The abbreviation SSCC stands for Serial Shipping Container Code. This number is used to uniquely identify shipping units such as containers, pallets or even packages worldwide.

The SSCC can be assigned by any of the actors involved in the supply chain concerned, unless this has already been done for the dedicated shipping unit in the upstream stages of the supply chain. The number assigned once for a shipping unit is then valid for the entire supply chain. If shipping units are combined to form a larger, higher-level shipping unit, a new higher-level SSCC can be assigned for it.

Structure of a SSCC

The SSCC consists of 18 digits and is based on a company’s GS1 base number. The generation of the SSCC is similar to the procedure for the GTIN for the unique identification of products. Since the NVE is always unique worldwide and shipping units can always be identified via it, since number overlaps are excluded by the procedure.

The 18 digits of the SSCC are used as follows:

    • 1st digit = reserve digit, which can be chosen by the company itself
    • 2nd-8th digit = GS1 base number of the company, which can also be 8 or 9 digits long in total
    • 9th-17th digit = Consecutive number of the SSCC
    • 18th digit = check digit calculated from the preceding digits

Thus, an SSCC may look like the following:

5 3010435 000000001 0

In this case, the base number is 7 digits. In the case of an 8 or 9 digit number, there are fewer digits available for the sequential number.

SSCC – why useful

For end-to-end quality management, every partner involved in the supply chain must be able to uniquely identify the shipment at all times as it moves from shipper to consignee. Since the SSCC is guaranteed to be overlap-free worldwide, this can be ensured in every case. In conjunction with a barcode, the SSCC is also machine-readable and electronically processable. This greatly simplifies the tracking, control, monitoring and thus also the optimization of logistics processes in connection with the shipping units.

Thanks to electronic processing, this facilitates in particular the traceability of foodstuffs, medicines or chemical products, which is sometimes required by law.