Global Shipment Identification Number (GSIN)

GSIN (Global Shipment Identification Number) is a globally unique number which is used to identify a grouping of logistic units which are part of the same shipment. GSIN also meets the requirements for UCR (Unique Consignment Reference) according to the World Customs Organisation, WCO.

How to create a GSIN

A GSIN is 17 digits long and consists of the GS1 Company Prefix, a sequence number and a check digit.

  • The GS1 Company Prefix consists of 6-9 digits.
  • The sequence number consists of 7-10 digits depending on the length of the company prefix. We recommend that you number shipments sequentially which means that the first shipment is given number “…001”, the second “…002”, and so on.
  • The check digit is calculated according to GS1's method for check digit calculation.

How to create a GSIN with a Company Prefix consisting of nine digits:

If the Company Prefix consists of less than nine digits the GSIN is created in the same way as above, but the sequence number will consist of more than seven digits.

Putting a GSIN in a barcode or a RFID/EPC tag

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

GS1-128 contains so-called application identifiers (AI). They describe the information in the barcode. The application identifiers consist of two to four digits and are put in brackets under the barcode together with the information they are describing. The application identifier for GSIN is 402.

Using GSIN to identify a shipment

When a shipment is identified with a GSIN, it is possible to track the logistic units from the consignor to the consignee.

GSIN can be used by all parties in the transport chain to identify a shipment. In Electronic Data Interchange messages it can be used as a shipment reference. GSIN also meets the requirements for UCR (Unique Consignment Reference) according to the World Customs Organisation, WCO.

Normally it is the manufacturer, supplier or consignor who identifies the shipment with a GSIN, but this may also be done by the forwarder or carrier.

Example: Consignor A is sending two pallets of goods to consignee B. The loads on each pallet have been identified with two different SSCCs (Serial Shipping Container Code).

Since both pallets in figure 1 are part of the same shipment, the consignor identifies the two pallets with the same GSIN, allowing the shipment to be tracked from A to B. Figure 2 shows that when the two pallets are transported by different methods they nonetheless remain part of the same shipment with the same GSIN.


Consignor - the party sending the goods.
Consignee - the party receiving the goods.
Forwarder - the party planning the transport on behalf of the consignor or consignee.
Carrier - the party transporting the goods between two points.