Bureau International des Containers

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The Bureau International des Containers et du Transport Intermodal, originally French: Bureau International des Conteneurs, and still abbreviated BIC, and in English parlance sometimes called International Container Bureau[1][2] oversees standards for intermodal containers, commonly referred to as "shipping containers".

The goal of the organization is to promote cooperation among corporations, governments and independent organizations relating to intermodal freight transport, the process of containerization, and the transport and handling of shipping containers.

BIC was originally established in 1933 under the auspices of the International Chamber of Commerce. The Bureau suspended its operations during World War II, with resumption in 1948.[3]

In June 1933, the Bureau decided about obligatory parameters for containers uses in international traffic in Europe. Containers handled by means of lifting gear, such as cranes, overhead conveyors, etc. for traveling elevators (group I containers), constructed after July 1, 1933. Obligatory Regulations:

  • Clause 1.—Containers are, as regards form, either of the closed or the open type, and, as regards capacity, either of the heavy or the light type.
  • Clause 2.—The loading capacity of containers must be such that their total weight (load, plus tare) is: 5 metric tons for containers of the heavy type; 2.5 metric tons for containers of the light type; a tolerance of 5 percent excess on the total weight is allowable under the same conditions as for wagon loads.
Obligatory norms for European containers since 1 July 1933
Heavy types length [m] width [m] height [m] Total mass [tons]
Close type 62 3.25 2.15 2.20 5
Close type 42 2.15 2.15 2.20
Open type 61 3.25 2.15 1.10
Open type 41 2.15 2.15 1.10
Light Type length [m] width [m] height [m] Total mass [tons]
Close type 22 2.15 1.05 2.20 2,5
Close type 201 2.15 1.05 1.10
Open type 21 2.15 1.05 1.10

In April 1935 BIC established second standard for European containers:[4]

Obligatory norms for European containers since 1 April 1935
Category Length [m] Width [m] Height [m] Total mass [tons]
Heavy types
Close 62 3,25 2.15 2,550 5
Close 42 2,15 2,15 2,550
Open 61 3,25 2,15 1,125
Open 41 2,15 2,15 1,125
Light Type
Close 32 1,50 2,15 2,550 2,5
Close 22 1,05 2,15 2,550

Between 14–23 April 1951 in Zurich Tiefenbrunnen under the auspices of the Club «Museum of Transport, Switzerland, Swiss Transportation" and Bureau International des Containers "(BIC) held demonstrations container systems aim to select the best solution for Western Europe. Present were representatives from Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Great Britain, Italy and the USA. Based on solution of Netherlands system for waste transportation and consumer goods under the name "Laadkisten" used since 1934 with permissible gross mass of the container was 3000 kg and dimensions ok.2,5 * 2 * 2m, reloading held by dragging rope winch tow car, was choose a container system for west Europe know as the first after World War II European standard UIC 590, also known as "Pa-Behälter." This system has been implemented in Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, West Germany, Switzerland and Sweden. Along with the gradual popularization of large container type ISO, system "Pa-Behälter" was withdrawn from use by the railways. In the 70s of the last century began to be widely used for the transport of waste in the system of a car. [5]

BIC was elected by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in the late 1960s as the single registrar office in charge of the registration and protection of the containers owners and operators's identification code ("BIC code") later standardised as ISO 6346. This ensures a unique code number for every shipping container in the world, and these must be registered with BIC. The Customs Convention on Containers (CCC-1972) in a recent amendment enforced in 2008 also makes reference to the ISO 6346 and code registration with BIC to allow the free circulation of containers worldwide.

The BIC is headquartered 41 rue Réaumur, 75003, Paris, France.


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