What is a Standard Carrier Alpha Code (SCAC)?

What is a Standard Carrier Alpha Code (SCAC)?

In the early 20th century, there was no standardized way to identify transport carriers. In order to electronically store this information inside a database, the National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA) in the United States introduced SCAC codes. 

A Standard Carrier Alpha Code (SCAC) is a unique identification number that is attributed to registered freight carriers and typically consists of two to four letters. Today, SCAC codes are used for various industries around the world and even government bodies in the United States, for carrier identification purposes.  

In the world of shipping, SCAC codes are found in shipping documents such as the Bill of Lading, shipment invoices, and packing lists. They’re even used in 3PL and 4PL supply chain models to identify air and ocean carriers. 

In this article, we’ll be exploring more about SCAC codes, why ocean and air carriers use them, how they are registered and also provide a list of SCAC codes for the most common transport carriers.

Why Do Carriers Have SCAC Codes?

Carriers are required to have a SCAC code if they wish to provide shipping services to the United States. The SCAC code is then used primarily by the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to monitor all shipping activities. Here are the 3 security initiative programs used by the CBP, in which they identify carriers using SCAC codes:

  • Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) – System for lodging export and import shipments.
  • Automated Manifest System (AMS) – Border protection program to monitor all incoming shipments to the US with the goal to reduce or eliminate potential security threats. 
  • Pre-Arrival Processing Systems (PAPS) – System used by custom brokers combining the SCAC code and unique identifier number provided by the carrier. A barcode is generated as the output of this system. 

SCAC Codes in Supply Chain Management

Standard Carrier Alpha Codes are also used for non-US bound shipments and have a broader application in 3PL and 4P supply chain models. Particularly large multinational companies use third-party and fourth-party logistics providers that place bookings for the shipper via EDI messages.

These Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) messages are routed to each carrier using a SCAC code as an identifier. The SCAC code is commonly used in the supply chain industry, since it serves as a unique identification number for ocean and air carriers. 

How to Get a SCAC Code

To secure a SCAC code, an application must be submitted to NMFTA. This is either done via registered mail for $95.00 and via an online registration form at a discounted rate of $82.00. For railroad applications, submission must be done via the Railinc Services instead. 

During the application all details must be filled out completely. Processing time will take about one to two weeks and once approved, an electronic copy will be sent to CBP.

Generally, a SCAC code can end with any letter. However, depending on the type of transport company, some must end with the letters U, X, or Z.

  • ‘U’ – for carriers with shipping containers. Regulated by CBCP for border security and protection and by the Food and Drug Administration for food imports. 
  • ‘X’ – for privately owned railroad cars. 
  • ‘Z’ – for identifying truck trailers and chassis via intermodal service. 

Freight forwarders are also required to have SCAC codes when shipping to the US. However, their SCAC code does not have to end with the letter ‘U’, as they typically don’t own any containers. For example, Expeditors has the SCAC code EXPD. On the other hand, vessel operating carriers feature the letter ‘U’. For example Maersk SCAC code is MAEU.

SCAC Codes Renewals

All SCAC codes are renewed annually and remain valid up to June 30 for each succeeding year. The NMFTA will inform and send an invoice to renew the SCAC 30 days before the expiration date. The online link can be found here. The yearly renewal has a price of $95.00.

List of SCAC Codes

Below is a table featuring an extensive list of the most common air, ocean, road and rail SCAC codes. You may check the complete list of SCAC codes here.

Carrier NameSCAC Code
A. Duie PylePYLE
Aafes Private FleetAYAF
ABF FreightABFS
Alaska Marine LinesAKMR
AliancaANRM
Allied Van LinesALLV
American FreightwaysARFW
American President Lines (APL)APLU
Amino TransportANTC
Arkas Container TransportARKU
Atlantic Container LineACLU
Atlantic Ro-Ro CarriersAROF
Australia National LineANNU
Averitt ExpressAVRT
Bahri / National Shipping Company Of Saudi ArabiaNSAU
Bax Global (Air) [Now DB Schenker]BNAF
Bax Global [Now DB Schenker]BAXG
Bermuda Container LineBCLU
Bridge LogisticsBLOJ
BT Express Freight SystemsBTEY
Bulk Fr8 (Liquid Bulk)BKFB
Carbonite LogisticsCBNP
Carolina LogisticsCGSQ
Carolina Transportation IncCNPC
CeladonCDNK
Central Gulf LinesCEGL
Central TransportCTII
Cheema TransportCHRP
Cheeseman TransportCJRQ
Cheng Lie Navigation11DX
Chermak CartageCHKA
China Shipping Container Lines (COSCO)CHNJ
Chinese-Polish Joint Stock Shipping CompanyCPJQ
CJR TruckingCJRF
CMA-CGMCMDU
Companhia Libra De NavegacaoCLIB
Compania Sud Americana De VaporesCHIW
Con-Way Central ExpressCWCE
Con-Way IntermodalCWIM
Con-Way Southern ExpressCWSE
Con-Way Western ExpressCWWE
Container Port GroupCPGP
Country TransportCOTO
Cowan SystemsCWAS
CrowleyCMCU/CAMN
Csav NorasiaNSLU
CSX TransportationCSXT
Cushing TransportationCIMC
Daylight TransportDYLT
Dayton FreightDAFG
DB SchenkerSHKK
DBO BahnoperatorDBGB
DelmasDAAE
DHL Global ForwardingDHC2
DHL Worldwide ExpressDHLA
Diamond LogisticsDMLI
Dole Ocean Cargo ExpressDOLQ
Dot-Line TransportationDOLR
DSVDSV1
Ease LogisticsELOI
Ecuadorian LineEQLI
EimskipEIMU/EIMW
Emery WorldwideEWCF
Emirates Shipping LineESPU
Estes ExpressEXLA
EukorEUKO
EvergreenEGLV
Expeditors International OceanEXPD
Far Eastern Shipping CompanyFESO
FedEx (Air)FDEN
FedEx Custom CriticalFDCC
FedEx Express (Air)FDE
FedEx FreightFEXF
Fedex FreightFXFE
Fedex Freight National (Formerly Watkins)FXNL
FedEx GroundFDEG
Fedex Ltl Freight EastFXFE
Fedex Ltl Freight West (Formerly Vikn – Viking)FXFW
Fifth Wheel FreightFWFG
First International CourierFICS
FLT LogisticsFLJF
Fortune TransportationFTNA
G & P TruckingGPTC
GalborgGFAL
Gilbert EastGBEA
Gilbert ExpressGBXI
Gold Star LineGSLU
Great Eastern ShippingGESC
Great White FleetUBCU
Grieg Star ShippingACSU
GrimaldiGRIU
Gulick TruckingGUMA
Hamburg SüdSUDU
Hapag Lloyd Container LineHLCU
Heartland ExpressHAEI
Hercules ForwardingHRCF
Hoegh AutolinersHUAU
Horizon LinesHRZU
Hoyer Deep SeaHOYO
Hub GroupHUBT
Hyde ShippingHYDU
Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM)HDMU
Independent Container LineIILU
Industrial Maritime Carriers (Intermarine)IDMC
Integrity Express LogisticsIELC
Intelcom ExpressIEXA
Intermodal ServicesINML
Interocean LinesINOC
ITFITFC
J.B. HuntHJBT
Kawasaki Kisen KaishaKKLU
King Ocean SerciesKOSL
Knight TransportationKNIG
Korea Marine Transport (KMTC)KMTU
Kuehne + NagelKHNN
LDI TruckingLDYQ
Liberty Global LogisticsLGLT
Linea MessinaLMCU
Logistic DynamicsLDYN
Maersk LineMAEU
Malaysia International Shipping Corporation (MISC)MISC
Marfret Compagnie MaritimeMFTU
Marten TransportMTEN
MarubaMRUB
MatsonMATS
MCC TransportMCCQ
Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC)MEDU
MGM TransportMGMC
National FreightNAFT
National Xpress LogisticsNXPL
Neptune Shipping LineNOSU
Nile Dutch Africa LineNIDU
Nordana LineNODA
North American Van LinesNAVI
NYKNYKS
Ocean Network Express (One Line)ONEY
Old Dominion Freight LineODFL
Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL)OOLU
Pacific International LinesPCIU
Pacific Logistics CorpPFLP
PanalpinaPNEP
Pasha Hawaii Transport LinesPSHI
Paystar LogisticsPAYL
Peninsula Truck LinesPENS
Performance LogisticsPSQL
Piedmont ExpressPDME
Polynesia LinePLLU
Precision Logistics GroupPLGQ
Prime Inc. (Intermodal)PRIU
Prime Inc. (Logistics)PRML
Prime Inc. (Otr)PRIJ
Prime Inc. (Tanker)PMKO
R And L CarriersGMLS
Radiant Global LogisticsRGLN
Rail Delivery ServicesRDSS
Rickmers LinieRCKI
Roadway (YRC)RDWY
Route Transportation & LogisticsRXLI
Rowl TruckingROWL
Royal OilRYOM
Russel Delivery ServicesRUSS
SafmarineSAFM
Saia LTL FreightSAIA
Sallaum LinesSLAQ
Same Day Air LogisticsSDYA
SamskipSKII
Schneider NationalSCNN
Seaboard MarineSMLU
Seafreight LineSEFN
Seago LineSEJJ
Siem Car Carriers ASSCYE
Silver EnterprisesSXVE
Sinokor Merchant MarineSKLU
Stevens TransportSTVV
Swift TransportationSWFT
Swire ShippingCHVW
The Shipping Coporation Of IndiaSCIU
Thorco ShippingTHZS
Toho ShippingTOHO
Tote MaritimeTOTE
Triple A LogisticsTPNW
Truckers AmericaTCKM
Turkon Line IncTRKU
U.S. GovernmentUSAU
U.S. GovernmentUSAX
U.S. Northwest Express Or Usnw ExpressUSNW
U.S. XpressUSXI
Unique ExpressUQEP
United Parcel ServiceUPSC
United Parcel ServiceUPSN
United Parcel ServiceUPSS
United Parcel ServiceUPSZ
United States Postal Service (USPS)USPS
Universal Africa LinesUALC
UnysonUYSN
UPS Freight (Fka Overnite Transportation Co / Ovnt)UPGF
US LinesUSLU
USAW – USA LogisticsUDRY
Vanedge LogisticsVLOQ
Vistar TransportationVSRD
Vocar Transportation ServicesVCTS
Wallenius Wilhelmsen LogisticsWLWH
Wan Hai Lines22AA
West European Container LinesWECU
Westwood Shipping LinesWWSU
World Logistics Service (USA)WDLS
Wta GlobalWTAG
Xpo LogisticsXPOL
Xpress UnitedXUI
Yang Ming LineYMLU
YRC FreightYRCW
Zim Integrated Shipping ServicesZIMU