Air Waybill (AWB) | Basic Information You Need

IATA AIR WAYBILL, AIRWAYBILL , AIR WAYBILL OVERVIEW


An air waybill (AWB) is the most important air freight document. It is therefore essential that air waybill (AWB) is to be  completed strictly following air waybill (AWB) completion procedures to conform to worldwide standards of transportation documents. Air waybill (AWB) can be completed either manually by typewriter or by computer. Well filled air waybill (AWB) may prevent delays and inconvenience.


In my previous articles, I wrote about IATA traffic areas, and calculating chargeable weight. in this article, I will give you basic knowledge about air waybill then I will write many articles about how to calculate international air freight rates (including how to complete the air waybill).

 

What is the Air Waybill (AWB) Meaning?

 An air waybill (AWB) is the document made out by or on behalf of the shipper which, when used, evidences the contract between the shipper and carrier(s) for carriage of goods over routes (From airport departure to airport arrival) of the carrier(s). It must be signed by both:

-  The shipper (or by the agent on his behalf)

-  The carrier (or by the agent on his behalf)

 

What is the E-Air Waybill (e-AWB) Meaning?

The e-Air Waybill (e-AWB) is an electronic version of the Air Waybill (paper-based) for shipments transported by air. In some countries, the e-AWB is replacing the paper-based version. The use of the e-AWB lays down stricter requirements in respect of correct completion and accuracy. A benefit of the e-AWB is that the electronic system can be connected, so it lowers processing costs for stakeholders due to higher data accuracy and reducing errors. Unfortunately, there are still many countries in the world where an e-Air Waybill is not yet accepted. For these countries, paper-based versions therefore still have to be prepared.

lower processing cost for stakeholders due to higher data accuracy.


What are the types of Air Waybill (AWB)?

There are two types of air waybills available in international trade:

1- Airline air waybill

An air waybill is referred to as an “airline air waybill”, with preprinted issuing carrier identification (format).

Usually, is called a master air waybill (MAWB), which is used for shipping by air, issued and signed by the air cargo carrier or its agent. A master air waybill (MAWB) is subject to IATA Rules and one of the international air conventions (Warsaw Convention, Hague amendment, Montreal Convention (Click here to read). Therefore, a consignee has protection in case the goods are damaged or lost in transit. On a master air waybill (MAWB) it is Stated only MAWB number.


2- Neutral air waybill

An air waybill is referred to as a “neutral air waybill” without preprinted identification of the issuing carrier in any form and used by other than an air carrier.

Usually, is called a house air waybill (HAWB), which is used for shipping by air, issued and signed by a freight forwarder, generally on a natural air waybill format, evidences the terms and conditions of the carriage of goods as specified by the freight forwarder. Therefore, the consignee may not have legal protection in case the goods are damaged or lost in transit.

Why using a neutral air waybill as a house airwaybill?

Because it is without pre-printed identification of the issuing carrier.

House air waybill does not contain the actual carrier’s carriage contract, as a result, shipper stated on the house air waybill is not the direct participant of the carriage contract indicated on the master air waybill. On a House air waybill (HAWB), it is Stated both MAWB and HAWB numbers.

 

Who prepares the airway bill (AWB)?

Master air waybill (MAWB) can be issued or completed by the carrier or its agent. A documentation charge is made and entered on the air waybill (code AW) and may be collected form the shipper or consignee.

AWB issued by a carrier

Insertion in the other charge's column: AWC (C for the carrier)

AWB issued by an agent  

Insertion in the other charge's column: AWA (A for the agent)

The level of charge varies locally and there is a minimum amount published in the IATA TACT Rules book.


The air freight forwarder prepares and issues the house air waybills (HAWBs) for his customers, and covers all house air waybills in one master air waybill (MAWB). In this case, the freight forwarder is a shipper and his agent is a consignee (all house air waybills are included in one house manifest attached to the master air waybill (MAWB).

  

How many copies of AWB are there?

1- Airline air waybill

It is a set of a minimum of eight copies, of which three are originals and marked as the following:

The airline air waybill set shall be printed as specified below:

Original 3 -Blue

For Shipper to be given to the shipper to serve as:

1-      proof of receipt of the goods for shipment.

2-      Documentary evidence of carrier's and shippers' signature to the contract of carriage.

Original 1 – Green

For Issuing Carrier to be retained by the carrier issuing the AWB for accounting purposes and to serve as documentary evidence of carrier's and shippers' signature to the contract of carriage.

Original 2 – Pink

For Consignee to accompany consignment to the final destination and to be tendered to the consignee on delivery.

Copy 4

To be used as a delivery Receipt

all other copies have the same layout, wording, and shading

2- Neutral air waybill

It may be either in a set of a minimum of eight copies or in two sets of a minimum of four copies each.

 

What are the functions of the air waybill?

The air waybill serves many functions, such as:

-  Contract of carriage

-  Evidence of receipt of goods

-  Certificate of insurance

-  Customs declaration

-  Guide for handling and delivering goods

-  Freight bill

-  Contact information among all parties

-  Description of the goods

-  Tracking of shipment

 

Summary

The Air Waybill covers the air freight shipment. An air freight shipment is not accepted by the airline without the Air Waybill. Furthermore, an air waybill (AWB) is the document made out by or on behalf of the shipper which, when used, evidences the contract between the shipper and carrier(s) for carriage of goods over routes of the carrier(s).


There are two types of air waybills available in international trade:

1- Airline air waybill

Usually, called master air waybill (MAWB), it can be issued or completed by the carrier or its agent.

2- Neutral air waybill

Usually, called house air waybill (HAWB) it can be issued or completed by the carrier or its agent.

By air freight forwarder.

 

    Both can be a set of a minimum of eight copies, of which three are originals.

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