURPOSE CONT.
42HR INSULATED CONTAINER 42H0 INSULATED CONTAINER
42PC FLAT (COLLAPSIBLE) 42P3 FLAT (COLLAPSIBLE)
42P8 FLAT (COLL.FLUSH FOLDING)
42P9 FLAT (COLLAPSIBLE)
42PF FLAT (FIXED ENDS) 42P1 FLAT (FIXED ENDS)
42PS FLAT (SPACE SAVER) 42P6 FLAT SPACE SAVER
42RC REEFER CONT.(NO FOOD) 42R9 REEFER CONT.(NO FOOD)
42RS REEFER CONT.(DIESEL GEN.) 42R3 REEFER CONT.(DIESEL GEN.)
42RT REEFER CONTAINER 42R1 REEFER CONTAINER
42SN NAMED CARGO CONTAINER 42S1 NAMED CARGO CONTAINER
42TD TANK CONTAINER 42T5 TANK CONTAINER
42T6 TANK CONTAINER
42TG TANK CONTAINER 42T8 TANK CONTAINER
42TN TANK CONTAINER 42T2 TANK CONTAINER
42UP HARDTOP CONTAINER 42U6 HARDTOP CONTAINER
42UT OPEN TOP CONTAINER 42U1 OPEN TOP CONTAINER
45BK BULK CONTAINER 45B3 BULK CONTAINER
45GP HIGH CUBE CONT. 45G0 HIGH CUBE CONT.
45G1 HIGH CUBE CONT.
45PC FLAT (COLLAPSIBLE) 45P3 FLAT (COLLAPSIBLE)
45P8 FLAT (COLL.FLUSH FOLDING)
45RC REEFER CONT.(NO FOOD) 45R9 REEFER CONT.(NO FOOD)
45RT REEFER HIGHCUBE CONTAINER 45R1 REEFER HIGHCUBE CONTAINER
45UT OPEN TOP CONTAINER 45U1 OPEN TOP CONTAINER
45UP HIGH CUBE HARDTOP CONT. 45U6 HIGH CUBE HARDTOP CONT.
46HR INSULATED CONTAINER 46H0 INSULATED CONTAINER
48TG TANK FOR GAS 48T8 TANK FOR GAS
49PL PLATFORM 49P0 PLATFORM
4CGP GP CONTAINER 4CG0 GP CONTAINER (WIDTH 2.5 M)
L0GP HIGH CUBE CONT. L0G1 HIGH CUBE CONT.
L2GP HIGH CUBE CONT. L2G1 HIGH CUBE CONT.
L5GP HIGH CUBE CONT. L5G1 HIGH CUBE CONT.

 

 

 

 


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