What is an Air Waybill (AWB)?

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Export and Compliance

Air Waybill (AWB)

What is an air waybill (AWB)?

An Air Waybill or AWB is a type of bill of lading document that accompanies goods shipped by international air courier services to provide important details about the shipment. During the shipment process, a copy of this bill is provided to every party involved so that they can document and track the shipment.  

An air waybill is also known as a consignment note and holds the power of ‘Contract of Carriage’ between the shipper and the carrier.  Once the  AWB is signed by both parties it becomes enforceable by law.

The key difference between an air waybill and a bill of lading is that AWB are issues in a non-negotiable form, therefore it does not specify which flight the cargo will be on or when it will reach its destination. Additionally, the AWB does not cover the merchandise value as is it just for transportation and thus offers less protection than the bill of lading.

What information is included in an Air Waybill document? 

  • Name and addresses of both the shipper and consignee
  • 3-letter airport codes for both the origin and destination
  • Shipment value
  • Description of items including quantity, weight, dimensions, and materials used in items and packaging
  • Any special instructions regarding handling 

  

  

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