Maritime containers are a key element in the global supply chain, allowing for safe and efficient transportation of all kinds of products.

Their importance is such that they have become an essential tool for international cargo transport, not only by sea, but also by land and air.

To ensure efficient identification and tracking of maritime containers, a series of codes and marks have been established to assist in this process.

These distinctive codes are fundamental to know if you are thinking of sending containers to any part of the world, and will be the focus of our attention in the following lines.

The main codes for maritime container

Maritime container code

The maritime container code is a unique number assigned to each container and is used to identify it in the shipping process.

It consists of 4 letters and 7 numbers, and is known as the BIC code (International Bureau of Containers and Intermodal Transport).

This code serves to identify the owner and the country of registration of the container, which is essential for efficient tracking and proper inventory management.

Shipping size codes

Shipping size codes are numerical codes used to identify the size of maritime containers. These are used worldwide and are known as ISO container codes.

The most common shipping sizes are 20 feet (6 meters) and 40 feet (12 meters), identified by ISO 6346-1 and ISO 6346-2, respectively.

ISO container

The ISO container is the most widely used type of maritime container worldwide. These containers are designed and built according to ISO (International Organization for Standardization) standards, making them compatible with different modes of transportation and allowing for quick and efficient loading and unloading. Additionally, they have standard measurements, which facilitates both planning and cargo handling.

International construction code

The international construction code is a set of standards and regulations that apply to the construction and maintenance of maritime containers.

These have been established to ensure the safety and quality of containers, as well as to standardize construction and maintenance processes worldwide.

Container transport codes

Container transport codes are codes used to identify the mode of transport used for shipping a maritime container.

These codes are used worldwide and are known as SCAC codes (Standard Carrier Alpha Code).

This distinctive code allows for the identification of the carrier and the mode of transport used for shipping, offering the possibility of efficient logistics tracking and management.

Verified gross weight mark

This mark, which has been mandatory since 2016, indicates the verified gross weight of the container, including the weight of the empty container and its contents.

The verified gross weight mark is placed on the container near the access door and is visible from a distance, facilitating loading and unloading, both manual and mechanical.

It is important to note that some of these codes and marks may vary by country and, sometimes, also by region of the country.

Hence, it is crucial to verify local requirements before transporting containers internationally.

Otherwise, it is very likely that sooner or later, some shipment will be stranded and will require long and cumbersome procedures to rescue it, with all the economic and often reputational implications.

Importance of marks and codes on containers

As you can see, the marks and codes on maritime containers are essential to ensure efficient identification and tracking of containers in the shipping process.

Furthermore, these marks and codes help standardize the construction and maintenance process of containers worldwide, ensuring the safety and quality of containers for all those who use them.

That’s why it’s crucial for both companies specialized in international transportation and all actors involved in maritime commerce to be familiar with these codes and marks to properly track containers and ensure efficient management of the entire supply chain.

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