Recommendation No. 16

UN/LOCODE: Code for Trade and Transport Locations

Author/Source: UNECE through its Center for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT).

Year of adopting/publication: 1980 (first version), last approved revision 1998. The Document also contains the UN/LOCODE Manual
Document reference: ECE/TRADE/227

Link to the document on the internet: Recommendation No. 16

Link to the UN/LOCODE information and database on the internet: UNECE website

Purpose: To provide an agreed code system to represent names of certain locations of interest in international trade and transport.

Summary: The Recommendation No. 16 recommends the use of a five-character code system, the UN/LOCODE to designate locations such as ports, airports and inland freight terminal etc. that are places of receipt and delivers used of the goods movement of international trade. The code is based on the two letter alphabetic code for the representation of names of countries, ISO 3166-2. Example: CH ISO 3166 for Switzerland, CHGVA UN/LOCODE for Geneva, Switzerland.

The UN/LOCODE is one of the many code lists that are used to align trade documents and data. It presents a table for all locations with the following information:
the five digit code, the name of the place, the subdivision (based on ISO 3166 where possible), the function

  • 1 = port (for any kind of waterborne transport)
  • 2 = rail terminal
  • 3 = road terminal
  • 4 = airport
  • 5 = postal exchange office
  • 6 = Inland Clearance Depot ? ICD or "Dry Port", "Inland Clearance Terminal", etc.
  • 7 = fixed transport functions (e.g. oil platform)"; the classifier "7" is reserved for this function. Noting that the description "oil pipeline terminal" would be more relevant, and could be extended to cover also electric power lines and ropeway terminals.
  • B = Border crossing function

and, where available geographical coordinates (longitude, latitude) and the IATA code if different from the UN/LOCODE:

Example below: UN/LOCODE
for Dakar Port, Airport, and postal exchange office, Senegal, and Changi Port, Road Terminal and Airport, Singapore


Ch LOCODE Name NameWoDiacritics SubDiv Functions Status Date IATA Coordinates Remarks
  SN DKR Dakar Dakar   1--45--- AI 9601      
  SG CHG Changi Changi   1-34---- RL 0901   0119N 10400E  

Currently, UN/LOCODE includes over 81.000 locations in 243 countries and installations in international waters. It is used by most major shipping companies, by freight forwarders and in the manufacturing industry around the world. It is also applied by national governments and in trade related activities, such as statistics where it is used by the European Union, by the UPU for certain postal services, etc

Pages that cite the Rec. No. 6:

Code Lists
Document Alignment
Single Window Implementation