What is an SSCC-18 barcode, and how is it structured?

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Serial Shipping Container Code or SSCC-18 can be used by companies to identify a logistic unit, which can be any combination of trade items packaged together for storage and/or transport purposes; for example a case, pallet or parcel.

The SSCC-18 barcode is made up of an Application Identifier (AI) that is always “00”, indicating the SSCC-18 data structure will follow, an Extension Digit that has no defined logic and is used to increase the capacity of the Serial Reference, a GS1 Company Prefix of seven to ten digits, and, finally, a Serial Reference of six to nine digits.

The Serial Reference number is assigned by the holder of the GS1 Company Prefix to uniquely identify a shipping container. A Serial Reference must not be reused for a minimum of 12 months. The combined length of the GS1 Company Prefix and Serial Reference is always 16 digits.

There’s also a check digit calculated using the Modulo 10 algorithm.

The SSCC-18 barcode is essentially a special GS1-128 barcode about which you can read the specifics here (link to the GS1-128 page once it’s been published).

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