IANA, BIC Standardize Intermodal Facility IDs

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
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The Intermodal Association of North America (IANA) and the Bureau International des Containers (BIC) have collaborated to standardize identification of terminals, ramps, container yards and depots in the U.S.

Each facility in IANA’s Intermodal Facilities Directory, maintained as part of the organization’s Driver Vehicle Inspection Reporting service, now has a structured address, GPS coordinates and a 9-character BIC Facility Code, along with the preexisting IANA location codes that currently serve the North American intermodal market. “Adoption of these codes is expected to result in smoother communication between parties, quicker identification of facilities by third parties such as motor carriers and telematics providers, more efficient lessor-lessee communications related to on/off-hires and better visibility for BCOs (beneficial cargo owners),” IANA said.  

IANA offers API subscriptions to utilize not only the existing 1,300 IANA Location Codes today, but also the related BIC Facility Codes and SMDG Ocean Terminal Codes for future adoption of the standardized codes. An API (application programming interface) is a computing interface that defines interactions between multiple software applications or mixed hardware-software intermediaries.

“In order to achieve the global vision of uniform data, it’s important to have the support of the local regions with the backing of individual organizations that operate within the regions,” said IANA Senior Vice President, Digital Products & Technology Jon Palmbak. “We believe that the collaboration between BIC and IANA is a step in the right direction to achieve the compatibility of location codes in the North American market.”

 “Following the global facility harmonization project conducted with the support of the Digital Container Shipping Association and the launch of the API in December 2020, we’re excited to be working with IANA in North America,” said BIC Secretary General Douglas Owen. “IANA brings terrific coverage and expertise in the region, enriching the BIC Facility Code database with the IANA network and bringing us closer to our shared goal of the global adoption of data standards in our industry.” 

IANA’s roster of more than 1,000 corporate members includes railroads, ocean carriers, ports, intermodal truckers and over-the-road highway carriers, intermodal marketing and logistic companies, and suppliers to the industry. The organization says it “consistently supports the shared needs, interests, and goals of its diverse members—regardless of mode or function—with business solutions, education, and networking opportunities.

Founded under the auspices of the International Chamber of Commerce in 1933 as a neutral, non-profit, international organization, the BIC has more 2,400 members in more than 120 countries. The BIC notes that it “has played an important role in the growth of containerization, with its long-established and active role in the development and maintenance of industry standards.”

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