Air Waybill (AWB)

Air Waybill (AWB)

What Is an Air Waybill (AWB)?

An air waybill (AWB) is a shipping document used in the air freight industry. It accompanies goods shipped by international air courier and serves as a receipt and contract document, facilitating the efficient tracking and management of air freight.

Key characteristics

  • Non-negotiable: An AWB can’t be transferred to another party during transit; ownership is bound to the consignee.

  • Legally binding: It is issued by the carrier and serves as a binding contract. It outlines the terms and conditions (liability, insurance, etc.) under which the carrier will transport the freight.

  • Role in tracking shipments: It contains a unique tracking number and barcode that enables all parties to track the shipment’s progress, providing transparency and security throughout.

Functions of an AWB

  • Contractual role: As a legally binding contract between the shipper and the carrier, outlining the duties, roles, terms, and conditions.

  • Customs role: As a source of key data for customs authorities to process and clear the goods at the origin and destination airports.

  • Documentary role: As a receipt of goods for the shipper, confirming that the carrier has received the cargo in good condition and will deliver it as agreed.

  • Tracking role: As a shipment tracker, enabling both the shipper and consignee to monitor the status and location in real-time.

Required fields

  • Shipper and consignee details: Names, addresses, and contact information of both the shipper and the intended recipient of the goods.

  • Issuing carrier’s agent name and city: The name and location of the agent issuing the AWB on behalf of the carrier.

  • Account number: A unique account number of the party paying the carrier freight charges, assigned by the carrier company.

  • Airport of departure and destination: The airports where the shipment will be handed over to the carrier and where it will be delivered.

  • Declared value for customs: The value of the goods as declared by the shipper for customs purposes, which helps determine customs duties and taxes.

  • Insurance amount (if applicable): This is required if the shipper has opted to insure the shipment.

  • Handling information: Special handling instructions to ensure the safe transport of goods.

  • Nature and quantity of goods: A detailed description of the goods being shipped, including type, quantity, weight, dimensions, and (optionally) the Harmonized System (HS) code.

  • Currency of payment: The currency in which the freight charges will be paid, ensuring clarity in international transactions.

  • Signature or stamp: The shipper or their agent must sign or stamp the AWB to validate its accuracy and authenticity.

Difference between an AWB and an invoice

An invoice is a financial document issued by the seller to the buyer, detailing the goods sold and the amount due. An AWB, on the other hand, is a transport document issued by the carrier and is intended for all parties involved. The AWB serves multiple purposes; as a contract of carriage, a receipt, and a document for customs clearance; while an invoice functions solely as a payment request.

Difference between an AWB and a bill of lading

  • Mode of transport: An AWB is used specifically for air shipments, whereas a bill of lading (BoL) can be used for any transport.

  • Negotiability: A BOL is negotiable and acts as a title document i.e., a document proving ownership of the goods. It allows ownership transfer during transit, while an AWB is non-negotiable and does not serve as a title document.

  • Terms: Both documents serve as shipment contracts, but their terms and regulation requirements differ due to the different modes of transport covered.

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© 2024 Beebolt