IMPA coding

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IMPA Marine stores coding is used in the marine industry.[1] The system, of British origin, consists of a 6 digit code for marine products. This aims to bridge the language barrier and offer worldwide shipping companies an easy way to order goods. Related products are grouped in product classes.

This system has been used for over 40 years, growing from a small item list to an 40,000+ unique items list. It's the leading reference guide for maritime purchasing and supply.


IMPA (International Marine Purchasing Association) was formed in 1978 by a group of senior purchasing executives who wanted to create an industry ‘voice’ to represent the interests of the purchasing profession within shipping and promote close co-operation and understanding between buyer and supplier.

Over the past 30 or so years the association has grown significantly and now represents over 450 members from across the world; ship owners, operators and managers’ account for full and corporate members (Purchasers) and manufacturers and ship suppliers make up associate members (Suppliers).

The Association is run by a council of twelve individuals comprising eight from the purchasing profession and four from the supply side, the council are responsible for directing the duties of the Secretariat and formulating the strategy for the association.

The day-to-day operation of the association is run by a contracted administration office based 50 miles east of the city of London represented by Stephen Alexander – IMPA Secretariat and COO.

The council of IMPA are not paid for their role within the council and the association is run primarily as a ‘not for profit’ organisation seeking to benefit members and their organisations through the creation of industry initiatives and products and services, some of these are listed on the right.