The Standard Carrier Alpha Code (SCAC®) is a unique two-to-four-letter code used to identify transportation companies. NMFTA developed the SCAC identification codes in the mid 1960's to facilitate computerization in the transportation industry.

The Standard Carrier Alpha Code is the recognized transportation company identification code used in the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Accredited Standards Committee (ASC) X12 and United Nations EDIFACT approved electronic data interchange (EDI) transaction sets such as the 856 Advance Ship Notice, the 850 Purchase Order and all motor, rail and water carrier transactions where carrier identification is required. The SCAC is required on tariffs filed with the Surface Transportation Board (STB). 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. SCACs are used in the Food and Drug Administrations (FDA) Prior Notice System Interface (PNSI) used for tracking imported food. SCACs are required when doing business with all U.S. Government agencies and with many 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. Carriers who use the Uniform Intermodal Interchange Facilities Access Agreement (UIIA) are required to maintain a valid SCAC. The petroleum industry uses SCACs in their integrated software programs that expedite the movement of bills of lading, pipeline tickets, product transfer orders, and inventory data. Many commercial shippers and receivers utilize SCACs in their freight bill audit and payment systems.

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.

The National Motor Freight Traffic Association, Inc., (NMFTA) assigns SCACs for all companies except those codes used for identification of freight containers not operating exclusively in North America, intermodal chassis and trailers, non-railroad owned rail cars, and railroads.

Companies seeking identification codes for freight containers not operating in North America should contact the Bureau International des Containers, 41 rue Reaumur, 75003 Paris, France, email:, web Railroads and owners of intermodal chassis, trailers and non-railroad owned rail cars should contact Railinc Customer Service, Attn: Private Marks, 7001 Weston Parkway, Suite 200, Cary, NC 27513, (877) 724-5462, Ext. 5400, email

Directory of Standard Carrier Alpha Codes

The Standard Carrier Alpha Codes are published by the National Motor Freight Traffic Association, Inc. The SCAC data is available via an online search engine on the internet through SCAC Online. If you require a data download, SCAC data is accessible Quarterly or Daily by either FTP or email, both in UTF8 encoded ASCII format. The record length is 254 characters. Click here for a record layout. The SCAC data is also available via a web service (SCAC Web Service) for real time integration into computer system.


All material contained in SCAC Online and electronic versions of the Directory of Standard Carrier Alpha Codes (SCAC) and supplements thereto, is protected by the Copyright laws of the United States and Canada. All rights reserved. No part of the SCAC may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the Issuing Officer. SCAC information may only be used within the internal organization of the purchaser and may not be made accessible in any form to any outside parties without express written permission from NMFTA. Licensing agreements are available. For further information, please write to the National Motor Freight Traffic Association, Inc., 1001 North Fairfax Street, Suite 600, Alexandria, VA 22314, (703) 838-1810.