Alternatives to UNLOCODE system?


Are there any alternative or supplementary coding systems to UNLOCODES? Perhaps some local/regional codes for smaller ports or entirely different numbering systems?


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UN/LOCODE is widely used geographic coding system in transportation - but there are actually many alternatives. Easiest that comes to mind is of course - 3 letter airport codes that you see on each boarding pass, this is issued by IATA. Each country has also their own coding systems for different facilities and most basic location coding is of course area zip codes - and every country has their own standards.

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Hi @aydin-mammadov ,

@ali-gara1 is correct. UNLOCODE is a well-accepted standard, but it’s by no means the only one. In addition to IATA codes for airports, there’s also the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) four-letter airport codes.

For maritime transport, there’s also the AIS (Automatic Identification System) which is used for tracking ships worldwide. This system identifies ships by their MMSI (Maritime Mobile Service Identity), a unique nine-digit number.

When it comes to regional or local systems, you’ll find quite a variety. For instance, in the U.S., the Army Corps of Engineers maintains a list of port codes which are used domestically. They are different from UNLOCODEs and mainly used for statistical and administrative purposes.

Moreover, in some countries, local port authorities might have their own coding systems that are used in conjunction with international codes. These may serve specific needs like customs procedures, port logistics or statistical purposes.

Remember that the choice of code to use can depend on the context - for example, you might use one set of codes for shipping logistics, but a different set for customs declarations or statistical reporting.

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UN/locode is loosly connected with IATA according to its wiki page, meaning some codes are the same but others aren’t. If you are looking for Port codes un/locode would be your best source but still, there are mistakes and yearly changes so it’s best to build your own coding system on top of un/locodes if you are professionally doing business related to these ports.