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Understanding the Military Shipment Label (MSL)

Understanding the Military Shipment Label (MSL)

Understanding the Military Shipment Label (MSL) will help ensure that shipments are received accurately so that the contractor can get paid.  The purpose of the MSL, as specified by Mil-Std-129R  is to identify shipments to the DOD in a unique and immediately recognizable way.

MSL (Military Shipment Label)

Military Shipment Label (MSL)

While it may accompany small parcel labels, such as those for UPS or FedEx, it includes important address and contract information not found on commercial shipping labels.  The MSL label is designed to improve efficiency and accuracy of the DOD’s transportation system, which ultimately improves efficiency in the payment process to suppliers.

The Military Shipment Label is used in addition to the Exterior Container and Unit Container other military labels required by Mil-Std-129R.   The container labels identify the container contents, including details such as IUID or serial number, lot number, etc.   The MSL provides for transportation to Ship-To or Ultimate Consignee, but may be separated from the items after that point.

Another key to understanding the Military Shipment Label is the bar code that appears in the Ultimate Consignee / Mark-For Consignee block.  When the Mark-For is an actual address, its DODAAC should be the one barcoded in the block.   However, when the Mark-For consists simply of delivery instructions, and thus, has no DODAAC the address code of the Ship-To must be used.  Mil-Pac’s Mil-Std-129R Labeling solution handles this automatically.

Defense contractors often struggle with the Transportation Control Number (TCN).   For DCMA-managed contracts the TCN is generally found in the contract   However, sometimes you must contact DCMA or a party designated by the contract, to get the Ship-To address along with the TCM.

For DLA contracts the Ship-To and TCN are generally ascertained by accessing DLA’s VSM web site, or by using the Vendor Shipment Module automation built-in to MIL-Comply’s shipping and labeling processes.

For more information, read What Is the Military Shipment Label?