When planning to send or receive a shipment, it is good to know what a waybill is. It is a document that allows to carry out customs clearance as it provides detailed information about the shipment. In the case of airfreight, the air waybill is such a document.
What is an Air Waybill?
The Air Waybill (AWB) is an air consignment note. It means that it is a document that is a contract of carriage between the shipper and the carrier in international trade. It is also a receipt of goods by an airline (the carrier) and sets the terms and conditions.
What does the Air Waybill contain?
The AWB is issued either by or on behalf of the shipper and confirms receipt of the consignment.
Three original versions and six copies of the AWB should be filled; Usually, the waybill is filled out by the sender (or by the sender and the shipper). The sender is responsible for filling the document correctly and shall cover costs in case of eventual mistakes in the waybill. The shipper confirms taking over the package, taking full responsibility for the shipment during shipping. The AWB has a characteristic 11-digit number, and the first three digits signify the shipper.
In most cases, the air waybill is prepared in three or four copies, and the individual copies meant for the sender, forwarder and receiver differ in colors:
- Original (green) – for the carrier, then issued to the receiver
- Second (pink) – for the consignee/receiver
- Third (blue) – for the shipper
- Fourth (brown/yellow) – a delivery receipt
The waybill should be filled in English. It can be filled out by hand or online (e.g. using special apps).
The information included in the Air Waybill:
- Place and date of issuing the document
- Sender’s name, full address, and signature
- Shipper’s name and address
- Place and date of receiving the product to be shipped
- Consignee’s name and full address
- Sender and recipient reference numbers
- Description of the type of goods, the way the shipment was packed, number of packages, weight in kilograms or pounds, dimensions: length, width, and height in centimeters or inches, description of the goods including the country of production
- Price of the product
- Shipping costs
- Information required to fulfill customs formalities
- Additional information in accordance with the contract or required by the regulations of the given courier company.
Make sure to fill out the document legibly and complete all information correctly to avoid misunderstandings.
What are the types of AWB?
There are two types of documents in air freight, which depend on the party organizing the shipment.
MAWB (Master Air Waybill) is a document that sets AWB terms of shipping for consolidated (bulk) shipments. The MAWB is issued on a special form prepared and signed by the air carrier. The forwarder, who delivers packages from different customers, is the sender.
HAWB (House Air Waybill) is a forwarder air waybill used for the shipping of consolidated packages. The HAWB is issued on a universal air waybill form and includes a full description of consignment. The forwarder issues the document for the exporter.
The air waybill is a contract of the carriage in airfreight. There are two types of air waybill: the Master Air Waybill, signed by the carrier or their agent, and the House Air Waybill, signed by the forwarder.
Check out the Documents category to see other shipping documents.