AWB: Air Waybill

An air waybill (AWB) or air consignment note is a receipt issued by an international airline for goods and evidence of the contract of carriage. It is not a document of title to the goods. The air waybill is non-negotiable. Non-negotiable means that the air waybill is a receipt for goods and a contract for transportation only and does not transfer ownership of merchandise mentioned in the box, “nature and quantity of goods.”

What is the air waybill?

The AWB is a document that acts as both a receipt of goods by an airline and a contract of transport between the shipper and the carrier. It is a legally binding contract. When both the shipper (or shipper’s agent) and the carrier (or carrier’s agent) sign the AWB, it becomes an enforceable contract.

 Key Takeaways

    • The air waybill is a receipt for goods and a contract for transportation.
    • The air waybill does not transfer ownership of merchandise.
    • It is a legally binding contract.

Air Waybill Purposes

What is my AWB useful for?

An AWB, otherwise known as an air waybill, is a document that is delivered with goods by an international air courier to offer specific information about the shipment, allowing it to be monitored. Your AWB also serves other purposes, such as.

  • Contract of Carriage: Behind every original of the Air Waybill are conditions of contract for carriage documents.
  • Evidence of Receipt of Goods: When the shipper delivers goods to be forwarded, he will get a receipt. The receipt is proof that the shipment was handed over in good order and condition and that the shipping instructions, as contained in the Shipper’s Letter of Instructions, are acceptable. After completion, an original copy of the air waybill is given to the shipper as evidence of the acceptance of goods and as proof of contract of carriage
  • Freight Bill: The air waybill may be used as a bill or invoice together with supporting documents since it may indicate charges to be paid by the consignee, charges due to the agent or the carrier. An original copy of the air waybill is used for the carrier’s accounting
  • Certificate of Insurance: The air waybill may also serve as evidence if the carrier is able to ensure the shipment and is requested to do so by the shipper.
  • Customs declaration: Although customs authorities require various documents like a commercial invoice, packing list, etc. the air waybill too is proof of the freight amount billed for the goods carried and may be needed to be presented for customs clearance.

Air Waybill Number

What is an air waybill number? Your air waybill includes an 11-digit number, which is generally found on your carrier’s shipping label, but it may also be found in any of their email correspondence or straight from your online account. What is the purpose of this number? Consider it a FedEx mailing label. It includes all the package information as well as the barcode, which is used to trace your product as it travels. The numbers use are as follows: The first 3 digits are the airline prefix, the next 7 digits is the serial number of the AWB and the last digit is the check digit. The check digit is derived by dividing the 7 digit Serial Number by 7. The remainder determines the check digit.

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Air Waybill Documents

An air waybill (AWB) is a document that is sent alongside goods when they are sent by international air courier.

It contains specific information about the shipment and allows it to be monitored. The AWB comes in numerous copies, allowing all parties participating in the shipping to document it.

Why are my AWBs different colors? When an air waybill is issued, 9 original documents are generated. Air waybills come in different colors depending what party you are. Here is what the color’s mean:

  • The 1st air waybill document will be green, this document is used by the issuing carrier for evidence as well as accounting purposes.
  • The 2nd air waybill document will be pink, this document is used by the consignee, this is given when the package under the consignee’s care has reached the destination.
  • The 3rd air waybill document will be blue, this document is used by the shipper for proof that the goods have been received as well as documentary evidence.
  • The 4th air waybill document will be yellow, this document is used by the transferring carrier as a receipt to confirm its delivery and as a contact of carriage.
  • The 5th air waybill document will be white, this document is given to the airport destination, for record purposes.
  • The 6th, 7th, and 8th air waybill documents will also be white, these documents are given to the carriers of the goods, its used as a settlement among the participating carriers.
  • Lastly the 9th air waybill document, which is also white, will be given to the/your agent for record purposes.

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