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Bureau International des Containers et du Transport Intermodal (B.I.C.)


The 'Bureau International des Containers et du Transport Intermodal' (B.I.C.) was established in 1933 as 'Bureau International des Containers' by the International Chamber of Commerce (I.C.C.) in order to make business people sensitive to the development of international -and thus intermodal- transport and its practical aspects.

Since its establishment, B.I.C.' s activity dealt with all technical as well as commercial issues of intermodal transport.

Till 1939, its main transportation sectors were inland transport (rail and road).

When B.I.C. recovered its activity in 1948, it became fully intermodal and adopted its present title.

It played a major part in the organization of maritime transportation with containers since the years 1960, mainly dealing with the following matters: technical control, strength, coding, identification and marking of containers, and more generally the facilitation of commercial exchanges.

B.I.C. thus originated as early as 1970 the marking of containers with an alphanumeric, well structured and reliable owners code, the 'BIC-CODE' system. In 1972, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) adopted it and handed over to B.I.C. the exclusive management of the allocation of the BIC-CODES for international container transport and the updating of its official Register of owners codes.

B.I.C. also contributed, as a well known expert, to the elaboration and updating of the main international conventions which allowed since 1970 the booming expansion of transportation by containers:
- the Customs Convention on Containers (C.C.C.) in 1972;
- the International Convention for Safe Containers (C.S.C.) in 1972;
- the International Road Transport Convention (T.I.R.) in 1975;
- the Customs Convention on the International Transit of Goods (I.T.I.) in 1985.

Since the end of the years 1980, B.I.C. noted both in North America and in Europe the progressive raise of combined transport (mainly rail-road) for inland transportation. Therefore, it is presently moving its efforts to improve the organization of such kind of transportation in order to allow its harmonised development.

The Bureau International des Containers et du Transport Intermodal (B.I.C.), with 1200 members, is the only non-governmental organization linking all groups interested in containerization and intermodal transport: carriers, manufacturers, operators, lessors, shippers, forwarders, etc

> To contribute to the expansion of containerization and intermodal transport,
To facilitate professional discussions on all subjects connected with containers and intermodal transport,
To obtain and keep updated specialised documentation for the benefit of its members.

According to ISO standard 6346 (Freight Containers-coding, identification and marking), B.I.C. allocates an owner code to every container owner or operating company. Such codes are listed in the official Register 'CONTAINERS BIC-CODE'. This task is completed with the assistance of a world network of National Registration Organisations.

· Further B.I.C. Services are:
· Its conferences and forums.
· Its working groups about occasional studies.
· Its consultancy activity via its specialised subsidiary company, the SOCIETE D'ETUDES et de RECHERCHE du TRANSPORT (SERT).
· Its participation to international events (conferences, exhibitions, meetings of inter-govermental bodies, ) ·

According to the recently adopted European standard EN 13044 (Swap Bodies-coding, identification and marking), B.I.C. is preparing the launching of a new service devoted to all European owners or main operators of swap bodies for inland transportation in Europe.

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