SCAC Code stands for the Standard Career Alpha Code which was first introduced
by the National Motor Freight Traffic Association in the 1960’s with the intention of
introducing computerisation in the transportation industry.
The SCAC code is a two to four letter code, used as identification for shipments to be
recorded in soft copy and documents such as freight bills, purchase orders etc.
It is also used in the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the Accredited
Standards Committee X12 and United Nations EDIFACT approved electronic data
interchange system for all forms of transportation, which require identification, except
SCAC codes are used by the Food and Drug administration to trace imported food
items. All the government agencies in the United States require an SCAC code when
dealing with them and also quite a few commercial exporters such as automobile,
petroleum, forest products and chemical industries. Some of the retail business
suppliers also use the SCAC codes for identification. Most of the commercial
exporters and importers use SCAC codes in their audits and payment systems.
The SCAC codes also have an identification system within themselves which helps
to identify the type of carrier by the code itself. For freight containers, codes ending
with the letter ‘U’ are used; for privately owned railroad cars codes ending with the
letter ‘X’ are used whereas for truck chassis codes ending with the letter ‘Z’ are used.
All the SCAC codes are put together in the Directory of Standard Career Alpha
Codes, published by the National Motor Freight Traffic Association, which brings out
annual issues which are updated once every three months. The data is also available
on the internet and can be downloaded. The data can also be accessed via CD-ROMS
or can be sent to email on a daily basis.