Container Identification System

1. Identification System

Example of an ISO 6346 compliant container number:

BIC code on the end of a shipping container

Owner Code

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. Owner can apply for more than one code, as normally first 2 letters are used as owner code, the third is used to indicate pool (e.g. HLA,HLB,HLX are some Hapag_Lloyd codes to indicate wether container is standart, reefer...)

Equipment 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 accuracies of the owner code and serial number.

 Size code (1st) Size code (2nd) 
CodeContainer lengthCodeContainer heightWidth
110′08′



8′

220′28′6″
330′49′
440′59′6″
B24′6> 9′6″
C24′6″84′3″
G41′9<= 4′
H43′C8′6″


2348mm < x <= 2500mm

L45′D9′
M48′E9′6″
N49′F> 9′6″


 Type code (3rd & 4th)
CodeDescription
G0General - Openings at one or both ends
G1General - Passive vents at upper part of cargo space
G2General - Openings at one or both ends + full openings on one or both sides
G3General - Openings at one or both ends + partial openings on one or both sides
V0Fantainer - Non-mechanical, vents at lower and upper parts of cargo space
V2Fantainer - Mechanical ventilation system located internally
V4Fantainer - Mechanical ventilation system located externally
R0Integral Reefer - Mechanically refrigerated
R1Integral Reefer - Mechanically refrigerated and heated
R2Integral Reefer - Self-powered mechanically refrigerated
R3Integral Reefer - Self-powered mechanically refrigerated and heated
H0Refrigerated or heated with removable equipment located externally; heat transfer coefficient K=0.4W/M2.K
H1Refrigerated or heated with removable equipment located internally
H2Refrigerated or heated with removable equipment located externally; heat transfer coefficient K=0.7W/M2.K
H5Insulated - Heat transfer coefficient K=0.4W/M2.K
H6Insulated - Heat transfer coefficient K=0.7W/M2.K
U0Open Top - Openings at one or both ends
U1Open Top - Idem + removable top members in end frames
U2Open Top - Openings at one or both ends + openings at one or both sides
U3Open Top - Idem + removable top members in end frames
U4Open Top - Openings at one or both ends + partial on one and full at other side
U5Open Top - Complete, fixed side and end walls ( no doors )
T0Tank - Non dangerous liquids, minimum pressure 0.45 bar
T1Tank - Non dangerous liquids, minimum pressure 1.50 bar
T2Tank - Non dangerous liquids, minimum pressure 2.65 bar
T3Tank - Dangerous liquids, minimum pressure 1.50 bar
T4Tank - Dangerous liquids, minimum pressure 2.65 bar
T5Tank - Dangerous liquids, minimum pressure 4.00 bar
T6Tank - Dangerous liquids, minimum pressure 6.00 bar
T7Tank - Gases, minimum pressure 9.10 bar
T8Tank - Gases, minimum pressure 22.00 bar
T9Tank - Gases, minimum pressure to be decided
B0Bulk - Closed
B1Bulk - Airtight
B3Bulk - Horizontal discharge, test pressure 1.50 bar
B4Bulk - Horizontal discharge, test pressure 2.65 bar
B5Bulk - Tipping discharge, test pressure 1.50 bar
B6Bulk - Tipping discharge, test pressure 2.65 bar
P0Flat or Bolster - Plain platform
P1Flat or Bolster - Two complete and fixed ends
P2Flat or Bolster - Fixed posts, either free-standing or with removable top member
P3Flat or Bolster - Folding complete end structure
P4Flat or Bolster - Folding posts, either free-standing or with removable top member
P5Flat or Bolster - Open top, open ends (skeletal)
S0Livestock carrier
S1Automobile carrier
S2Live fish carrier

2. Operational markings

The operational markings according to DIN EN ISO standard 6346, January 1996, are intended to simplify use of the container by providing additional information and warnings.
 
These markings also include both compulsory and optional markings. Examples of compulsory markings are those indicating gross weight and tare weight, which naturally have to agree with those on the CSC Approval Plate.

  • The standard prescribes the following form and sequence for marking of gross and tare weights


  • All containers equipped with ladders must be provided with a warning symbol, which indicates the danger posed by overhead power cables. The height of the lightning in the warning symbol must be at least 175 mm (6.875"). The size of the warning symbol, measured between the outer edges of the black border, must be no less than 230 mm (9"). The symbol must be affixed in the vicinity of the ladder.


  • DIN EN ISO 6346 of January 1996 stipulates that all containers higher than 2.6 m (8'6") must carry the following compulsory markings:
    • a height marking on each side
       
    • yellow and black stripes, visible at the top and side, which must be affixed in the upper part of each side and end. These must start at the corner castings and extend at least 300  mm (12")
    The height marking must be at least 155 mm high and 115 mm wide (6" x 4.5"). The characters should be as large as possible, so that they are clearly visible. The sign should be affixed at least on each side of the container, in each case in the vicinity of the right-hand edge no more than 1.2 m (4') from the top edge of the container and no more than 0.6 m (2') from the right-hand edge (beneath the identification number).


  • One possible optional operational marking which most operators do affix states maximum payload or net cargo weight, which is the difference between the maximum gross weight and the tare weight of a container. Although this marking is optional, the standard does stipulate that the weight labeled NET be given first in kilograms and then in pounds. In general, the various markings are so arranged that the weight data are followed by container volume data.


  • Country code - US as United Stated.

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