International Container Bureau (BIC)

Translation of the French: Bureau International des Containers et du Transport Intermodal, or BIC. The BIC is the international body that oversees standards for intermodal containers, including the container identification and numbering standards established by the ISO in ISO 6346.

The goal of the organization is to promote cooperation between corporations, government units and independent organizations relating to intermodal freight transport, the process of containerization, and the transport and handling of shipping containers.

BIC was established in 1933 as “Bureau International des Containers” by the International Chamber of Commerce (I.C.C.) in order to make business people sensitive to the development of international, and thus intermodal, transport and its practical aspects. The organization played a major part in the organization of maritime transportation with containers since the early 1960s, mainly dealing with:

  • technical control,
  • strength, coding,
  • identification and marking of containers,
  • more generally the facilitation of commercial exchanges.

In the early 1970s BIC was involved with standardization of the marking of containers with an alphanumeric owners’ code, the “BIC-CODE” system. In 1972, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) adopted it and handed over to BIC the exclusive management of the allocation of the BIC-CODES for international container transport and the updating of its official Register of owners codes.

Contact: Bureau International des Containers et du Transport Intermodal, 41, Rue Réaumur, 75003 Paris, France, Tel : +33. 1 47 660 390, Web:

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