Serial Shipping Container Code (SSCC) Labels

Need to code your pallets? SSCC Labels are required for all pallets and units that are used as a logistics units - with the SSCC Label forming a crucial role in identifying each pallet or carton and its contents. Here’s everything you need to know about the pallet label requirements of using SSCCs.

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What is a Serial Shipping Container Code?

A Serial Shipping Container Code (SSCC) uniquely identifies an individual logistic unit, such as a pallet or case, from the sender to the final recipient.

Think of it as a number plate that uniquely identifies every car. The SSCC ensures the pallet’s movements can be individually tracked and traced throughout distribution and transport, all the way to the end receiver.

Retailers rely on SSCC labels to efficiently and accurately process inbound pallets. By scanning the SSCC on the pallet label, they can automate the receiving process and reduce human error and misidentification.

  • 18-digit number commonly shown as GS1-128 barcode
  • Identifies an individual logistic unit, such as a pallet, case, air cargo container
  • Remains the same for the life of the logistic unit
  • Information can be added and shared amongst trading partners
  • Effective worldwide, thanks to GS1 Standards
  • Works in conjunction with despatch advice and advanced shipping notice (ASN)
Serial Shipping Container Code
SSCC Starter Kit- Everything you need to get started with label printing


  • Faster receiving and quick turnaround for retailers
  • Better pallet tracking from seller to retailer, which helps with product recalls
  • Improved data integrity, such as use-by date and quantity fields
  • Better stock rotation, based on use-by date
  • Easy to use label format can be printed quickly by most warehouse printers
  • Opens up opportunities for cross docking, shipment routing, automated receiving, etc.
  • Ideal for shipping Woolworths pallets and Coles pallets, as well as other retail supermarkets


SSCC Barcode

Breaking It Down - SSCC Barcodes

SSCC code numerical fields explained

  • Application Identifier (00): Used to indicate that the data following is an 18-digit SSCC.
  • Extension Digit: A digit (0-9) used to increase the capacity of the Serial Reference within the SSCC. Assigned by the company constructing the SSCC.
  • Gs1 Company Prefix: A globally unique number issued by GS1 Australia to a GS1 member company. It makes the SSCC unique worldwide but does not identify the unit’s country of origin.
  • Serial Reference: A number allocated to identify a logistic unit.
  • Check Digit: Checks for errors.

SSCC code barcode format explained

  • Commonly printed as GS1-128 barcode.
  • GS1 DataMatrix and GS1 QR Code allowed with restrictions.
  • SSCC can be encoded in Electronic Product Code (EPC) or Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tag.

Common scenarios

  • Transporting Pallets to Retailers
  • Internal pallets
  • Major Retailer DCs
Transporting Pallets to Retailers

Transporting Pallets to Retailers: You already use barcodes for your products, now you need to transport pallets filled with products to the supermarket. Use an SSCC to identify each pallet. When the shipment arrives at the distribution centre, the SSCC is matched to the Despatch Advice, so the retailer can update their systems.

SSCC Pallet Labels
Internal pallets

You are moving a load within a warehouse. Use an SSCC for internal pallet or unit identification.

SSCC Pallet Labels


Major Retailer DCs

SSCC pallet labels are required on all inbound deliveries across Woolworths, Coles and Metcash supply chain networks. With a high level of automation and high volumes of stock into the DCs, it is essential that all labels, including Coles SSCC and Woolworths SSCC, are in the right format, printed clearly and placed in the correct location on each pallet.

SSCC Pallet Labels


SSCC Shipping Common Scenarios

Essential Checklist To Create Your SSCC Label

  • Generate your SSCC number.
    • SSCC numbers must be unique for each pallet and not issued in the past 12 months
    • Date code fields are compulsory – use YYMMDD format in the barcode
    • The Application Identifier (37) is mandatory when the GTIN is represented within the Logistics unit (02) and only for homogenous log units. 
  • The light margins must not be infringed by text or logos and are a standard width.
  • The Human Readable Interpretation of the information presented in the barcode shall be no less than 3mm high, clearly legible, and preferably located below the bar code symbol.
  • Get your barcodes right.
    • Both SSCC and product information are commonly printed in the GS1-128 barcode
    • SSCC barcode magnification should be from 50-100
    • %
    • SSCC barcode should be at least 32mm in height
    • Product information barcode magnification from 25% and 100%
  • Check your SSCC labels.
    • Ensure both labels match each other and the product exactly
    • Check SSCC labels are clearly visible and not wrinkled or damaged
    • Check SSCC labels can be scanned and no print defects
  • Create your SSCC label.
    • Quiet Zones (light margins) are not infringed
    • Locate human readable information below barcodes, at least 3mm height, clear and legible
    Matthews demo SSCC
  • Apply your SSCC label to the pallet.
    • Apply on each fork-entry side of the pallet
    • Labels must be located between 400mm-800mm from floor level and indented 50-100mm from right-hand pallet edge
    • No more than one SSCC label pair should be applied to a pallet, unless it contains mixed SKUs
Label Generator

Frequently Asked Questions

What does SSCC stand for?

SSCC stands for Serialised Shipper Container Code.

Who allocates the SSCC?

The company putting together the logistics unit, such as a pallet, assigns the SSCC. GS1 Australia manages the standards for SSCC codes.

What is the date format used in SSCC labels?

The date format for SSCC labels is YYMMDD. As this is a global standard this is a commonly recognised format.

Can I reuse an SSCC?

Yes, but an individual SSCC cannot be reallocated within 12 months of the shipment date from the sender to a trading partner.

What’s the difference between an SSCC and a logistics label?

The SSCC refers to the individual code. The logistics label is the label applied to the logistics unit, such as a pallet or carton. The logistic label is often referred to as an SSCC label or pallet label because it must contain an SSCC.

Which barcodes can I use to encode an SSCC?

The SSCC is usually encoded in a GS1-128 barcode and is represented by the Application Identifier (AI) 00. You can also use a GS1 DataMatrix or QR Code with restrictions.

How do I generate an SSCC Code & Label?

There are a number of vital steps to creating an SSCC code involving the Extension Digit, your GS1 Company Prefix and the Serial Reference number (assigned by you). To simplify this process we’ve created a new online SSCC tool that is FREE and easy to use:

Is there a standard or preferred SSCC label size?

The standard SSCC label is either A5 (148mm x 210mm) or A6 format (105mm x 148mm).

Should an SSCC label be printed in portrait or landscape layout?

An SSCC label can be printed in either portrait or landscape formats and most warehouse label printers can handle either orientation. Choosing one or the other will dictate whether your barcodes are printed in ladder or picket fence directions (see our article on this discussion in the Barcode Learning Centre).

Where should my shipper label be placed in relation to the SSCC?

The shipper label should be placed either vertically above or below the SSCC label to avoid incorrect scanning and pallet rejects at automated DCs. Avoid placing the shipper barcodes horizontally inline with the SSCC barcodes.

What are the Quiet Zone requirements for SSCC labels?

A Quiet Zone (light margin) of 10mm should be maintained on both sides of the barcode symbols. If print extends into these light margins, scanners will struggle to identify the start and end of the barcode.

We use a 3PL logistics company instead of sending directly to Coles / Woolworths. How will this affect my logistics labels?

Using a 3PL logistics company means you may need to add 3PL or transport labels to get your pallets through the supply chain. Make sure these labels are placed ABOVE 800mm on your pallet and on the left-hand side of the pallet. This will ensure any barcodes on the 3PL or transport labels are not accidently scanned by the DC, and your pallets will be received first time, every time.

Real-Life Case Study

Australian-owned rice food product producer SunRice wanted to develop a solution that would efficiently mark and label their pallets and bulk bags with SSCC labels, while ensuring quality and correctness of all codes applied to their products. Our Matthews solution was to install Label Printer Applicators onto the palletising systems – these machines can effectively print and apply industry-approved SSCC labels. In addition, we implemented the package code management system, iDSnet software, which acts as a centralised point of control to reduce coding and labelling errors. Watch how SunRice is benefitting from improved efficiency and accuracy.

Read more

Sunrice Food Australia


Whilst we attempt to update this page as changes occur we do not guarantee its accuracy and recommend that you contact GS1 Australia for the most up to date advice.