en English

Labelling on Shipping Containers – Container Number

Labelings on the shipping containers separate one container from the other by detailing the owner, container number & many more specifications.

Do you realise how distinctive each cargo container is on its own? 

How are the identities of shipping containers verified? What distinguishes one container from another?

In this article, we’ll discuss labelling on shipping containers.

Freight containers are moved worldwide by various entities, including buyers, shippers, carriers, and warehouses, with different means of transportation. When containers are incorrectly labelled, the contents housed within are vulnerable to unexpected events.

Containers have labellings that distinguish one metal box from the other. They provide information such as their mass, weight, affiliation with the firm and more of such details. 

Before getting into the specifications, let us understand the container number.

What is the container number?

The container number, which can be recognized globally, is often located in the upper right corner of the shipping container. It serves as the standard for all practical and legal objectives regarding the container.

A container number is a unique and distinctive number that a legitimate shipping carrier and any person connected to the shipping line may recognise and track at any time.

The labelling on shipping containers has various sub-parts. Each sub-part defines the property of the container. 

Sub-parts of container number

  1. Container prefix
  2. Alpha-numerical code
  3. ISO code
  4. CSC plate
  5. Capacity marking

This article will explore container numbers and briefly discuss other labellings on shipping containers.

Importance of Container Number

The identification system guarantees uniform worldwide identification of containers in paperwork and communication linked to the movement of containers from door to door.

Container numbers offer beneficial details on the contents, route travelled, owner, and state of the cargo container. 

The container number is also called the container identification number and is an alpha-numerical code. Let us break it down into understandable terms. 

Container Prefix

The term “container prefix” is used to define the first four letters, also known as the “alpha prefix,” and is frequently connected to a brand or asset-owning corporation. That means anyone who reads the first three letters can determine the owner of the container. But sometimes, containers are given for rent; therefore, one should show the leasing agreement if questions are raised.

The owner code appears in the first three characters of the container prefix, and the fourth letter stands for detachable equipment unit. The fourth letter, often known as the equipment category identifier of the metal box, designates the type of equipment transported in the container. Three important equipment categories are:

  1. U – stands for the shipping container.
  2. J – Equipment attached to the container, such as a Genset, is referred to as J.
  3. Z – stands for the trailer or chassis.

Serial number

The cargo container‘s registration numbers are the following six digits after the container prefix in a container number. This is known as the serial number. 

Last digit

The last number is the check digit encased in a box to emphasise its significance. This one digit is used to check the correctness of the ten alpha-numerical digits that came before it.


Why is shipping container labelling necessary?

Standardized containers have revolutionized the shipping and transportation businesses, making it simple to transfer products by rail, road, and ship. This is because the containers are designed to fit into mass transit. With commodities in bulk, one can easily get overwhelmed by the millions of containers if labelled improperly.

One can readily follow the type, the brand and the materials carried in the shipping containers by referring to the labelling on shipping containers. It also details the registration number and the attached equipment type.

Demurrage and detention fines are every shipper and freight forwarder‘s greatest nightmare. However, with container number tracking, you can receive regular information on the cargo containers, allowing you to make informed decisions.  

One may be briefed on the International Standards and ensure that the containers are properly labelled to avoid paying excessive fees by using our shipping container trade services. LOTUS Containers delivers a validated method to make your shipping container purchase profitable.