What is Air Waybill?

Air Waybill

Basic information about Air Waybill (AWB)

An air waybill or air consignment note is a receipt issued by an international airline for goods and an evidence of the contract of carriage. It is not a document of title to the goods. The air waybill is non-negotiable.

Purpose and Function:

  • An AWB accompanies goods shipped by an international air courier.
  • It serves as a receipt of goods by the airline (carrier) and a contract of carriage between the shipper (sender) and the carrier.
  • This legal agreement becomes enforceable when both the shipper (or their agent) and the carrier (or their agent) sign the document.

Key Information on an AWB:

  • Standard Form: The AWB follows a standard format provided by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
  • Contents:
    • Shipper’s name and address.
    • Consignee’s name and address.
    • Three-letter origin airport code.
    • Three-letter destination airport code.
    • Declared shipment value for customs.
    • Number of pieces.
    • Gross weight.
    • Description of the goods.
    • Any special instructions (e.g., “perishable”).
    • Conditions of the contract, including liability limits and claims procedures.
    • Applicable charges.

Non-Negotiable Instrument:

  • Unlike other bills of lading, an AWB is non-negotiable.
  • It does not specify the exact flight or arrival time.
  • AWBs are issued in non-negotiable form, providing less protection compared to bills of lading.

Comparison with Bill of Lading:

  • Bill of Lading: Legal document for goods carried by sea, specifying type, quantity, and destination.
  • AWB: Contract solely for transportation, not covering merchandise value.
  • AWBs are essential for tracking and identification during air shipments.

Filling out

Air Waybill form
Air Waybill form

Your Details:

  • Date: Mention the date when you’re filling out the AWB.
  • Account Number: If applicable, include your account number with the carrier.
  • Company Name: Clearly state your business name.
  • Phone Number: Provide a contact number.
  • Complete Address: Include your full address.
  • VAT or Tax ID: If relevant, add your VAT or tax identification number.
  • If there’s a different collection address, make sure to include it.

Receiver’s Details:

  • Name: Specify the recipient’s name.
  • Phone Number: Provide their contact number.
  • Tax ID Number: If applicable, include the receiver’s tax identification number.
  • Again, if there’s a different delivery address, ensure it’s included along with the contact details. Some countries accept post office addresses.

Shipment Details:

  • Number of Packages: Indicate how many packages you’re shipping.
  • Type of Package: Describe the type of packaging (e.g., boxes, crates).
  • Weight and Dimensions: Provide accurate weight and dimensions for each package.
  • For international shipments, include:
  • Goods Description: Briefly describe the items being shipped.
  • Value: Specify the value of the goods.
  • HS Code: Assign the appropriate Harmonized System (HS) code for customs classification.
  • If you’re shipping dangerous goods, declare this information.

Select a Shipping Service:

  • Choose from available options such as next-day delivery, early-morning delivery, or Saturday service.

Billing Section:

  • Clarify who is paying the carrier freight charges:
  • If you’re handling payment, add your account number.
  • If the receiver is paying, include their account number (with their permission).

Sign It:

  • Either you or a company representative must sign the AWB.

Additional Consideration:

  • Include a packing list inside the package with a detailed goods description.

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