One of the challenges facing companies shipping items to federal agencies is to understand the specific packaging, labeling and marking requirements for an order.
- Federal Standard 123 mirrors standard commercial packaging and marking requirements, and is used for most shipments to civilian agencies within the Continental United States (CONUS).
- Military Standard 129 has more stringent packaging, marking and labeling requirements, and is used in Dept. of Defense contracts, and for orders being shipped outside the country (OCONUS).
- Most GSA Schedule contracts include clause D-FSS-471, which often mirrors standard commercial practices – but be aware that some GSA orders may have additional requirements, so you should always check the details – for example, orders from the DoD or from GSA’s Global Supply offices often include specific marking requirements.
When an order is not packaged and marked according to the requirements, it can lead to delivery delays, as well as issues with getting paid! These delays are known as ‘Frustrated Freight’ – one of the common reasons behind ‘frustrated freight’ is the failure to mark shipments correctly.
Most overseas shipments are funneled through consolidation points within the US – most commonly (but not always!) to New Cumberland PA or Tracy CA – and can pass through many handlers, making it especially important to understand the requirements, so your shipment will be delivered on time – and you can get paid!
- The Transportation Control Number (TCN) is a 17-digit code used to manage each shipment as it passes through the supply chain.
- The Dept of Defense Activity Address Code (DoDAAC ) identifies the specific organization purchasing the item, and gives the correct mailing or ‘ship to’ address.
When you receive an order, take time to review it and ask questions.
- Does the order require any specific marking? Commercial? Military Standard 129? or Federal Standard 123?
- Is the order being shipped overseas?
Some helpful resources are:
- Defense Logistics Acquisition’s Packaging Website
- GSA’ s presentation: “Shipping Products – Marking Matters!”