BIC container lines BIC Facility Codes


BIC Facility Codes

BIC Facility Code (Locode)

The BIC Facility Code provides a unique, harmonized code to identify container facilities.  Following a major harmonization project conducted in collaboration with the DCSA, the BIC Facility Code database now provides a unique identifier for over 16,000 facilities in 160 countries.   The vast majority of facilities in the database now include ‘enhanced’ data with a formatted street address and GPS coordinates.

API to access all container facilities

The BIC Facility Code covers depots, container yards, M&R vendors or any other facility through which a container may pass except ocean terminals.   Ocean terminal codes are managed by a separate organization, SMDG.   Thanks to the close cooperation between BIC and SMDG, a single API now exists to allow access to all facility types – whether registered by BIC or SMDG.  Details on how to access the two code types can be found in the API spec.


The BIC Facility Code began life in the 1980s as the “LoCode” identifier under ISO 9897.  Now a “child code” of the UN/Locode, the BIC Facility Code is used to identify container facilities such as depots, container yards, container freight stations, M&R vendors and other facilities in the container supply chain.  The BIC Facility Code is complementary to the SMDG Ocean Terminal Code, which is also a child code of the UN/Locode.  The BIC Facility Code covers container facility types other than ocean terminals.

Code Structure

The BIC Facility Code uses a 9-character format that builds on the 5-character UN/Locode. The structure is as follows:

5 Alpha characters of the official UN-LOCODE, maintained by the UNECE, as follows:

    • 2 letters identifying the country (ISO 3166);
    • 3 letters identifying the municipality

4 Alpha characters to define the specific facility.

Note: While not required, best practice for the facility identifier is as follows:

  • 3 letters identifying the owner/operator of the facility;
  • the last letter can be used to distinguish between multiple facilities of the same within the same municipality: ‘A’ for the first physical address, ‘B’ for the second, and so on. Companies with mobile operations are identified by ‘M’.

Example: FRPARABCA, for:  ABC Depot, located in Paris, France; if ABC depot had a second facility in Paris it would be coded FRPARABCB

Benefits of the Harmonized BIC Facility Code

Provides a unique global identification for each party in the transport chain, and reliable identification of the facility location.

Facilitates lessor-lessee communications to identify on/off-hire facilities.

Allows clear identification of the location at which the container is located at time of transaction.

Facilitates visibility and enhanced service in relation to container repositioning, interchange, repair and maintenance transactions, etc…

Easily accessible via web or API.

Provides a platform for geo-features (geo-fencing; zones of interest)



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