CEN adopts EN13044 (ILU-Code) 03/11/10

< Back to list

The European Committee for Standardization (CEN) has adopted with a substantial majority the reworked standard EN13044 for the marking of intermodal loading units (ILUs). This will bring a fundamental modernisation in the codification of swap-bodies and semitrailers used in continental Combined Transport.

The codification of intermodal loading units consists of three steps which will be reorganised:

1. Proof whether the loading unit has been built to the required safety standards.
2. Award of rail gauge-codes: indicates which rail routes the given ILU can be transported on.
3. Owner identification.

While up to now the owner of a loading unit had to apply at a railway undertaking or combined transport operator for individual codification, the ILU will in future be delivered by its manufacturer already equipped with traffic-worthiness certification and a rail gauge-code.

The owner identification of swap-bodies and semitrailers used in Combined Transport will follow a similar process as with maritime containers; the so-called BIC-codes for these are issued by the Paris-based “Bureau International des Containers”. This system, as it has been conceived, would not offer sufficient codes if it should be required by all European road hauliers owning loading units.

Every European transport company who owns ILUs designated for exclusively intra-European transport may apply for owner identification, the so-called ILU-(owner)code, in compliance with EN13044 , distributed by UIRR from 1 July 2011.


Structure of the BIC- and ILU-code

ABCU 001234

Owner key, fourth character “U” for worldwide use or A, B, D, E, K for ILUs
Registration number
Check digit


Every stakeholder and customer of Combined Transport-chains will benefit from this development:

  • All standardised loading units, even if initially purchased for road transport only, will become certified for combined transport;
  • Logistics enterprises may include numbering all their loading units according to their own criteria as well;
  • No re-codification of ILUs will be necessary upon a change in ownership;
  • The compatibility of BIC- and ILU-codes will ease electronic data exchange;
  • The use of a control digit which detects 95% of data-input errors promises reliability and a saving in work-hours;
  • The owner codes are suitable for Optical Character Recognition (OCR); and
  • Compatibility with TAF-TSI requirements for IT systems used in rail freight is ensured.

UIC railways and UIRR Operators have jointly agreed an implementation plan for the transition to the new EN13044 standard during their INTERUNIT meeting in the end of October:

1. An information campaign will be launched in the spring of 2011 using a multilingual brochure aimed at professional stakeholders and Combined Transport customers.
2. UIRR will begin issuing ILU-(owner)codes from July 2011 and railway undertakings and CT-Operators will start issuing the new code plates.
3. Following a three-year transition period (from July 2014) railways and UIRR Operators will only accept ILUs marked with either a BIC- or an ILU-code.
4. After a transition period of eight years (from July 2019) no other operational marking may be contained on ILUs than the codification plates specified in EN13044.^


Example of new codification plates (swap bodies)

Related documents
Full text (PDF) DE EN FR
Introduction of the ILU-Code for swap-bodies and semi-trailers DE EN FR