Frequently Asked Questions

Please find below all Frequently Asked Questions on the ILU-Code.

How do I choose the registration number for each loading unit?

The ILU-number may be freely chosen by the ILU owner. It shall consist of 6 numerals. If the series does not total 6, it shall be preceded by the number of zeros necessary to make up 6 numerals.


Where can I buy ILU-Code stickers?

In order to ease the marking of loading units with ILU-Codes, UIRR launched an additional service for the online purchase of ILU-Code stickers. The ILU-Owner is nevertheless absolutely free to choose any other provider for the ILU-Code stickers. For new loading units, the producer often provides the customer with all the necessary markings, the codification plate as well as the logo and other markings related to the company’s visual identity.

Who should reserve an ILU-Code : the leasing company or the lessee?

If you are a leasing company who rents intermodal loading units, you may wish to know who should reserve an ILU-Owner and mark the loading units - you or your customer. In long-term leasing contracts, we can only recommend that your customer reserves an ILU-Owner under his company name. Only in short-term contracts it would make sense that the lessor/leasing company reserves an ILU-Owner to mark the ILUs with his own code.
The ILU-Owners are all registered and published in the web-based official Register. Should a problem/incident occur with a loading unit (for example a lost/found loading unit in a terminal), the terminal, authorities - police, customs - or third entities will contact the company via the contact person who is named in the ILU-Code Register. Therefore it is important that the ILU-Owner establishes the most direct connection to the entity operating the loading units.



Why can’t I find the EN13044 standard on your website?

CEN and national standardisation organisations receive their financing through the selling of standards. UIRR therefore is not entitled to publish the text of the standard on its website. However the most important clauses are quoted. You can find a list of national standards organisations and CEN – from where you may purchase a copy of the standard – if you open the link CEN-CENELEC

Our company already has a BIC-Code. Do we also need to have an ILU-Code?

According to the ISO 6346 standard, the BIC-Code may be used to mark all freight containers, including – besides ISO containers – CEN standardized containers or swap-bodies. However, if you also have semi-trailers or plan to acquire some, obtaining an ILU-Code is recommended. Regarding the ILU-Code, UIRR and BIC agreed to keep the 4th letter “K” free for all the owners who are already registered with BIC. On request, they will be able to register an ILU-owner-key with the first three letters corresponding to their BIC-Code.

How am I protected against the illegal use of my code by others?

Standards are voluntary agreements of the industry and the same applies for the ILU- and BIC-Code. If UIRR receives information that an ILU-Code is misused, or its use is unauthorised it would inform the company that the code is either not registered or reserved for another company. When an owner code is officially registered and published by UIRR, all information regarding the loading units marked with this code coming from railway undertakings, CT operators, customs, etc. is transmitted to the registered user. If an intermodal loading units had an owner code which was not registered by BIC or UIRR, these ILUs would not be allowed into circulation by the aforementioned actors. The experience acquired with the BIC-Code shows that abuses are very rare in practice.

Are the ILU- and BIC-Code compulsory?

These two codes are based on standards, that is to say on voluntary agreements concluded by the transport sector, created in order to ease the flow of transports. These codes facilitate the universal use of the loading units as all actors of the transport sector and the Authorities may rapidly and easily identify the owner and, if necessary, provide him with information. The expected efficiency improvements will become visible only after the new markings have been in use for a sufficient long period enabling their proliferation. Some EU-Regulations such as the Customs and the Telematic Application for rail Freight impose the use of ILU and BIC for any transports.


Where should I place my ILU-Codes on a loading unit?

The ILU‐Code consisting of the owner-key, serial number and check digit, shall be positioned on the ILU as far as practicable as shown in the figure beneath:

The ILU-Code shall be present at least on both side walls and on the roof (minimum requirement according to EN 13044).
Optionally the marks may be present at both the rear end wall and front wall and a second time on the roof (rotated by 180 degrees). This is the recommended option for best operational visibility in compliance with the worldwide practice for maritime containers (ISO 6346).

According to the standard, letters and numerals of the ILU‐Code shall not be less than 100 mm high and of proportionate height and width. They shall be durable and in a color contrasting with that of the ILU. The layout of the ILU‐Code shall be one single horizontal line. Where constructional features of the ILU dictate otherwise, the layout may differ from the horizontal. The owner key shall be joined together and shall be separated from the serial number by at least one character space. The serial number shall be separated from the check digit also by one character space and the check digit shall be displayed in a box.