By: Kenny Mayo
The Standard Carrier Alpha Code (SCAC) and International Air Transport Association (IATA) code are used to identify the carrier that transports the goods out of the United States. Before selecting a carrier code it is important to be aware of which company is actually moving the goods out of the country. This is important to note because the carrier that transports the goods to the port of export may not be the same as the carrier that transports the goods out of the country.
The SCAC is the carrier identification for vessel, rail, and truck shipments. These codes are issued and maintained by the National Motor Freight Association (NMFTA). In contrast, the IATA is responsible for issuing carrier identification codes for air shipments.
Why is the carrier code important?
It is essential that you accurately report the SCAC or IATA code so that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) knows exactly which carrier is transporting the goods out of the country and has the opportunity to inspect the goods prior to export. Failure to provide accurate information can lead to shipment delays and penalties up to $10,000 per violation. As part of our continuous efforts to help you maintain compliance, however, the Census Bureau has created edits in AESDirect and AESPcLink which require the appropriate type of carrier code to be selected for each mode of transportation.
Is this required for all shipments?
No. The carrier identification is not required for the following modes of transportation: mail, passenger hand carried, and fixed transport (pipeline).
For more information about SCACs, please use the following link: http://www.nmfta.org/pages/scac
For more information about IATA codes, please use the following link: