Russian Maritime Register of Shipping        Russian
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Registration of container owner codes

As a National Registration Organization, RS represents the Bureau International des Containers (BIC) in the territory of Russia, the CIS and Baltic States, and it renders container owner registration services in these countries.

Attention of companies registered in BIC to the need for timely payment of the annual invoices for the renewal of the registered codes.

The billing procedure and actions in case of nonpayment:

  1. Accounts for the renewal of the code registration in the current year are send by BIC until 15 February of this year.
  2. First reminder in the absence of payment - 01 April (sent by e- mail).
  3. Second reminder in the absence of payment - 15 May (sent by e- mail).
  4. The first warning about possible code registration cancellation due nonpayment of the annual renewal fee - 15 June (sent by e- mail and fax), copy to NRO.
  5. Last warning about possible code registration cancellation due nonpayment of the annual renewal fee - 01 September (sent by post, email and fax), copy to NRO.
  6. Cancellation of code registration in the absence of payment - 01 October. "Your code has been cancelled, please ensure code removed from all containers".
About the codes.

The Bureau International des Containers (hereafter referred to as BIC) will register container owner codes comprising four capital letters of the Latin alphabet, the fourth (final) letter of each being U. This rule is based on ISO standard 6346. Such codes are called ISO alpha codes or BIC codes.

About the applicants.

An application for the registration of a code will be accepted

  1. by the NRO (National Registration Organization) for the territory in which the owner has his principal place of business (or directly by BIC as the applicant prefers)
  2. and by BIC from owners in places where no NRO exists. A list of NROs accredited by BIC stating the territories which they cover, will be furnished on request.

The term owner includes a holder on lease or operator of containers provided such holder on lease or operator exercises full and exclusive control over the containers as though he were the actual owner. Application shall be made by the owner of containers marked or to be marked with the said code. Notwithstanding the above, a representative (e.g. maritime agent, forwarder, subsidiary company acting as operating company, container manufacturer, etc) may apply on be half of the owner if it is in position of testifying that: - it is legally entitled to apply (through permanent delegation or an ad hoc proxy) - and that the owner has been duly made aware of the procedure and conditions of registration BIC and its NROs reserve the right to check the authority of such representative. Two or more owners may be registered as holders of the same code if they agree to be joint holders and nominate one representative whose action shall be binding on all holders jointly and severally. BIC and NROs reserve the right to check the authority of such representative. The same applicant may obtain several codes if BIC considers the reasons submitted in writing to be satisfactory. One of such reasons may be the operation of ISO and non-ISO containers, or the acquisition of a container fleet in total. A code may be reserved then registered by an applicant who does not at the moment own containers nor does mark its containers with the code applied for, provided the application is made with the bona fide intention of using the code applied for within a reasonable time limit.

Registration procedure
  1. Application and choice of an available code
    An application form containing the required information and declaration shall be acknowledged by the NRO or BIC as the case may be. The acknowledgement states which of the choice of three code letter combinations given has been reserved (but not yet registered). If none of them is available, the applicant shall be invited to submit new letter combinations.

  2. Temporary reservation for payment of the registration fee
    The applicant shall pay the registration (or transfer: see d) below) charge by bank transfer to BICs account. The registration charge (or transfer charge) has to be paid without delay : the reservation period, provided to allow the operations of payment is limited to two weeks, after which the exclusive reservation is cancelled.

  3. Official registration and its consequences
    Within one month after payment of the registration fee has been received, BIC shall issue a registration certificate. Its purpose is not to certify the ownership of containers but that the ISO 4-letter identification code has been allocated pursuant to ISO standard 6346.
    As a consequence:

  • all related containers can be marked with the code as from the date of registration (and not before).
  • the protection of the exclusive property of the code for international use is granted by BIC to the code holder. In case of an unauthorized use of a code by an other company, the code holder is invited to inform BIC and provide it with all available information in order BIC may intervene.
  • each container marked with a code ___U is officially and worldwide known to be owned - or operated - by the code holder as registered in BICs files, with all the related responsibility (legal, commercial, damage, insurance, etc) of such property.

In case of a transfert of ownership of such container(s), the abovementioned responsibility will remain taken on by the code holder until the moment where:

  • the code marking is erased from the container(s)


  • the code marking is changed to an other - duly registered by B.I.C. and held by the new owner


  • the code marking remains unchanged but with a duly registered new code holder.

4. Individual case : transfer of a valid code.

It may occur that the totality of a fleet of containers is transferred from a previous owner A to a new owner B. This may be the case, for example, with a specific purchase of such fleet, or through a global transfer of the assets of the company A (e.g.: merger, purchase of the company, etc). To display the change of ownership of the fleet of containers, the new owner B may then wish to register a new code (or possibly use a code it already owns); but in such case it would have to re-mark all the containers: this would be a long and costly process. In order to avoid such trouble to the new owner, BIC allows both the previous and the new owner to apply for an immediate transfer of the related code from the former to the latter, by exception to the general rule of a safety period of one year.

Yearly renewal of registration

The registration of a code has to be confirmed each year. A renewal fee is payable for each calendar year subsequent to the year of registration.

Publishing the codes

Publication of registered codes with the names and addresses of their holders is authorized from time to time. Such publication is usually made with a yearly paper issue under the name of BIC-CODE. An other form may be the publication in the web site of BIC of a regularly updated extract of its data base. One copy of BIC-CODE per registered code mark will be supplied free of charge to the holder. A holder may, if he desires, have complementary information published in BIC-CODE (addresses of branch offices for example).


BIC shall cancel the registration of a code (and expunge it from the BIC-CODE):

  1. where requested so to do by the owner, or by the NRO for the territory in which the owner has his principal place of business,
  2. following a ruling by a duly appointed arbitrator,
  3. when the yearly renewal fee has not been paid. A cancelled code will not be available for a new registration before a safety period of 1 year has passed. BIC or the NRO concerned may request any owner as defined in art.1 above to declare in writing whether or not all internationally circulating containers of which he is the owner have been marked with the registered code. In the absence of such a declaration within six months the code may be cancelled.

BIC declines any liability whatsoever regarding the sale, the worthiness of the containers or the fact that any transfer has occurred and BIC has not been advised and/or containers have not been remarked accordingly.

In the same way BIC declines any liability regarding the cancellation of a code for non payment of the renewal fee when an owner has not advised BIC of a change of address.

About disputes

As soon as it comes to his notice that his right to any code applied for, or reserved, or registered in his name is disputed or contested in any way, the applicant shall furnish to BIC full information relevant to the case.

If a dispute concerns a reserved code, the NRO and BIC may keep the final registration in abeyance until the dispute has been resolved. The reservation shall remain valid under certain conditions.

Where such dispute between two applicants cannot be settled by agreement, it shall be referred to arbitration under the Rules of Conciliation and Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce by a single arbitrator and the applicants expressly agrees to accept and abide by the decision of such arbitrator.

In the case of a dispute between an applicant and BIC or an NRO, the same procedure shall apply.

To the extend to which anything herein contained may in any particular case be inconsistent with law but not further or otherwise, these conditions shall be null and void.

The Check Digit serves to prevent such errors by detecting and indicating incorrect transcription of the identification number.

Check digits must conform with the uniform method prescribed by ISO Standard 6346. Only in this way can the numerous computers employ the same checking programme modules for all containers.

The above may suffice to explain that to inscribe check digits on the containers, is in the immediate self-interest of every owner.

The ISO formula for the calculation of the Check Digit is some what complex and Check Digits cannot be calculated other than by computer for more than a very few containers. There are owners who do not have computers, or no spare capacity on them, or who find the programming for check digit allocation too expensive. For these owners, BIC offers to calculate the check digits.

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Head:  Aleksander Fetisov
Phone:  +78123154698

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