GS1 Shipping Number (GSIN)

About GSIN

Global Shipment Identification Number (GSIN) is a GS1 freight number used to number a specified number of logistic units included in the same shipment. GSIN can be used by all parties in the transport flow to number the freight. In electronic business messages, GSIN is used as a reference number for the freight.

Why is GSIN needed?

By numbering a shipment with GSIN, the logistic units can be traced from the shipper to the receiver. GSIN also meets the requirements for the Unique Consignment Reference (UCR) of the World Customs Organization (WCO).

GSIN integrates with all GS1 standards and can be used locally, globally and throughout the supply chain. Identifying a shipment with GSIN enables efficient information sharing through, for example, encoding into a barcode or as an electronic message.

The benefits of GSIN

Better traceability
Each consignment can be traced from the consignor to the consignee.
Electronic messages
Reference numbers, transport instructions and transport status can be sent electronically.
Used globally
Can be used for both domestic and international shipping.

Businesses use shipping numbers to

  • By numbering a shipment with GSIN, the logistic units can be traced from the shipper to the receiver.

  • Meet the Unique Consignment Reference (UCR) requirements of the World Customs Organization (WCO).

  • GSIN is now used worldwide and can be used for both domestic and international shipping.

  • The GSIN can be encoded by the shipper in a barcode or as text on a consignment note, or on a logistics label in addition to the SSCC code.

  • Get traceability, as the number identifies each unique shipment.

  • Streamline transportation thanks to fast and secure tracking.

  • Link to further information about the shipment.

  • Share data electronically via EDI such as transport instructions and the transport status of the shipment between the freight forwarder and the transport provider. It can also be used as a reference in the delivery notification.

  • Quickly and accurately read the shipment anywhere in the world as the number can be encoded in a barcode or EPC/RFID tag.

How is GSIN used?

The logistic units have the same GSIN during all transport stages, from start to final destination. GSIN identifies a group of logistic units, each of which is identified with a GS1 package number (SSCC).

The most common barcode to transmit GSIN is GS1-128, but it is also possible to use an EPC/RFID tag.

GS1-128 includes so called application identifiers (AI). They describe the type of information contained in the barcode. An application identifier consists of two to four digits and is printed in parentheses below the barcode along with the information it describes. The application identifier for GSIN is 402.

The recommendation is that suppliers or shippers should number shipments with GSIN. Carriers and Transport System Suppliers (TAS) can also use their GS1 company prefixes to create GSINs.

It is possible to create GSIN via GS1 Sweden’s website or in your own systems. For more information on how to do this, see our getting started guide Creating GS1 shipping numbers (GSIN) in the next section.

According to the global standard, GSIN cannot be reused until after 10 years. For domestic transport, the industry recommends the same reuse period, i.e. 10 years.

Standards and implementation guides

Here you can find shortcuts to standards, specifications, help guides and guidelines for implementation.

No. The GS1 Company Prefix that you already have been assigned is used in the GSIN.

Use GSINs to identify a group of logistic units for the purpose of a transport shipment that travels under the one bill of lading. 
When you need to identify one or a number of logistic units (for example pallets) included in the same shipment.

GSINs are distinctly different from SSCCs. The GSIN provides identification of the logical grouping of one or several logistic units, where each of those logistic units could be identified by a different SSCC.

The difference is that: 

  • The GSIN is used to reflect the commercial aspects between the buyer and seller and identifies a shipment that has to be moved from one place to another, irrespective of the physical handling.  
  • The GINC is used to reflect the detailed logistics process used by the freight forwarder or Logistic Service Provider (LSP) to identify groupings of logistics units as appropriate in the chosen way of transport. Hence, one GSIN can result in several consignments, while in one consignment, goods from several shipments can be shipped. 

The equipment you choose should have software that is compatible with the type of scanner you have selected and should be able to read the GS1-128 barcode symbol.

No. An individual Global Shipment Identification Number (GSIN) is a unique number, which remains the same for the life of the grouping of logistics or transport units to which it is assigned.

When assigning a GSIN, the rule is that an individual GSIN number must not be reallocated within ten years of the shipment date from the seller or sender of the GSIN to a trading partner buyer or recipient to comply with the regulations of the World Customs Organization (WCO). For goods that circulate within one country (domestic transport), the period of re-use is based on either governmental, industry or the discretion of the seller (sender) of the goods. In Sweden the recommendation is to apply the ten year rule.

How many GSIN can I generate? 
It depends on how many digits your GS1-Company Prefix is at, see below:

If you want to look up your GS1 Company Prefix, you can look it up here: 

  • GSIN consists of 17 digits, SIS fraktsedelsnummer consists of 10 digits. 
  • GSIN can be used both domestically and internationally. SIS fraktsedelsnummer is used domestically. 
  • GSIN can be reused after a period of 10 years for international transport. For domestic, the same period is recommended. SIS fraktsedelsnummer can be reused after 2 years. 
  • GS1 company prefix is ​​required to generate GSIN, it is recommended to use the seller´s/transport buyer´s company prefix in the first instance. 
  • GSIN meet the Unique Consignment Reference (UCR) requirements of the World Customs Organization (WCO) 
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