Get the information for a UN/LOCODE

The problem

You have a UN/LOCODE and want to lookup the information associated with it.


UN/LOCODE is a system of codes maintained by the United Nations to uniquely identify locations critical for logistics. The five character codes provide a simple way for all parties in the supply chain to unambiguously refer to locations.

Bremerhaven port, UN/LOCODE: DEBRV

Bremerhaven port in Germany, UN/LOCODE: DEBRV

Converting a UN/LOCODE like DEBRV into the corresponding information about that code is a useful functionality.

You can use the OpenCage geocoding API to find the information associated with UN/LOCODEs. Simply send an API request with the query q=LOCODE:DEBRV

You can test our geocoding API manually on our demo page.


The United Nations publishes a list of UN/LOCODES twice per year. The most recent list contains over 115,000 codes, and there is a variety of information associated with each code. Please see the excellent UN/LOCODE Wikipedia page for a detailed description of the type of data available

For UN/LOCODEs we return the following information in the annotations portion of the geocoding API result.

  "code" : "DEBRV",
  "date" : "9501",
  "function" : {
    "meaning" : [
      "rail terminal",
      "road terminal",
    "raw" : "1234----"
  "lat" : 53.5505392,
  "lng" : 8.5851945,
  "name" : "Bremerhaven",
  "name_wo_diacritics" : "Bremerhaven"

Caveats / Points to Note

There are a few points you should note when working with UN/LOCODEs via the OpenCage geocoding API.

  • Please see the official API documentation section dealing with UN/LOCODEs.
  • UN/LOCODEs data quality is variable. Even in the best case the codes are associated with only a single coordinate point. Precise geographic boundaries are not provided.
  • Searching for specific UN/LOCODEs is available to all API users. We also provide information about the nearest relevant UN/LOCODE as an annotation for all geocoding results to paying customers who request it. So that potential customers can see before buying this is turned on for all users of the API for all locations in Luxembourg.
  • Some codes do not have coordinates at all in the official data, and we can not determine a location for them, and thus we are unable to work with about 2% of codes.
  • A few codes in the official data have obviously wrong coordinates like 0,0 and thus we discard them.

Code Example

Here's a small example of making a request to the OpenCage geocoding API in Python to determine information about the code DEBRV.
We also have libraries for over 30 other programming languages. including Javascript, PHP, Ruby, Java, and many others.

from opencage.geocoder import OpenCageGeocode
from pprint import pprint

api_key = 'YOUR-API-KEY'
geocoder = OpenCageGeocode(api_key)

locode = 'DEBRV'
results = geocoder.geocode('LOCODE:' + locode)

# only interesged in the first result
result = results[0]
if (result['annotations']['UN/LOCODE']):

# {
#   'code': 'DEBRV',
#   'date': '9501',
#   'function': {
#     'meaning': [
#         'port',
#         'rail terminal',
#         'road terminal',
#         'airport'
#      ],
#      'raw': '1234----'
#   },
#   'lat': 53.5505392,
#   'lng': 8.5851945,
#   'name': 'Bremerhaven',
#   'name_wo_diacritics': 'Bremerhaven'
# }

# Your API key needs to be enabled for reverse geocoding. Contact us if you require UN/LOCODE
results = geocoder.reverse_geocode(-32.0497, 115.7421)

result = results[0]
if (result['annotations']['UN/LOCODE']):

# {
#   'code': 'AUSFT',
#   'date': '1601',
#   'function': {
#     'meaning': [
#       'road terminal'
#     ],
#     'raw': '--3-----'
#   },
#   'lat': -32.03,
#   'lng': 115.77,
#   'name': 'East Fremantle',
#   'name_wo_diacritics': 'East Fremantle'
# }

Further Reading

Happy geocoding!

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