The over-labelling of postal items received from origin posts is not only a waste and inefficient but leads to the presence of multiple labels and barcodes on packets and parcels. This, in turn, means a lack of uniformity in the presentation of postal items on delivery, which leads to inefficiencies in the operational processes and does not contribute to a positive customer experience. In 2015, IPC rolled out the Harmonised Label Service to support posts that chose not to implement the full technical capability to create the Harmonised Label in-house. Posts can access this service via the IPC Dynamic merchant Platform.

How does it work?

The Harmonised Labelling Service was developed as a simple printer service that translates the data elements – received through an incoming XML request - into a fully compliant Harmonised Label that is sent back as a PDF file. The service is conceived as an intelligent service that evaluates the data received and produces the correct label type with or without an optional customs form. The Harmonised Labelling engine validates the quality of the data submitted, ensuring that data behind the generation of the label complies with the data capture requirements of the Postal network.

The Harmonised Labelling Service is part of IPC’s Dynamic Merchant Platform, which delivers all data services for IPC’s members and customers. This service is accessed via an Application Programming Interface (API), which is a software that connects users with the Labelling engine. Different versions of the IPC Harmonised Label have been designed to cover requirements concerning letter package and parcel labels and labels with integrated postal forms CN22 or CN23 to facilitate customs clearance.


  • Enable postal operators to optimise the end-to-end processing of international letter packets and parcels
  • Provide significant improvements for e-retailers and consumers who can benefit of accurate track and trace information, better quality and transit times, etc.
  • Ensure uniformity, using a set of standardised address elements, icons and layouts based on the existing standard barcode.
  • Reduce over-labelling and facilitate delivery across various postal networks. The IPC Harmonised Labelling service enables members to easily print labels.

Components of the Harmonised Label

The IPC Harmonised Label contains the following elements:

  • Dedicated header section to include post- and product-specific information
  • Optional section to include e-seller’s specific elements (barcode, instructions, etc.) for operational needs
  • Dedicated sender and receiver section that uses standardised address data elements
  • Dedicated section to include relevant operational instructions, represented by standardised symbols
  • Dedicated section to include the UPU S10 barcode

More information

To find out more about the IPC Harmonised Labelling Service, contact us at