Global Location Number (GLN)

A GLN is a unique number that is assigned to locations to enable them to be identified uniquely worldwide. GLNs can be used to identify any party/locations that you need to be uniquely identified for administrative and trading purposes. GLNs are particularly useful when automating processes as they allow computers to route information to the correct destination with no manual involvement. GLNs are used when identifying ship-to locations within Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) business messages, traceability systems and they can also be used in barcodes or RFID tags to identify a physical location.

GLNs can be used to identify any party/locations that you need to be uniquely identified for administrative and trading purposes. These can be both internal locations, and locations that your trading partners will use. GLNs provide a single method for location identification for all companies in the supply chain.

GLNs can:

  • ​Remove unnecessary costs and errors when different schemes co-exist

  • Enable the unique and unambiguous identification of all worldwide locations

  • Be assigned to any location in the supply chain

  • Be embedded in GS1 barcodes or EPC/RFID Tags

  • Be used within electronic business messages, and to identify all the parties using data pools

  • Facilitate accurate and automatic processing

  • Simplify data processing and reduce transmission costs and data storage costs for messages

  • Improve traceability

Use GLNs to identify:

  • Physical locations - a site (an area, a structure or group of structures) or an area within the site where something was, is, or will be located

  • Digital locations - a digital location represents an electronic (non-physical) address that is used for communication between computer systems

  • Legal entities – any business, government body, department, charity, individual or institution that has standing in the eyes of the law and has the capacity to enter into agreements or contracts

  • Functions – an organisational subdivision or department based on the specific tasks being performed, as defined by the organisation

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)

The use of automatic electronic business messages ideally incorporates the use of GLNs to identify all the trading partners and all the locations involved. The mailbox or network addresses for the companies will also be identified with GLNs.

The GS1 electronic business messaging standards - GS1 EANCOM, GS1 XML and EPCIS – make full use of GLNs to simplify their use.

The GLNs and the associated information are communicated once at the beginning of the trading relationship.

Data pools and the Global Data Synchronisation Network (GDSN)

The National Product Catalogue and the Global Registry that links it to other data pools in the Global Data Synchronisation Network (GDSN) are used to record information about all the products being traded and the GTINs that are used to identify them. Each party that provides information to any data pool, or who requires information about products and locations, must be identified with a GLN.

GLNs in barcodes and RFID

GLNs can be encoded in GS1 barcodes and EPC/RFID tags when necessary, for example to identify delivery points, areas within a hospital or warehouse locations. The use of the GS1 application identifiers with GS1 barcodes ensures that the data shown in these barcodes is processed correctly. The application identifiers that may be used with GLNS are set out below:

Application Identifier (AI)  

Type of Global Location Number (GLN) being identified  


Ship to - deliver to GLN


Bill to - invoice to GLN


Purchased from GLN


Ship for - deliver for - forward to GLN


Identification of physical location


Invoicing party


Production or service location


Party GLN


GLNs in Traceability

The ISO definition of traceability concerns the ability to trace the history, application and location of that which is under consideration, and for products this can include the origin of materials and parts, the processing history and the distribution and location of the product after delivery. Traceability includes not only the principal requirement to physically trace products through the distribution chain, from origin to destination and vice versa, but also to provide information on what they are made of and what has happened to them. These further aspects of traceability are important in relation to food safety, quality and labelling.

The ability to uniquely identify the locations in which products have been born, processed or stored, as well as returned, consumed or destroyed becomes foundational to recording the history of a product.  GLNs are the globally recognised identifier for this very purpose, across a range of industries including Food, Healthcare, Liquor, CPG, Retail, Freight and Logistics and many others.

Read more on Traceability

GLN non-reuse will be introduced from 1 July 2022.

From this date, a GLN assigned to a party and/or location SHALL NOT be reassigned to another party and/or location. It is recommended that GLN reuse cease in advance of 1 July 2022 as soon as companies can transition their practices. If reuse is not currently occurring, it SHOULD NOT be started.  The only exceptions to the GLN non-reuse rules will include:

  • If the GLN was never published in an externally accessible manner (e.g., to a registry or directly to a trading partner), it may be reused immediately.

  • Parties and/or locations that have been withdrawn and are reintroduced may use the original GLN if they are reintroduced without any modifications or changes that require a new GLN as specified by the GS1 GLN Allocation Rules Standard.

The GLN Non-Reuse standard has been ratified and can be accessed at Gen Specs Change Notification.

You need to communicate the details about each GLN to your trading partners before they are used. These details will be stored on file and retrieved each time the GLN is communicated. For example, the information about a location identified with a GLN will often include:

  • Company name and postal address

  • Contact details

  • Type of location, such as manufacturing centre or distribution centre

  • Financial information – bank details and payment terms

  • Delivery requirements and or restrictions

  • Exact location, for example, room number, entrance number, bay number or GPS Coordinates

  • Facility specification, such as operating hours, time zone

  • Supported functions covered by the GLN such as order placements, receipt of invoices, receipt of merchandise, collection etc

GS1 Australia operates a GLN Registry Service for GS1 members that assists in the communication of location master data between trading partners.

National Location Registry in Healthcare

National Location Registry in other industries

A GLN is a 13-digit number formed using your GS1 Company Prefix number. The number contains no information about the location but provides a link to systems where the information is held.

You, as the company assigning the GLN, are responsible for ensuring their uniqueness.

The 13-digit numbers are created as follows:


Like all other GS1 Identification Keys such as GTINs, GLNs have no meaning and should always be used in their entirety within companies’ systems. No user should ever attempt to parse the number into its components to reveal any meaning, because it is designed to be used as a reference point and not as a miniature database

GS1 Company Prefix: This will be allocated to you by GS1 Australia, and will vary in length from six to nine digits.

Location reference: This is assigned by you, and we recommend that you begin with zeroes and increase the count sequentially. The numbers have no meaning.

Check digit: This is calculated using the first twelve digits of the number. Use this Check Digit Calculator.

GLN fact sheet

GLNs and GTINs are formed from your GS1 Company Prefix so the numbering series are identical. This means it is extremely important that GTINs and GLNs are held in separate database records. They are always used in context so there should be no confusion in practice. GLNs and GTINs are communicated in different fields within electronic business messages, and when they are encoded in barcodes, the use of GS1 application identifiers ensures that the data is understood and processed correctly. Although there is no restriction in Standards on the assignment of the same value of a GTIN-13 to a trade item and to a location, it is not recommended to do so. If choosing to assign the same GTIN to a location as to a trade item, care must be taken to ensure there is no confusion.

Every location should be identified with a different GLN, and when a communicated attribute to the GLN changes, such as the address, then a new GLN should be assigned. The GLN Allocation Rules provide full details about the rules concerning the administration of GLNs.

GLN is fully compatible with ISO STANDARD 6523. The International Code Designator (ICD) for the GLN is ‘0088’