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Frequently Asked Questions - Marking

Listed below are compiled packing FAQs for the 'Marking' topic. Our 'Marking' web page identifies what constitutes marking and covers marking requirement issues. If your question is not listed, please use either our feedback form to add a Packaging FAQ to this listing or E-mail us directly at: DSCC.packaging@dla.mil

NAVIGATIONAL BAR:   IDENTIFICATION | SHELFLIFE | SPECIAL MARKINGS | ESD | ASSORTED ITEMS | CONSOLIDATED CONTAINER| NMWPM | KITS | LABELS | OBLITERATING PAINT | C&T MARKINGS | HELP ME

OVERVIEW (MIL-STD-129R, Military Marking for Shipment and Storage (18 February 2014)        Please see NOTICE TO DLA SUPPLIERS

  • Why is marking necessary?
    Marking is required to assist our depot personnel sort shipments and pull stock to fill requisitions. Marking also aids our customers to identify items received. If an item has a discrepancy, it can be traced to the originator by the markings on the package, if the paperwork is separated from the item. Identification markings assist our packaging staff pin-point discrepant items and keep stock inspections economical by narrowing our inspection requests to a specific contract number.


  • What happens if I do not properly mark and label shipments?
    The lack of required markings may cause unnecessary delay in the shipment of critical material to our Military customers. We ask the all contractors emphasize the importance of properly marked and labeled shipments to their employees and incorporate quality inspections to ensure shipments are properly marked and labeled. To view common mistakes, visit the following web pages: Typical Discrepancies and Supporting OCONUS Shipments.


  • Are there standard size labels for unit, intermediate, and exterior containers?
    Unless otherwise specified herein or by the cognizant activity, the lettering/marking shall be in capital letters of equal height, clearly visible, and the largest size practical for the package size within the acceptable range. When marking space permits, stenciled or pre-printed marking shall be not less than 0.09 inch (2.3 mm)." (Reference MIL-STD-129R, paragraph 4.2.8)


IDENTIFICATION MARKINGS

  • What is the minimum identification information that can be marked on all unit packs, intermediate containers and unpacked items?
    The following is the required marking in the order listed:
    (Note: Any additional identification markings required by the contract shall be placed below these markings or in a conspicuous location on the identification-marked side of the container).
    • National Stock Number: NSN/NATO stock number. The in-the-clear NSN text, if applicable, shall include spaces or dashes and any prefix or suffix specified in the contract or solicitation. If no NSN is assigned, the blank line may be omitted. NOTE: The encoded NSN in the linear (Code 39) or 2D (PDF417) bar codes and human-readable interpretation below the linear (Code 39) bar code, as applicable, shall not include spaces or dashes, unless otherwise specified in the contract or solicitation.
    • CAGE Code: The CAGE code of the company awarded the contract for the item being shipped. The CAGE code shall be preceded by the abbreviation "CAGE".
    • Part Number: Part number cited in the contract
    • Item Description or Nomenclature: The exact name and description of an item as it appears in the contract, purchase order or requisition shall be shown.
    • Quantity and Unit of Issue: A non-definitive UI shall be accompanied by a quantitative expression such as " RO (100 FT)".
    • Contract number or purchase order number (procurement instrument identification number (PIIN)): Including four-digit delivery order or call number
    • Military preservation method and date of unit preservation: e.g., "M41-4/02" - method 41, from MIL-STD-2073-1, was provided in April 2002).
    • Shelf life: shelf-life marking, if applicable (see paragraph 5.10.1)
    • Serial number(s): When an item is assigned a serial number, that number shall be applied and preceded by the abbreviation "SER NO" (see paragraph 5.4.1.1.1).
    • [REFERENCES: MIL-STD-129R, paragraph 5.1.1(a-i)]


  • Where are the markings supposed to be placed on unit pack, and intermediate containers?
    Identification text marking on unit packs and intermediate containers shall be so located as to allow the marking to be easily read and to ensure that the marking will not be destroyed when the pack or container is opened for inspection or until its contents have been used. The marking surface of a unit pack shall be the outermost wrap, bag, or container of the unit pack. When a barrier bag is used within another unit container, both the bag and the outermost container shall be marked. Bundled items should be marked with a tag or by affixing a label under one of the bundled ties. The required marking should be placed so that it is not obscured by any strapping or closure tape.
    [REFERENCES: MIL-STD-129R, paragraph 5.3.1]


  • What is the minimum identification information that can be marked on all exterior containers?
    The following is the required marking in the order listed:
    (Note: Any additional identification markings required by the contract shall be placed below these markings or in a conspicuous location on the identification-marked side of the container).
    • National Stock Number: NSN/NATO stock number. The in-the-clear NSN text, if applicable, shall include spaces or dashes and any prefix or suffix specified in the contract or solicitation. If no NSN is assigned, the blank line may be omitted. NOTE: The encoded NSN in the linear (Code 39) or 2D (PDF417) bar codes and human-readable interpretation below the linear (Code 39) bar code, as applicable, shall not include spaces or dashes, unless otherwise specified in the contract or solicitation.
    • CAGE Code: The CAGE code of the company awarded the contract for the item being shipped. The CAGE code shall be preceded by the abbreviation "CAGE".
    • Part Number: Part number cited in the contract
    • Item Description or Nomenclature: Unless otherwise specified, shall be blank.
    • Quantity and Unit of Issue: A non-definitive UI shall be accompanied by a quantitative expression such as "1 RO (100 FT)".
    • Contract number or purchase order number (procurement instrument identification number (PIIN)): Including four-digit delivery order or call number
    • Military preservation method and date of unit preservation: e.g., "M41-4/02" - method 41, from MIL-STD-2073-1, was provided in April 2002).
    • Gross weight. The gross weight shall be expressed in pounds rounded up to the nearest pound. The gross weight shall be preceded by the abbreviation "WT".
    • Proper shipping name (PSN) and North American (NA) or United Nations (UN) HAZMAT identification number, where assigned (see paragraph 5.13.2).
    • Shelf life: shelf-life marking, if applicable (see paragraph 5.10.1
    • Serial number(s): When an item is assigned a serial number, that number shall be applied and preceded by the abbreviation "SER NO" (see paragraph 5.4.1.1.1).
    • Hazardous materials. Hazardous materials (HAZMAT), ammunition, and explosives marking (see 5.13 and 5.14). [REFERENCES: MIL-STD-129R, paragraph 5.1.2(a-l)]
    Note: Boxes and crates 10 cubic feet and over shall have additional identification marking placed on the end of the container to the left of the identification-marked side. (Reference: MIL-STD-129R, para 5.3.2.1.a)


  • What does the 'M' mean in the identification markings and where can I find the preceding digits that follow it?
    The 'M' stands for the military preservation method. The two-digit number which precedes the 'M' is the preservation method code. The preservation method code can be found on your contract under the ' Prep For Delivery' heading, typically titled 'PRES MTHD' in DLA contracts.
    [REFERENCES: MIL-STD-129R, paragraph 5.1.1.g]


  • The packaging requirements specify that the item is to be packaged in a barrier bag, then place it within a box. Which container should be marked - the barrier bag or the box?
    When a barrier bag is used within another unit container, both the bag and the outmost container must be marked with identification markings.1.
    [REFERENCES: MIL-STD-129R, paragraph 5.3.1]


  • If a contract does not cite a part number, what is shown in place of the part number (P/N) for identification purposes?
    'If the item has no PN assigned to it or if no PN is cited, the blank line may be omitted'.
    [REFERENCES: MIL-STD-129R, paragraph 5.1.1.c]


  • Is the contract number and the four digit call number required as part of the exterior container contract data markings?
    Yes. "Contract number or purchase order number (PIIN). The contract number or PIIN, including four-digit delivery order or call number, modification for change order number, and lot number shall be shown.'
    1. When more than one contract is applicable to an assorted-items pack, the contract number is not required on the exterior container or palletized unit load, but shall be applied to each unit pack and container in the exterior container or palletized unit load.
    2. Unless specifically required by a military Service or Agency directive, contract identification marking (specifically 5.1.2.f) is not required on exterior containers, palletized unit loads, or unpacked items when items are repacked for shipment by military installations.
    3. For DLA Troop Support clothing and textile (C&T) items, the following additional marking is required: shipment number and container number. The container number shall be consecutively numbered from each shipping point for the duration of the contract. For multiple container shipments of C&T items, the packing list shall be placed inside the last container to be loaded for each shipment. The words "PACKING LIST HERE" shall be marked on the container."
    [REFERENCES: MIL-STD-129R, paragraph 5.1.2.f]


  • Where are the markings supposed to be placed on exterior containers?
    "The exact location of the identification text marking may vary slightly. The marking shall be applied to the upper left two-thirds of the side of the container or palletized unit load having the greatest overall, usable marking surface. Specific requirements for the placement of the identification text marking on various containers, palletized unit loads, and unpacked items are discussed in the following paragraphs. The required marking shall not be obscured by cleats, strapping, or closure tape. Unless otherwise specified in the contract or solicitation or when required by the carrier, such as parcel post, one end and the top and bottom of every exterior container or palletized unit load shall be free of identification marking. Marking materials used shall meet the requirements specified in section 5. Unless otherwise specified by the cognizant activity, the size of the identification text marking lettering shall be as specified in 4.2.8."
    [REFERENCES: MIL-STD-129R, paragraph 5.3.2]



SPECIAL MARKING CODES

  • What are special marking codes?
    'Special markings are considered an integral part of the total pack required to identify and protect the contained item during packaging, storage, transit, and removal from the pack and must be applied to the containers according to MIL-STD-1291.' These codes identify specific markings and/or labels required on each container. 'Every contract or solicitation shall include all special marking requirements applicable to the contract. Unless otherwise specified, the special marking shall be placed in a conspicuous location on the identification-marked side of the applicable container, palletized unit load, or unpacked item2.' Our Special Marking web page covers the special marking codes and explanation of each code3
    [REFERENCE: MIL-STD-2073-1D, Appendix J, paragraph J.4.12.11; MIL-STD-129R, paragraph 5.10] 2; and MIL-STD-2073-1D, Table J.X 3 ]

SHELF-LIFE MARKINGS

  • What is shelf life?
    The total period of time beginning with the date of manufacture, cure, assembly, or pack and terminated by the date by which the item must be placed into service (expiration date) or subjected to inspection, test, and/or restoration (inspect/test date). Shelf life should not be confused with service life.
    [REFERENCES: MIL-STD-129R, paragraph 3.2]


  • What document governs shelf life?
    Shelf life items are managed and controlled in accordance with DoD 4140.27-M.
    [REFERENCES: MIL-STD-129R, paragraph 5.10.1]


  • How do I know if the item requires shelf life markings?
    Shelf life markings are specified in contracts, purchase orders, purchase descriptions, specifications, materials standards, and other procurement documents.
    [REFERENCES: MIL-STD-129]


  • What are shelf life markings?
    There are two types of shelf life items.
    1. TYPE I - These items have a definite non extendible period of shelf-life. They are assigned alpha shelf-life codes (SLCs) (excluding 'X').
    2. TYPE II - These items have an assigned shelf-life period that may be extended after completion of inspection, test, or restorative action. Type II items are assigned numeric SLCs and 'X'.
    3. For more information on Shelf life, view the: Shelf Life Code Table, DRN 2943.
    [REFERENCES: MIL-STD-129, MIL-STD-2073-1D, Table J.X]

  • Are the words 'shelf life' required to be printed in-the-clear when applying shelf life markings?
    No. The words 'shelf life' or 'TYPE I' or 'TYPE II' shall not be applied as part of the shelf-life markings. NOTE: Figure 28 is an illustration to show the location of the shelf life markings, not the actual shelf life markings themselves.

    Paragraph 5.10.1. provides the following examples of the proper shelf life markings:
      EXAMPLE 1 (TYPE I)               EXAMPLE 2 (TYPE II)               EXAMPLE 3 (TYPE II)
      MFD DATE 10/91                     ASSEMBLED DATE 10/92         CURED DATE 4Q92
      EXP DATE 10/93                      INSP/TEST DATE 10/93            INSP/TEST DATE 4Q93
    [REFERENCES: MIL-STD-129, paragraph 5.10.1 and Figure 28]


  • Where are shelf life markings placed?
    When shelf-life markings are required, they shall be shown below the item identification data on the unit packs, intermediate containers, exterior containers, and unpacked items. Shelf-life markings shall include the manufactured, cured, assembled or packed date (apply one date), and the expiration or inspect/test date, as appropriate. Further guidance on shelf-life markings can be found in MIL-STD-129.
    [REFERENCES: MIL-STD-129, paragraph 5.10.1 and Figure 28]


  • If an item has a shelf life requirement and the packaging requirements do not call it out, who do I contact?
    For DLA Land and Maritime managed material, contact our office at: (614) 692-4227/3757/3345, or fax us at: (614) 692-1901, or e-mail us at: DSCC.packaging@dla.mil


  • If I have material, which was already packaged and marked prior to an NSN change, do I need to repackage and remark the material?
    If the packaged material conforms to the current packaging requirements on contract, do not repackage it. However, if it does not - make the necessary changes to comply with the contract or request a packaging waiver.

    Regarding the marking, obliterate the previous markings in accordance with MIL-STD-129 by using any quick drying, opaque lacquer, ink, enamel or paint that is similar to the color of the container. Once dry, apply the new label with the revised National Stock Number. Remember to use the previous pack date.
    [REFERENCE: MIL-STD-129P, paragraph 5.1.1.3]



ELECTROSTATIC SENSITIVE DEVICE MARKINGS

  • Does electrostatic sensitive devices require special marking?
    Yes, all our ESD items have a special marking code of '39 - ESD sensitive electronic device requirements of MIL-STD-129 apply'. An illustration of the labels are available at our ESD Labels web page
    [REFERENCE: MIL-STD-2073-1D, ]



ASSORTED ITEMS & MULTIPACK MARKINGS

  • If I have unrelated items composed of mixed NSNs which do not support a specific weapon system or end item and are consolidated into a shipping container, do I mark using the 'assorted items' reference or the 'consolidated container' reference?
    You will mark the shipping container using the 'assorted items' requirements for unrelated items. '...In lieu of the identification markings required by 5.1.2, the shipping container shall be marked with the following information in the order listed:   the word 'MULTIPACK' (line 1) and the gross weight (line 2).

    Example:   MULTIPACK
                     WT 100
    NOTES:
    1. In addition to shelf-life marking on interior packages or unpacked items, the words "CONTAINS SHELF-LIFE ITEMS" shall be placed below the identification text marking on the exterior container or palletized unit load of an assorted-items pack containing shelf-life materiel.
    2. For an assorted-items pack of hazardous materials, see 5.13.3 and 5.13.5.6 for the required container and palletized unit load identification marking and for additional marking of "OVERPACK" and "AIR ELIGIBLE", as applicable.
    [REFERENCE: MIL-STD-129R, paragraph 5.1.2.1]


  • What unit of measure do I use for marking the gross weight for multipacks?
    The gross weight shall be expressed in pounds rounded up to the nearest pound. The gross weight shall be preceded by the abbreviation "WT".
    [REFERENCE: MIL-STD-129R, paragraph 5.1.2.h]


  • May I hand print on multipacks?
    Yes. Hand printing on multipacks is permitted2.' However, it must be legible.
    [REFERENCE: MIL-STD-129R, paragraph 5.1.2.1.b]


  • When a multipack has multiple contracts, are the contract numbers required to be marked on the exterior container?
    No. When more than one contract is applicable to an assorted-items pack, the contract number is not required on the exterior container or palletized unit load, but shall be applied to each unit pack and container in the exterior container or palletized unit load.
    [REFERENCE: MIL-STD-129R, paragraph 5.1.2.f.1]



CONSOLIDATION CONTAINER MARKING

  • If I have the same NSN and going to a single destination with multiple consignees (receivers), do I mark using the 'assorted items' reference or the 'consolidated' container reference?
    You will use the consolidation containers reference: "Consolidation containers that are shipped to a single destination but contain individual shipments/containers for multiple consignees (multiple DoD activity address codes) with the same TAC codes shall have the words "MULTIPLE DODAACS" applied to the outside of the container below the identification marking. This requirement applies to "kits" only if they are individual shipments that are consolidated into one container and sent to a single destination for multiple consignees. The size of the marking shall be as specified in 4.2.8 and shall be proportionate with the overall size of the consolidation container."
    [REFERENCE: MIL-STD-129R, paragraph 5.10.15]



KIT MARKINGS

  • How do I mark kits?
    Kits shall be marked in accordance with the requirements specified in MIL-STD-129R.
    Para 5.1.2.1.a: Kit or set components shall be segregated and identified by PN or NSN.
    Para 5.4.1.4: Sets, kits, and outfits (SKO). Identification bar code marking shall be applied to all SKOs, whether the SKOs were obtained through procurement or were assembled at a DoD activity. When a multiple container SKO is comprised of other SKOs, all containers shall be marked with identification bar codes that identify only the final (end item/product) SKO. When the SKO is obtained through procurement, the end-item/product NSN, CAGE, contract number, CLIN (when used), contractor shipment number, and UII/serial number of the complete SKO shall be encoded for exterior shipping containers and palletized unit loads. When an SKO is assembled at a DoD activity, only the NSN and UII/serial number shall be encoded. All containers of a multiple container shipment shall be marked as specified in 5.10.14.
    Para 5.10.15: Consolidation containers that are shipped to a single destination but contain individual shipments/containers for multiple consignees (multiple DoD activity address codes) with the same TAC codes shall have the words "MULTIPLE DODAACS" applied to the outside of the container below the identification marking. This requirement applies to "kits" only if they are individual shipments that are consolidated into one container and sent to a single destination for multiple consignees. The size of the marking shall be as specified in 4.2.8 and shall be proportionate with the overall size of the consolidation container.
    Para 5.11: Packing lists and documentation. There are essentially two kinds of packing list documentation required by this standard: 1) a content packing list for package contents not marked on the packaging, to include sets, kits, and assemblies.
    Para 5.11.1.a: Sets, kits, or assemblies composed of unlike items but identified by a single stock number or part number, shall have a packing list (identifying each item) securely attached to the end or side of each container. An additional packing list placed inside each container is recommended.
    Para 5.11.1.d: A "kit contents list" shall be placed inside each "kit container" and shall not be included with the packing list on the outside of the exterior container. The kit contents list may be placed on a DD Form 250 or on a locally prepared list. This list shall not be included as part of the exterior shipping container packing list.
    See paragraph 5.13.10 for Kits containing HAZMAT.
    [REFERENCE: MIL-STD-129R, paragraph 5.10.15]



MIL-STD-129 LABELS

 

  • Where can I get MIL-STD-129 packaging labels printed for my contract?

    • Use the Vendor Shipment Module (VSM) site. VSM will allow you to access your own contract information in order to print a commercial bill of lading, military shipping labels, packing slip, address labels and small parcel carrier labels. For VSM registration and instruction, please click on the link below. A Help Desk is available and can be reached by email at delivery@dla.mil or by phone Mon-Fri 0600-1730 Eastern Time at 800 456-5507.
    • To register for VSM: https://vsm.distribution.dla.mil

  • Where can I purchase 999 labels and other MIL-STD-129 labels?

    • To purchase 999 labels (Optional Form 80 or 81) and other MIL-STD-129 labels, contractors may find local sources within the yellow pages under (Military) Packaging Suppliers or on the Internet.

    • If you work for a Government Agency, you may purchase the labels through GSA Advantage. Listed below is some helpful information:
    • Supply Type Labels
      FORM TITLE SIZE (in inches) NSN
      70A Fragile 2-1/2 by 2-1/2 7540-00-559-2335
      71A Fragile 4 by 4 7540-00-559-2337
      73 Method 50, Package 2-1/2 by 1 7540-00-139-4738
      80 999 2-1/2 by 1 7540-00-139-4831
      81 999 2-1/2 by 1 7540-00-139-4832
      83 NMCS (Not Mission Capable Supply) 2-1/2 by 1 7540-00-139-4834
      84 NMCS (Not Mission Capable Supply) 2-1/2 by 1 7540-00-139-4835
      87 Attention - Electrostatic Sensitive Devices 2-1/2 by 1 7540-01-109-8815
      87A Attention - Electrostatic Sensitive Devices 2-1/2 by 1 7540-01-110-4906
      88 Army/Caution-Sensitive Electronic Devices 2-1/2 by 1 7540-01-317-7371

      [REFERENCE: http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/infomgt/forms/sfofforms.htm]

OBLITERATING PAINT

  • Is there a list of National Stock Numbers for obliterating paint?
    Yes. Our staff has compiled a list of NSNs for approved lacquer, enamel, and/or paint for obliterating the markings on containers as specified in MIL-STD-129, paragraph 5.1.1.3. Visit our 'Obliterating Paint' web page to view the list of NSNs.



MARKING DLA Troop Support's CLOTHING & TEXTILE ITEMS

  • What MIL-STD-129R paragraphs govern marking requirements concerning DLA Troop Support Clothing and Textile (C&T) Items?
    Para 5.1.2.f.3 for Exterior Container markings: For DLA Troop Support clothing and textile (C&T) items, the following additional marking is required: shipment number and container number. The container number shall be consecutively numbered from each shipping point for the duration of the contract. For multiple container shipments of C&T items, the packing list shall be placed inside the last container to be loaded for each shipment. The words "PACKING LIST HERE" shall be marked on the container.
    Para 5.3.2.7.b for Palletized Unit Load: Palletized loads of DLA Troop Support C&T items having different NSNs shall be marked as specified in the contract or order.
    Para 5.4.1.6 for Protected Cargo: If the NSN is included as part of the identification marking, the linear (Code 39) bar code human-readable interpretation shall be shown. However, if the NSN is omitted, the human-readable interpretation shall also be omitted. For shipments of DLA Troop Support C&T items, the human-readable interpretation shall remain.
    Para 5.11.3.b for Exceptions to the use of Exterior Container Documentation: For DLA Troop Support multiple container shipments of clothing and textile (C&T) items, the packing list shall be placed inside the last container to be loaded for each shipment. The words "PACKING LIST HERE" shall be marked on the container (see 5.1.2.f.3).


HELP

  • If I still don't understand the marking requirements, who may I contact for assistance?
    For personal one-on-one assistance, contact our office at: (614) 692-4227/3345, or fax us at: (614) 692-1901, or e-mail us at: DSCC.packaging@dla.mil


  • If I have a proposal or believe MIL-STD-129 requires updating, what organization do I contact?
    Comments, suggestions, or questions on this document should be addressed to Chief, Logistics Support Activity, Packaging, Storage, and Containerization Center, ATTN: AMXLS-AT-P, 11 Hap Arnold Boulevard, Tobyhanna, PA 18466-5097 or e-mailed to toby.pt@us.army.mil.


  • Unit and Intermediate Container Marking Checklist


  • Exterior Checklist




Content Inquiries: DSCC.Packaging@dla.mil