The number assigned to a certain space reservation by the carrier or the carrier’s agent.
A booking number is the number assigned to a certain space reservation by the carrier or the carrier’s agent. It is a unique reference number that the booking agency will provide to both the shipper and carrier after a successful booking has been conducted.
This number should also be indicated on the shipping document or bill of lading.
This unique reference number will help in generating a record for future references and bookings, as well as to easily retrieve the booking details.
The booking number will vary based on the shipping mode or transportation used.
The booking number for air transport will usually consist of two letters and six digits. The first letter is the abbreviation for the carrier, while the second letter indicates the physical location where shipment was made or booked. The numbers that follow are actual booking numbers per set.
For example, if the booking number is 5AJ73850, it means that it was made by “AE” (Abu Dhabi) at their office in “5” (Hong Kong). It has a total of eight units with units one to four reflecting the airline company code and units five to eight assigned consecutively.
Since there are only 26 letters of the alphabet, some carriers use more than one letter for their code. For instance, if the code is “LY”, it means that the booking was made by Libyan Airlines.
If the code is “XU”, it refers to Xiamen Airlines.
The following are examples of shipping modes with their corresponding abbreviations:
o Land Transport – LX, LK, TQ, TL
o Sea Transport – SS, CS, TH, CZ
o Air Transport – AE, AF, AY, AZ
Since space in ships are limited and usually assigned per unit or TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit) , a smaller number for volume capacity will be used compared to road transport which may have larger capacities. Shipping lines use an alphanumeric system where letters indicate either a port or shipping line and numbers follow in ascending order.
For instance, if the booking number is “GS-SX-1”, it means that it was booked by South Africa Shipping Lines at its office in Singapore for a total of one TEU.
If the code is “MSC036”, it refers to MSC which has 36 containers available to book.
A booking number is usually issued after payment has been received for space reservation or shipment documents have been safely delivered with necessary documents attached for auditing purposes. This also indicates that the cargo has already been received by the carrier’s agent either through land, sea, air or other types of transportation used.