What Is an Air Waybill (AWB)

An air waybill, which is also known as a consignment note, is a contract between the shipper, the airline, and the recipient of the goods, serving as a receipt for the air cargo and detailing the terms and conditions of the transportation agreement.

The Air Waybill plays a pivotal role in facilitating customs clearance by providing authorities with critical information about the shipment's contents and destination. Customs officials rely on the AWB to assess the goods' value and ensure adherence to import regulations. The Air Waybill is non-negotiable, meaning it cannot be transferred or sold. Only the named consignee can take delivery of the goods, with the AWB serving as proof of ownership. This non-negotiability feature helps maintain the shipment's security and minimize the risk of fraud or theft.

The airline or the freight forwarder is typically responsible for generating the Air Waybill. However, the shipper must ensure that the cargo's information is precise and complete. The AWB accompanies the goods throughout their journey, from start to finish.

The Air Waybill is necessary for releasing the cargo at the destination airport, making it crucial to ensure that the AWB contains correct information. Inaccurate details can lead to delays or other complications, potentially affecting the shipment's timely delivery.

Key Components of an Air Waybill

An AWB includes vital information about the shipment, such as:

  • Shipper and consignee details: Names and addresses of both parties are included to identify them accurately.
  • Cargo specifics: The weight and dimensions of the cargo are documented to ensure proper handling and transport.
  • Flight details: Information about the flight carrying the cargo is provided to track the shipment.
  • Terms and conditions: The shipment's agreed-upon terms and conditions are outlined in the AWB.
  • Special instructions: Any particular handling requirements, such as temperature control or hazardous material management, are specified to guarantee proper care.

House Air Waybill (HAWB)

A house airway bill (HAWB) is a document issued by a freight forwarder such as Mercury or consolidator to a shipper. It contains detailed information about the shipment, including the shipper and consignee's details, the description of the goods, the weight, and the size dimensions. Included are also the terms and conditions such as liability and insurance.

Master Air Waybill (MAWB)

A master airway bill (MAWB) is a document issued by a carrier to a freight forwarder such as Mercury. It is used to track the shipment and to provide evidence of the contract of carriage between the carrier and the freight forwarder. It contains information about the airline, flight details, and the airport of departure and arrival. The MAWB also includes the total number of HAWBs associated with the particular shipment.

Difference Between HAWBs and MAWBs

A freight forwarder issues the HAWB, whereas a carrier (airline) issues the MAWB. 

Mercury provides you with all the necessary documentation, including the house airway bill and master airway bill, in a timely manner. Our streamlined processes ensure accuracy of all required logistics documentation. Experience hassle-free shipping with Mercury today.

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