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Although mainly used in Europe and Far East, UN/EDIFACT it is considered to be the primary standard for international trade using EDI.  EDIFACT stands for "Electronic Data Interchange for Administration, Commerce and Transport." 


UN/EDIFACT documents are called Messages.  Messages are made up of segments and segment groups.  Segments are made up of Data Elements and Composite Data Elements. Data within a message, must appear in the order presented in the message structure definition.

UN/EDIFACT data is transmitted in packages called interchanges. The different enveloping segments of an UN/EDIFACT interchange are:

Some of the rules for usage are:

  • The UNA is used if and only if different separator characters than those defined for the character set are being used.
  • The UNB is mandatory (so is the corresponding UNZ). It contains information which is used to transfer the data to a particular trading partner.
  • The UNG is optional (so is the corresponding UNE). It contains information about the type of messages and also provides routing information for the data to reach the appropriate application or party.
  • Every message must be bounded by a UNH and a UNT.

More information on the structure and usage of envelopes in UN/EDIFACT is available in ISO 9735 (the ISO standard which defines the syntax for UN/EDIFACT).

Data Separators

In UN/EDIFACT, most non-alphabetic, non-numeric characters can be used as separator characters. Although there are slight differences between the various character sets, the defaults are:

segment terminator ' (apostrophe)
element separator + (plus)
component element separator : (colon)
repeating element separator character * (asterisk)
release character ? (question mark)
decimal mark . (period/full stop) or , (comma)

If you decide to change any of the separator characters, you must use the UNA segment.


UN/EDIFACT releases new versions of messages, segments, and elements in Directories. Nowadays, UN/EDIFACT will release two directories each year:  The A directory in March and the B directory in September.  For example, in 1998 UN/EDIFACT released the D.98A and D.98B directories.

EDIFACT Messages

APERAK Application error and acknowledgement message
AUTHOR Authorization message

BALANC Balance message
BANSTA Banking status message
BAPLIE Bayplan/stowage plan occupied and empty locations message
BAPLTE Bayplan/stowage plan total numbers message
BMISRM Bulk marine inspection summary report message
BOPBNK Bank transactions and portfolio transactions report message
BOPCUS Balance of payment customer transaction report message
BOPDIR Direct balance of payment declaration message
BOPINF Balance of payment information from customer message

CALINF Vessel call information message
CASINT Request for legal administration actionin civil proceedings
CASRES Legal administration response in civil proceedings message
CHACCO Chart of accounts message
COARRI Container discharge/loading report message
CODECO Container gate-in/gate-out report message
CODENO Permit expiration/clearance ready noticemessage
COEDOR Container stock report message
COHAOR Container special handling order message
COLREQ Request for a documentary collection message
COMDIS Commercial dispute message
CONAPW Advice on pending works message
CONDPV Direct payment valuation message
CONDRA Drawing administration message
CONDRO Drawing organisation message
CONEST Establishment of contract message
CONITT Invitation to tender message
CONPVA Payment valuation message
CONQVA Quantity valuation message
CONRPW Response of pending works message
CONTEN Tender message
CONWQD Work item quantity determination message
COPARN Container announcement message
COPINO Container pre-notification message
COPRAR Container discharge/loading order message
COREOR Container release order message
COSTCO Container stuffing/stripping confirmation message
COSTOR Container stuffing/stripping order message
CREADV Credit advice message
CREEXT Extended credit advice message
CREMUL Multiple credit advice message
CUSCAR Customs cargo report message
CUSDEC Customs declaration message
CUSEXP Customs express consignment declaration message
CUSPED Periodic customs declaration message
CUSREP Customs conveyance report message
CUSRES Customs response message

DEBADV Debit advice message
DEBMUL Multiple debit advice message
DELFOR Delivery schedule message
DELJIT Delivery just in time message
DESADV Despatch advice message
DESTIM Equipment damage and repair estimate message
DGRECA Dangerous goods recapitulation message
DIRDEB Direct debit message
DIRDEF Directory definition message
DMRDEF Data maintenance request definition message
DMSTAT Data maintenance status report/query message
DOCADV Documentary credit advice message
DOCAMA Advice of an amendment of a documentary credit message
DOCAMI Documentary credit amendment information message
DOCAMR Request for an amendment of a documentary credit message
DOCAPP Documentary credit application message
DOCARE Response to an amendment of a documentary credit message
DOCINF Documentary credit issuance information message

ENTREC Accounting entries message

FINCAN Financial cancellation message
FINPAY Multiple interbank funds transfer message
FINSTA Financial statement of an account message

GENRAL General purpose message
GESMES Generic statistical message

HANMOV Cargo/goods handling and movement message

IFCSUM Forwarding and consolidation summary message
IFTCCA Forwarding and transport shipment charge calculation message
IFTDGN Dangerous goods notification message
IFTFCC International transport freight costs and other charges
IFTIAG Dangerous cargo list message
IFTMAN Arrival notice message
IFTMBC Booking confirmation message
IFTMBF Firm booking message
IFTMBP Provisional booking message
IFTMCS Instruction contract status message
IFTMIN Instruction message
IFTRIN Forwarding and transport rate information message
IFTSAI Forwarding and transport schedule and availability
information message
IFTSTA International multimodal status report message
IFTSTQ International multimodal status request message
IMPDEF Edi implementation guide definition message
INFENT Enterprise accounting information message
INSDES Instruction to despatch message
INSPRE Insurance premium message
INVOIC Invoice message
INVRPT Inventory report message
IPPOMO Motor insurance policy message
ITRRPT In transit report detail message

JAPRES Job application result message
JINFDE Job information demand message
JOBAPP Job application proposal message
JOBCON Job order confirmation message
JOBMOD Job order modification message
JOBOFF Job order message


LREACT Life reinsurance activity message
LRECLM Life reinsurance claims message

MEDPID Person identification message
MEDREQ Medical service request message
MEDRPT Medical service report message
MEDRUC Medical resource usage and cost message
MEQPOS Means of transport and equipment position message
MOVINS Stowage instruction message
MSCONS Metered services consumption report message


ORDCHG Purchase order change request message
ORDERS Purchase order message
ORDRSP Purchase order response message
OSTENQ Order status enquiry message
OSTRPT Order status report message

PARTIN Party information message
PAXLST Passenger list message
PAYDUC Payroll deductions advice message
PAYEXT Extended payment order message
PAYMUL Multiple payment order message
PAYORD Payment order message
PRICAT Price/sales catalogue message
PRIHIS Pricing history message
PRODAT Product data message
PRODEX Product exchange reconciliation message
PROINQ Product inquiry message
PROTAP Project tasks planning message
PRPAID Insurance premium payment message

QALITY Quality data message
QUOTES Quote message

RDRMES Raw data reporting message
REBORD Reinsurance bordereau message
RECADV Receiving advice message
RECALC Reinsurance calculation message
RECECO Credit risk cover message
RECLAM Reinsurance claims message
REMADV Remittance advice message
REPREM Reinsurance premium message
REQDOC Request for document message
REQOTE Request for quote message
RESETT Reinsurance settlement message
RESMSG Reservation message
RETACC Reinsurance technical account message
RETANN Announcement for returns message
RETINS Instruction for returns message

SAFHAZ Safety and hazard data message
SANCRT International movement of goods governmental regulatory
SLSFCT Sales forecast message
SLSRPT Sales data report message
SOCADE Social administration message
SSIMOD Modification of identity details message
SSRECH Worker's insurance history message
SSREGW Notification of registration of a worker message
STATAC Statement of account message
STLRPT Settlement transaction reporting message
SUPCOT Superannuation contributions advice message
SUPMAN Superannuation maintenance message
SUPRES Supplier response message

TANSTA Tank status report message


VATDEC Value added tax message
VESDEP Vessel departure message

WASDIS Waste disposal information message
WKGRDC Work grant decision message
WKGRRE Work grant request message




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