The Bureau International des Containers (BIC), and the Digital Container Shipping Association (DCSA), has announced the completion of their collaboration to standardise the codes used to identify facilities such as depots, container yards, M&R vendors and other supply chain container facilities just like they are done at airports.

Thanks to the active participation by DCSA, member ocean carriers as well as several of the largest leasing companies, the organisations have achieved a clean, machine-readable database of over 11,000 facilities in 160 countries.

Each facility in the database now has a structured address, GPS coordinates and a 9-character BIC Facility Code assigned to it that can be easily consumed by existing IT systems to facilitate adoption.

Machine learning techniques were used to sanitise and align nearly 30,000 facility codes from 10 major carriers and lessors, resulting in harmonised facility names, addresses, GPS coordinates, and the standardised code the industry was looking for.

DCSA Track & Trace standards, for example, now refer to the BIC Facility Code to identify places for supply chain events without ambiguity.

The API, currently available on SwaggerHub, will enable supply chain participants to ensure their systems are utilising a unique, standardised code for every container facility.

Those wishing to host their own version can subscribe to automatic synchronous updates to ensure they are always up to date. In addition, the API serves both the BIC Facility Code and the SMDG Ocean Terminal code lists, meaning the industry can access a one-stop API for the 11,000+ BIC Facility Codes and 900+ SMDG Ocean Terminal Codes.

Looking ahead, geo-features such as geo-fencing coordinates are planned, which will prove useful for operators of smart containers or assets looking to automatically confirm the facility in which a container is located, or to enable location-based automation.