The Standard Carrier Alpha Code

What is a SCAC Code and How Does it Work?

If you work in the transportation industry, you have likely heard of a SCAC code. But what exactly is it and how does it work? In this article, we will provide an overview of SCAC codes, their purpose, and how they are used in the transportation industry.

What is a SCAC Code?

scac code

SCAC stands for Standard Carrier Alpha Code. It is a unique code that is used to identify transportation companies such as trucking companies, railroads, and shipping lines. The code consists of two to four letters and is assigned by the National Traffic Association in the United States. (NMFTA). The purpose of the code is to simplify the identification of transportation companies, particularly in electronic communication systems such as EDI (Electronic Data Interchange).

How Does a SCAC Code Work?

A SCAC code is used to identify a transportation company in various electronic communication systems such as EDI and the Uniform Intermodal Interchange and Facilities Access Agreement (UIIA). It is also used by customs officials to identify the carrier responsible for transporting goods across borders.

In the United States, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires all interstate motor carriers to have a SCAC code. The code is used to identify the carrier in the FMCSA’s Safety and Fitness Electronic Records (SAFER) system, which contains information on carriers’ safety records and compliance with federal regulations.

scac code

SCAC codes are also used by freight brokers and shippers to identify carriers and track shipments. When a carrier is selected to transport goods, the shipper will provide the carrier’s code to the freight broker or logistics provider who will then use the code to track the shipment and communicate with the carrier.

Benefits of Using a SCAC Code

Using a SCAC code offers several benefits to transportation companies, freight brokers, and shippers:

  1. Simplifies Identification: A SCAC code simplifies the identification of transportation companies, particularly in electronic communication systems. This helps to reduce errors and improve communication between different parties involved in the transportation of goods.
  2. Improves Efficiency: By using a SCAC code, carriers can quickly and easily identify each other in electronic communication systems. This helps to improve the efficiency of the transportation process, reducing the time and resources required to track shipments and communicate with carriers.
  3. Facilitates Compliance: A SCAC code is required by the FMCSA for interstate motor carriers. By ensuring that carriers have a unique identifier, the FMCSA can more easily track carriers’ safety records and compliance with federal regulations.
  4. Enhances Security: By using a unique identifier such as a SCAC code, customs officials can more easily track the movement of goods across borders, improving security and reducing the risk of smuggling and other illegal activities.

Why is the SCAC code important?

The SCAC code is important for both shippers and carriers. For shippers, using the correct code ensures that their goods are transported by the intended carrier and that the carrier is properly identified on shipping documents. This can help prevent shipping errors, delays, and other logistical problems.

For carriers, having a unique SCAC code is essential for conducting business in the transportation industry. The code is used to identify carriers in carrier-to-carrier transactions, to establish credit with shippers, and to comply with federal regulations.

How to obtain a SCAC code?

Carriers can obtain a SCAC code by applying directly to the NMFTA. The application process requires carriers to provide information such as their legal name, address, and type of transportation services provided. The NMFTA reviews the application and assigns a unique code to the carrier.

If you are a transportation company and want to register for a SCAC code, you can follow these steps:

  1. Determine eligibility: Before you can apply for a SCAC code, you must meet certain eligibility requirements. To be eligible, you must be a transportation company that is registered with the appropriate regulatory agency (such as the FMCSA in the United States).
  2. Contact the National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA): The NMFTA is the organization responsible for assigning  codes. You can contact the NMFTA by phone or email to request an application for code.
  3. Complete the application: The application will require you to provide basic information about your company, such as your name, address, and type of transportation services provided. You will also need to provide documentation to prove your eligibility, such as your FMCSA registration number.
  4. Pay the application fee: There is a fee associated with applying for a SCAC code. The fee varies depending on the type of company you are and the number of codes you are applying for.
  5. Wait for approval: Once you submit your application and fee, the NMFTA will review your application and documentation. If your application is approved, you will receive your code within a few business days.

It’s important to note that once you receive your code, you are responsible for maintaining its accuracy and keeping it up to date. If there are any changes to your company’s information, such as a change of address or type of services provided, you must notify the NMFTA as soon as possible to update your code information.


scac code
A SCAC code is a unique identifier used to identify transportation companies in electronic communication systems. It simplifies the identification of carriers, improves efficiency, facilitates compliance with federal regulations, and enhances security. By using a code, transportation companies, freight brokers, and shippers can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the transportation process.

The Directory of Standard Carrier Alpha Codes is available online through the SCAC code lookup online. It is updated on a quarterly basis and includes an annual release.

Code list update at 01/01/2024 : included 36,750++ row , updated broken data and updated new data for 2024

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