What is Standard Carrier Alpha Code (SCAC)?

As an exporter or importer you should have seen SCAC codes on the bills of lading. 

On this article I will try to explain the meaning of SCAC codes. 

After reading this page you should understand the key aspects of SCAC codes in international transportation.

What is SCAC?

SCAC is the abbreviation that stands for Standard Carrier Alpha Code. 

Standard Carrier Alpha Code is a specific code used to identify transportation companies such as freight container carriers and forwarders.

Each transportation company has its own Standard Carrier Alpha Code.


Which organization issues Standard Carrier Alpha Codes (SCAC)?

Standard Carrier Alpha Codes are issued by the National Motor Freight Traffic Association, Inc., (NMFTA) which is located in Alexandria, Virginia, USA.

Who should use the Standard Carrier Alpha Codes (SCAC)?

Especially transport companies who have business connections with the US have to use SCAC codes. Some necessary situations will be mentioned below:
  • Carriers who signed the Uniform Intermodal Interchange Facilities Access Agreement (UIIA) are required to have a valid SCAC code. 
  • The United States Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has mandated the use of the SCAC for their Automated Commercial Environment (ACE), Automated Manifest (AMS) and Pre-Arrival Processing (PAPS) Systems. 
  • Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires SCAC codes to be used in their Prior Notice System Interface (PNSI) which is used for tracking imported food. 
  • SCACs are required when doing business with all U.S. Government agencies. 
  • SCACs are required when doing business with most U.S. commercial shippers including, but not limited to, those in the automobile, petroleum, forest products, and chemical industries as well as suppliers to retail businesses and carriers engaged in railroad piggyback trailer and ocean container drayage. 
  • Many commercial shippers and receivers utilize SCACs in their freight bill audit and payment systems.
Example:

Standard Carrier Alpha Code of Maersk Line:

MAEU is the SCAC Code of the
Carrier A.P. Møller - Mærsk A/S trading as Maersk Line
Some Other SCAC Examples:
  • APLU APL Limited 
  • CMDU CMA-CGM (America) LLC 
  • SUDU Hamburg Sud North America, Inc 
  • HJCU Hanjin Shipping Co., Ltd 
  • HLCU Hapag-Lloyd (America), Inc 
  • KKLU K-Line America, Inc. 
  • MAEU Maersk Agency U.S.A 
  • MSCU Mediterranean Shipping Company S.A 
  • TRKU Turkon Container Transportation & Shipping Inc 
  • UASU United Arab Shipping Company 
  • ZIMU Zim American Integrated Shipping Services Co
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