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The BICS website has been set up by Rijkswaterstaat together with partners in order to support users of the BICS electronic reporting program. Not only can you apply for and download BICS on this website, you can also find all kinds of other (background or technical) information about BICS.

Due to the international character of BICS, the website and the user documentation are available in 4 languages. Most of the other (technical) documentation is only available in English and/or Dutch.

The following topics are available on this Help page:


Tips for website use

The information on this website has been organised by topic. These topics can be accessed via the language-specific BICS menu (generally located on the left-hand side). Clicking a menu option opens the associated page.

The "Contact & Addresses" page provides information about the BICS Helpdesk, the main organisations 'behind' the BICS application and how you can contact us.

As for the website language, you can choose between Dutch, English, French or German. The language selection menu is generally located in the top left-hand corner of the screen.

You can navigate through the website in different ways:

  • using the language-specific menu options which reflect the main topics for this website (generally the language-specific BICS menu is located on the left-hand side),
  • using the search option, which is generally located at the top left of the pages (the search engine scans the website pages and documents for your search terms),
  • using the site map, which shows the main points of access (the table of contents) of the website in a single clear display,
  • via the navigation guide / path (generally shown above the page title). The navigation guide / path indicates where you are in the website structure.

The most important information on this website can be found in the following main topics (main points of access on the website):

  • "What is BICS?", a brief explanation of how BICS came into being, what it is and the functions it makes available.
  • "Requesting BICS", a description of the application procedure. You can also find the various 'online' application forms here.
  • "Downloading BICS", a description of how you can download the BICS software, including direct links to the available downloads.
  • "Using BICS", various descriptions that help you to start using BICS without delay, such as:
  • "Installing BICS", a brief practical description of how you can install the BICS application.
  • "Quick start guide", a brief practical description of how to use BICS, e.g. for notifying a voyage.
  • "Tips & FAQs", various tips, brief descriptions and answers to frequently asked questions about the use of BICS.
  • "Documentation", all relevant user documentation and other (technical) documentation such as user manuals, instruction cards and interface and message specifications.

Tip: You can save all of the pages on your computer as a PDF file by clicking the PDF icon. You print the page by clicking the printer icon. The printer and PDF icons (Print symbols on top of every page) are generally located at the top right of the page.

Finally, we refer you expressly to the content of our Disclaimer in connection with the Rights of Intellectual Property and the aspects of Accessibility and Privacy in respect of this website. 


The BICS website is suitable for a screen resolution of at least 1024x768 (pixels) and is compatible with nearly all common browsers. We do however recommend a minimum resolution of 1280 pixels (width).

Links to external websites or pages (e.g.: and links to documents are always opened in a new screen (window)..

Documents are generally offered on the website in PDF format. You can read and print this format if Adobe Acrobat Reader is available on your computer. You can download this program free-of-charge from Adobe's website (or via this link to the free Adobe Acrobat Reader download).

Terminology and Abbreviations

The section below provides information about and explains the terms, definitions and abbreviations used on this website.

Term, definition Description
BICS version 5 The name for the newly developed version of BICS, the second generation of the BICS application, which is sometimes also referred to as BICS2. BICS version 5 was made available in 2014 and replaces all previous versions of BICS.
BICS Classic The name for all previous versions of BICS prior to version 5 ( and earlier). The older versions of BICS and ERI-Net have now been replaced/are being replaced by BICS version 5.
BICS Account or
BICS Identity
(associated with the BICS messages service)
A different term used to refer to your registration as a user of a BICS identity, with which you are authorised to send BICS messages. The main component of a BICS account is your user name or BICS mailbox number and the associated BICS email address (see the relevant terms).
The BICS account consists of:
-a User name (the 7000 number) and
-a Password.
Note: you have to enter these BICS account credentials once only during the BICS installation procedure!
User name
(associated with a BICS Account)
The User name used during the BICS installation process consists of a number, known as a 7000 mailbox number, which is associated with a BICS account. See also: BICS email address. The user name is provided in the Welcome Letter, which the user receives after registration.
Note: this user name (7000 number) in combination with the password, is only used during the BICS installation procedure!
(associated with the User name)
The password is used once only during installation of BICS and is only required for the installation procedure. The password associated with a BICS account is always sent separately via an SMS text message or in a Password Letter.
Note: the combination of the BICS account user name and password is only used during the installation procedure for BICS!
BICS message or
BICS notification
Term used by skippers to refer to communication via BICS (their notification of a voyage via BICS).
BICS messages service,
BICS mail server,
RWS messages service,
BICS mailboxes.  
Different terms for the same thing: the messages service offered by RWS, also referred to as EMIS. This is the electronic mailbox system in the Netherlands which is used when sending and receiving BICS messages. Each user with a BICS account uses the BICS messages service to send and receive BICS messages.
BICS (Account) - Welcome Letter
BICS (Account) - Password Letter (or SMS)
The letter containing your BICS account credentials (your identity). Users receive the Welcome Letter after registration or requesting BICS. The Welcome Letter contains the BICS account credentials (user name), which are required during the BICS installation procedure. The associated password is sent separately via an SMS text message or in the Password Letter.
BICS mailbox number or
EDI mailbox number
Is the same as the user name (number) for the BICS account, i.e. the 7000 number
BICS email address or
EDI mailbox (address)
Duplicate name for (approximately) the same thing. The BICS email address indicates that you are a registered BICS user. It can be seen as your BICS identity. The BICS identity takes the form of an email address that consists of your BICS mailbox number, the 7000 number, followed by the suffix ''. Each BICS email address is linked to a personal EDI mailbox. To keep things simple for the user, this mailbox is referred to as the BICS email address or BICS identity.
BICS registration or
Requesting BICS
The complete process for obtaining BICS, consisting of:
  • Applying for a BICS account; these account details are required in order to use BICS and must be entered during the installation procedure.
  • Downloading and installing the BICS executable.
BICS user name and
BICS password
(required for logging on in BICS)
You have to log on each time you start BICS. You use a personal user name and password for this (these credentials are differentthen your mailbox account. You have to set these credentials yourself. If you do not have a personal user name, the standard user name is 'bics2' and the standard user password is 'bics2'.
Note: the standard user name has full administrator rights!
The BICS website Website The main website for BICS (main point of access).
Download website for BICS version 5 Website entitled “Download website, BICS version 5”. A separate website for the BICS versions (software) and the user documentation.
ERI-Net The outdated web variant of BICS for electronic reporting. ERI-Net is being/has been phased out (replaced) now that BICS version 5 has been made available.
Relief Captain
Person on board the ship who is responsible for nautical matters. This person is also responsible for (electronic) reporting in respect of the waterway managers. A skipper generally uses BICS on board his/her own ship and submits the messages for that ship.
A relief Captain is a skipper who sails on different ships, who does not have his/her own ship and who is able to submit the ERINOT messages for multiple ships as a user of BICS.
Freight forwarder
Shipping company
A freight forwarder brokers cargoes and contracts inland shipping operators for that purpose. A company or organisation of this type can use BICS from an office located on shore in order to submit the ERINOT messages on behalf of the ships that have been contacted.
A shipping company organises inland shipping transport using its own fleet of ships and/or rented ships, which transport cargo or passengers under its management. A shipping company can also use BICS from an office location in order to submit the required messages via BICS.
Waterway manager The competent authority that is legally responsible for a specific navigation area.




Abbreviation Description
ADN The harmonised European treaty on international transport of hazardous goods on the inland waterways (ADN) of the UNECE. This standard is used in BICS to identify hazardous goods.
ADNR ADNR (Accord Européen relatif au Transport International des Marchandises Dangereuses par voie de Navigation du Rhin) was the European Treaty on international transport of hazardous goods on the Rhine River. The ADNR became defunct in 2011 after having been previously superseded by the harmonised European treaty (ADN) of the UNECE.
BERMAN The technical description of the "BERth MANagement" message according to the EU164/2010 standard, which is used to exchange information about berths and moorings with the waterway manager or harbour manager.
BICS Binnenvaart Informatie en Communicatie Systeem (in English: Inland shipping Information and Communication System), which is used to electronically report voyage and cargo details.
CBS Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek (Statistics Netherlands) in Heerlen (
CBS (SRK) Central Broker System, a message broker for exchanging information in the Westerschelde navigation area.
CMNI "CMNI" is an abbreviation of Convention de Budapest relative au contrat de transport de Marchandises en Navigation Interieure - the French title for the "Budapest Convention on the Contract for the Carriage of Goods by Inland Waterway". This relates to a standard (layout) for a shipping document in accordance with articles 11 and 12 of the Budapest Convention regarding the contract for the carriage of goods by inland waterway (CMNI).
EDIFACT EDIFACT is the abbreviation for (United Nations) Electronic Data Interchange For Administration, Commerce and Transport. EDIFACT is an international standard for electronic data interchange.
EMIS "Elektronisch Melden In de Scheepvaart", i.e. Electronic Reporting in Shipping.
ENI number The unique 8-digit European ship's identification number for inland shipping, officially known as the European Number of Identification (ENI). This replaces the official ship's number (OFS) used for Rhine River shipping.
ERI Electronic Reporting International (see ERI) on the RIS website.
ERINOT (message) The technical description of the "Electronic Reporting International NOTification" message in accordance with the EU164/2010 standard, which can be used to report voyage and cargo information to waterway authorities (see also standards).
ERIVOY (message) The technical description of the IFTSAI message that is used to report route-related information (voyage plan) to the waterway manager.
HS code Harmonised System for coding of goods, which splits goods into different main categories. In BICS, this standard is mainly used to identify non-hazardous goods.
IFTDGN (message) International Forwarding and Transport Dangerous Goods Notification (see also ERINOT message).
IFTSAI (message) International Forwarding and Transport Schedule and Availability Information (voyage plan = ERIVOY) message (see also ERIVOY message).
IMO number The IMO number is a 7-digit ship's identification number that is issued by 'Lloyd's Register' at the time of construction of a seagoing vessel.

IVS90 (replaced by IVS-Next)


stands for Informatie Volg Systeem, Rijkswaterstaat's Information Tracking System for the main navigable waterways in the Netherlands. The system is used to register the reported voyage and cargo information for ships and replaced in 2018 with IVS-Next.
MIB stands for Melde- und Informationssystem Binnenschifffahrt, the tracking system for shipping used by the German waterway authority.
OFS number (Europe number) The old 7-digit official ship's number (OFS), also known as the European number. Has now been superseded by the ENI number.
PAXLST (message) The technical description of the "Passenger List" message, which is used to report information about the identity and other attributes of those on board to the waterway manager or a different competent authority.
PDF PDF stands for Portable Document Format, a file type that you can read and print when Adobe Acrobat Reader is installed on your computer.
RIS River Information Services, a framework of different standardised services and the associated information exchanges, which is designed to optimise the traffic and cargo process for shipping (see also
URL URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator. The URL indicates where a specific item of information, e.g. a website, a web page, a file or image is located on the Internet ( is the URL for the BICS website).
XML Extensible Markup Language (XML) is a standard issued by the World Wide Web Consortium that is used to display structured information in the form of plain text. This type of presentation is both machine-readable and legible to humans. The XML format is used to store information or send information via the Internet (electronic data interchange).