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 Name||SCAC Code|
|A. Duie Pyle||PYLE|
|Aafes Private Fleet||AYAF|
|Alaska Marine Lines||AKMR|
|Allied Van Lines||ALLV|
|American President Lines (APL)||APLU|
|Arkas Container Transport||ARKU|
|Atlantic Container Line||ACLU|
|Atlantic Ro-Ro Carriers||AROF|
|Australia National Line||ANNU|
|Bahri / National Shipping Company Of Saudi Arabia||NSAU|
|Bax Global (Air) [Now DB Schenker]||BNAF|
|Bax Global [Now DB Schenker]||BAXG|
|Bermuda Container Line||BCLU|
|BT Express Freight Systems||BTEY|
|Bulk Fr8 (Liquid Bulk)||BKFB|
|Carolina Transportation Inc||CNPC|
|Central Gulf Lines||CEGL|
|Cheng Lie Navigation||11DX|
|China Shipping Container Lines (COSCO)||CHNJ|
|Chinese-Polish Joint Stock Shipping Company||CPJQ|
|Companhia Libra De Navegacao||CLIB|
|Compania Sud Americana De Vapores||CHIW|
|Con-Way Central Express||CWCE|
|Con-Way Southern Express||CWSE|
|Con-Way Western Express||CWWE|
|Container Port Group||CPGP|
|DHL Global Forwarding||DHC2|
|DHL Worldwide Express||DHLA|
|Dole Ocean Cargo Express||DOLQ|
|Emirates Shipping Line||ESPU|
|Expeditors International Ocean||EXPD|
|Far Eastern Shipping Company||FESO|
|FedEx Custom Critical||FDCC|
|FedEx Express (Air)||FDE|
|Fedex Freight National (Formerly Watkins)||FXNL|
|Fedex Ltl Freight East||FXFE|
|Fedex Ltl Freight West (Formerly Vikn – Viking)||FXFW|
|Fifth Wheel Freight||FWFG|
|First International Courier||FICS|
|G & P Trucking||GPTC|
|Gold Star Line||GSLU|
|Great Eastern Shipping||GESC|
|Great White Fleet||UBCU|
|Grieg Star Shipping||ACSU|
|Hapag Lloyd Container Line||HLCU|
|Hoyer Deep Sea||HOYO|
|Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM)||HDMU|
|Independent Container Line||IILU|
|Industrial Maritime Carriers (Intermarine)||IDMC|
|Integrity Express Logistics||IELC|
|Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha||KKLU|
|King Ocean Sercies||KOSL|
|Korea Marine Transport (KMTC)||KMTU|
|Kuehne + Nagel||KHNN|
|Liberty Global Logistics||LGLT|
|Malaysia International Shipping Corporation (MISC)||MISC|
|Marfret Compagnie Maritime||MFTU|
|Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC)||MEDU|
|National Xpress Logistics||NXPL|
|Neptune Shipping Line||NOSU|
|Nile Dutch Africa Line||NIDU|
|North American Van Lines||NAVI|
|Ocean Network Express (One Line)||ONEY|
|Old Dominion Freight Line||ODFL|
|Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL)||OOLU|
|Pacific International Lines||PCIU|
|Pacific Logistics Corp||PFLP|
|Pasha Hawaii Transport Lines||PSHI|
|Peninsula Truck Lines||PENS|
|Precision Logistics Group||PLGQ|
|Prime Inc. (Intermodal)||PRIU|
|Prime Inc. (Logistics)||PRML|
|Prime Inc. (Otr)||PRIJ|
|Prime Inc. (Tanker)||PMKO|
|R And L Carriers||GMLS|
|Radiant Global Logistics||RGLN|
|Rail Delivery Services||RDSS|
|Route Transportation & Logistics||RXLI|
|Russel Delivery Services||RUSS|
|Saia LTL Freight||SAIA|
|Same Day Air Logistics||SDYA|
|Siem Car Carriers AS||SCYE|
|Sinokor Merchant Marine||SKLU|
|The Shipping Coporation Of India||SCIU|
|Triple A Logistics||TPNW|
|Turkon Line Inc||TRKU|
|U.S. Northwest Express Or Usnw Express||USNW|
|United Parcel Service||UPSC|
|United Parcel Service||UPSN|
|United Parcel Service||UPSS|
|United Parcel Service||UPSZ|
|United States Postal Service (USPS)||USPS|
|Universal Africa Lines||UALC|
|UPS Freight (Fka Overnite Transportation Co / Ovnt)||UPGF|
|USAW – USA Logistics||UDRY|
|Vocar Transportation Services||VCTS|
|Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics||WLWH|
|Wan Hai Lines||22AA|
|West European Container Lines||WECU|
|Westwood Shipping Lines||WWSU|
|World Logistics Service (USA)||WDLS|
|Yang Ming Line||YMLU|
|Zim Integrated Shipping Services||ZIMU|
Follow us on
Co-Founder & Writer
About the Author
Gerrit is a certified international supply chain management professional with 16 years of industry experience, having worked for one of the largest global freight forwarders.
As the co-founder of freightcourse, he’s committed to his passion for serving as a source of education and information on various supply chain topics.