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How to read a UN Location (Port) Code..

Many of us in our work environment, particularly when using the computer systems , have come across codes relating to the various ports/destinations around the country.. Example ZADUR, CNSHA, GBFXT etc..

These are known as UN/LOCODE, the United Nations Code for Trade and Transport Locations.. This is a geographic coding scheme developed and maintained by United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), a unit of the United Nations.. Codes have been assigned to seaports, airports and other inland destinations.. In general almost all destinations regularly used in trade and popular locations have their codes already registered in the UNECE system.. The current listing is said to contain more than about 62,000 locations..

There is a structure to this coding system for easy identification..

As an example we will use ZADUR which is the UN Location Code for Durban in South Africa.. The first two letters of the code ZA stand for the code of the country South Africa and the next three letters DUR stands for the actual location..

Similarly GBFXT stands for Great Britain and the port of Felixstowe.. This can refer to inland locations as well like ZAPRY where ZA is for South Africa and PRY is for Pretoria..

You might ask why ZA for South Africa when it starts with an S.. Because in the past South Africa was represented by the old dutch term Zuid-Afrika and also SA was already taken by Saudi Arabia.. If you notice, the South African currency is the ZAR which stood for Zuid-Afrikaanse Rand..

In some cases where all combinations of the three letters have been used up (like in the USA) then numbers are used some times..

Click here to download the ISO Country Code list for your reference.. The full list of location codes is too big to be reproduced here..

Hope this helps..


  1. Hi Hariesh,
    Hope you are doing good.
    After port code there are number used like INNSA1, INTKD6 and so on.
    Could you please explain on the numbering logic after codes .

  2. derrick here. how are you. wud like to gather info about chartering, despatch, demurrage…etc..would u be able to assist

  3. Dear sir,

    I work in a Freight Forwarding company. I have also plan to enter in document section in shipping line in future.
    I want to gather knowledge in this side. Both forwarding, shipping and courier. Please advise how I can be member in your valuable blog.

    Susmita Golam

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