SSCC for pallet labelling

What is a Serial Shipping Container Code (SSCC)?

Serial Shipping Container Code (SSCC) is the GS1 Identification Key used to identify a logistics unit. It is an 18 digit unique tracking number used for pallet labelling, as well as shipping containers and transport units.

What is a Serial Shipping Container Code (SSCC) used for?

To be able to identify an individual pallet, an SSCC number is required. For pallets in particular, labelling with an SSCC ensures that the supply chain is uninterrupted and enables individual pallets to be tracked throughout. The unique SSCC allows companies to lookup the contents of the pallet, as well as being used as part of the Advance Shipping Notice (ASN) process - ASN being a document that provides detailed information about a pending delivery which should have been received pre-delivery of the pallet. Because of this, once the pallet has been delivered, the recipient can process the delivery quickly for receiving, reconciliation, and storing the pallet.

What are the benefits of using SSCCs?

As previously stated, the SSCC is a unique identifier that ensures that the supply chain isn’t interrupted when a pallet is being processed, sent out and delivered. There are also many other benefits of using SSCCs.

  • A multitude of combinations can be used for the SSCC number.
  • Integrates with all GS1 supply chain processes.
  • Can be barcoded for pallet labelling, meaning simple scanning throughout the supply chain.
  • Provides lookup data to show pallet contents as well as assisting with ASN process, and facilitates electronic messaging throughout the supply chain.
  • Uses assigned GS1 Company Prefix which means the SSCC number can’t be duplicated between different companies.

How is an SSCC generated?

The SSCC number is made up of 5 parts:

  • Application Identifier (AI): This is the 00 at the start of the SSCC number. This indicates that the number is an SSCC.
  • Extension Digit: Assigned by the company, this part makes the combination of digits longer so that it is unique for each unit load. This is a digit from 0 to 9 and is assigned by the company generating the SSCC.
  • GS1 Company Prefix: GS1 issues this unique number to its members and will stay the same on the SSCC for each pallet sent out by one company.
  • Serial Reference: This part of the number is unique to each individual pallet, and is the identifier for the contents of the pallet for the supply chain.
  • Check Digit: This is the last part of the SSCC. This digit is calculated from all other numbers in the barcode, and confirms the integrity of the SSCC number. This digit is generated by the GS1 Check Digit Calculator.

How it looks

Standard SSCC barcode set up

How long is an SSCC valid for and can it be reused?

Once an SSCC has been generated and assigned to a pallet and cannot be reused for a minimum of 12 months. Once those 12 months are up, the SSCC number can be reallocated to a new pallet.

SSCC on a pallet label

At the end of a production line comes the palletisation of products. It is essential that the pallet is labelled to GS1 specification, and this includes adding the SSCC number to the label. A human readable SSCC number should be displayed on the middle section of a pallet label, and shown again in the lowest barcode on the label.

How it looks

A generic design for an SSCC pallet label


For more information on pallet labelling, please read our guide here.

Can Clearmark help?

Clearmark offers both the labelling software to be able to create the appropriate label for pallets, and the automated pallet labelling system to make a production line as efficient as possible.

Clearmark’s CLARiSOFT software runs an intuitive Windows Operating System (OS), specifically designed to help users easily create label design templates. And Clearmark’s Vector Pallet Labeller provides maximum label visibility and product traceability on A5 labels set to GS1 compliant specification.

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