GSIN (Global Shipment Identification Number): GS1 Identification Key

The Global Shipment Identification Number (GSIN) is the GS1 Identification Key used to identify a logical grouping of logistic units for the purpose of a transport shipment from the seller to the buyer. The unique identifier consists of a GS1 Company Prefix, a Shipper Reference, and a Check Digit.

It identifies the logical grouping of one or several logistic units, each identified with a separate SSCC and containing trade items as being part of a specific seller / buyer relationship and that travels under one dispatch advice and/or Bill of Lading.

GSIN Key Attributes

The GSIN will identify any shipment grouping of logistic units uniquely, ensuring that it is always identified correctly anywhere in the world. The shipper reference component of the GSIN provides virtually unlimited number capacity, simplifying number allocation and guaranteeing unique identification. A GSIN can be assigned by a GS1 Company Prefix licensee anywhere in the world and can be used throughout the world.

Business Benefits of Using GSINs

There are a number of benefits to using the GSIN for building a business-to-business tracking system, whether for finished goods or for raw materials. The structure of the GSIN and its assignment rules are administered by GS1®, a not-for-profit standards organization that is supported by implementation guidance, business examples, and maintenance.

In addition, the GSIN:

  • Uniquely identifies groupings of logistics units for tracking and identification
  • Provides virtually unlimited numbering capacity based on the length of your GS1 Company Prefix
  • Integrates with all GS1 supply chain processes
  • Links barcoded information to electronic communications (i.e., a Bill of Lading Number)
  • Enables fast lookup of transactional data
  • Facilitates simple electronic messaging between companies
  • May specifically identify a dispatch, a journey, or an arrival either within or between companies
  • Applies to the entire supply chain, from raw materials supplier to manufacturer to distributor/wholesaler to end-user/retailer
  • Encompasses a common vendor numbering scheme that uses the GS1 Company Prefix so that the number cannot be duplicated.

The GSIN fulfills the requirements of the Unique Consignment Reference (UCR) of the World Customs Organization (WCO), which can be used by Customs authorities to identify shipments subject to import or export processes.

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