The Standard Carrier Alpha Code (SCAC) is a privately controlled US code used to identify vessel
operating common carriers (VOCC). It is typically two to four letters long.
The National Motor Freight Traffic Association developed the SCAC code in the 1960s to
help road transport companies computerize data and records.
The Standard Carrier Alpha Code, a two-to-four letter identification, is used
by the transportation industry to identify freight carriers in computer systems
and shipping documents such as Bill of Lading, Freight Bill, Packing List,
and Purchase Order. It is also used by the American National Standards Institute, Accredited Standards Committee X12, and United Nations EDIFACT for Electronic
Data Interchange computer
SCACs are commonly used by the automobile, petroleum, forest
products, and chemical industries; as well as suppliers to retail businesses,
carriers engaged in railroad piggyback trailers, and ocean container drayage.
Freight Carriers who participate in the Uniform Intermodal Interchange Agreement (UIIA) are required to maintain a SCAC.
Certain groups of SCACs are reserved for specific purposes. Codes ending with
the letter "U" are reserved for the identification of freight
containers. Codes ending with the letter "X" are reserved for the
identification of privately owned railroad cars. Codes ending with the letter "Z"
are reserved for the identification of truck chassis and trailers used in intermodal service.
SCAC is also used to identify an ocean carrier or self-filing
party, such as a freight forwarder, for the Automated Manifest System used
by US Customs and Border Protection for electronic import customs clearance
and for manifest transmission as per the USA's "24 Hours Rule" which
requires the carrier to transmit a cargo manifest to US Customs at least 24
hours prior to a vessel's departure at port of loading.