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The BIC Code

The BIC code in combined transport has nothing to do with the BIC code (Bank Identifier Code) as known from your bank. Rather, it is an identification system for unambiguously marking containers for global trade.

We would like to provide you with more information on the BIC code on our website. You will find all information, applications and questions on the subject under the three points BIC Code, BIC Form and FAQ on the BIC Code.

Alternatively, the SGKV is the national registration organisation (NRO) and advice centre for the German-speaking area (DE + AT). The SGKV provides support in filing applications and in mediation and problem solving.

What is the BIC code?

The BIC code is followed by an identification system to uniquely mark containers for worldwide trade and to determine the affiliation of a container to an owner by assigning the owner code (the first three letters). The basis for the assigning of the code is the international standard ISO 6346, which among other things also specifies the size and placement of the code on the container. The BIC code is composed as follows
Owner and product group codes (issued by B.I.C.)
Registration number (issued by Owner)
Check digit (predefined calculation method)
Bic Code Container

What is the BIC code for?

To be able to mark containers in international trade without any doubt, the organization B.I.C. (Bureau International des Conatiners et du Transport Intermodal) has introduced an identification system.

The BIC codes are recorded in an official register of the B.I.C., which is available to public agencies. The code is checked by customs authorities, ports, international carriers, and operators throughout the handling process. In the case of anomalies, such as unregistered codes, customs authorities are required to carry out an in-depth inspection. This can cost a lot of time and extra costs.

For whom is a BIC registration reasonable?

Companies, that regularly utilize containers in international trade and whose loading units target a seaport, are recommended to use the BIC code. Loading units in national transport and/or in own-account transport do not require a code. For further information, please contact the SGKV. If you have any questions, please contact us at sgkv@sgkv.de or by phone at +4930 20613 760

Costs for registration of a BIC-code (as of 06.2018)

Owner code, including certificate: 2.000 EUR
Renewal fee: 475 EUR p.a.
Membership B.I.C.: 46 EUR p.a.

How to apply for the BIC code?

The B.I.C. (Bureau International des Containers et du Transport Intermodal) organization, which is located in Paris, assigns, upon a written request (www.bic-code.org/bic-codes/bic-code-application-form/), a unique owner code to each owner or operator to identify internationally transported containers. The applicant can choose the owner code himself if it has not yet been assigned.

Once a code has been given, the owner can personally determine the registration number for an arbitrary number of containers according to his wishes, have the verification code computed using a fixed procedure (www.bic-code.org/bic-codes/check-digit-calculator/) and label the containers with the BIC code. The sequence of numbers for the registration number is to be determined by the owner himself for each container. A code can be registered directly at the B.I.C. office.
ISO-standardized Loading Units (ISO-Container)
Unaccompanied Intermodal Seaport-Hinter-land transport (Interface seaport)
Worldwide Valid

Further Information and FAQs:

Is my code already assigned?

When do I need an ILU code and when a BIC code?

The BIC Code is targeted at ISO standardized loading units (containers) and the ILU code at non-ISO standardized LU (swap bodies, another continental LE). The B.I.C. code is valid worldwide whereas the ILU code is only valid in Europe (CEN). But as soon as the mode of transport modes is changed via transshipment facilities, the LU has to be marked with one of the codes. No marking is necessary for factory transport. It is also not necessary to use both codes at the same time for labeling. As a rule of thumb: If the LU is directed to reach a seaport as the last station, the BIC code must be used, otherwise the ILU code.

Costs for the registration of a BIC - Code:

The SGKV will be happy to provide additional information. You can find the B.I.C. at www.bic-code.org. Information on the ILU code is available at www.ilu-code.eu.