MSC first carrier to standardise depot codes to BIC open format

MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) has announced that it has fully adopted BIC Facility Codes (BFC) for all of its global depots, a major step forward in standardising cargo transport around unified data formats.

Similar to how airports worldwide have designated three letter IATA codes, all of MSC’s depots are now identifiable with a 9-character BFC. The transition process was completed over the course of 2021.

“MSC has been a vocal proponent of harmonising facility codes since the Digital Container Shipping Association (DCSA) was founded and has provided significant support to this project,” explains Andre Simha, Global Chief Digital and Information Officer for MSC.

“Adopting the BIC Facility Codes is a great example of a variety of digital workstreams at MSC coming together to make strides for the digital future of shipping.”

BIC Facility Codes were originally created as part of a major harmonisation project conducted in November 2020 by the Bureau International des Containers (BIC), with the assistance of the DCSA. Incorporating DCSA member ocean carriers and several of the largest leasing companies, the project will allow more than 17,000 container facilities in 192 countries to be unambiguously identified for supply chain events using a common standard data format, with addressing and latitude/longitude coordinates.

The BIC is responsible for managing the database and offers an open API to allow trading partners to link the standardised data with their own software systems.

“The digital transformation of the container shipping industry is underway,” said DCSA CEO Thomas Bagge.

“DCSA and its members are creating the framework for it, and we invite all stakeholders to become part of this transformation. Adopting baseline standards such as location code standards is a mandatory step in establishing an interoperable digital foundation which will simplify current complexities. Ultimately, customers, stakeholders and the entire industry will benefit.”

While all of DCSA’s participating carriers are in the process of adopting the codes, MSC is the first to achieve full implementation throughout all company systems globally. The company says that it expects the announcement to help accelerate adoption by vendors and other trading partners, all of whom can benefit from streamlined communication using the harmonised codes.

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Rob O'Dwyer

Rob is Chief Network Officer and one of the founders of Smart Maritime Network. He also serves as Chairman of the Smart Maritime Council. Rob has worked in the maritime technology sector since 2005, managing editorial for a range of leading publications in the transport and logistics sector. Get in touch by email by clicking here, or on LinkedIn by clicking here.

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