What Is An Air Waybill? What Is The Difference Between A Bill Of Lading And An Air Waybill?

 In Purchase Order Finance, Trade & Inventory Finance

*Information sourced from multiple sources including Wikipedia, http://www.eximguru.com/ and Yahoo answers.

An Air Waybill, also known as an air consignment note refers to a receipt issued by an international courier company for goods.

Air Waybills make sure that goods have been received for shipment by air.

Every Air waybill has a tracking number that is used to check the status of a delivery and current position of the shipment.  A typical air waybill sample consists of three originals and nine copies.

The goods in the air consignment are consigned directly to the party (the consignee) named in the letter of credit (L/C). Unless the goods are consigned to a third party like the issuing bank, the importer can obtain the goods from the carrier at destination without paying the issuing bank or the consignor. Therefore, unless a cash payment has been received by the exporter or the buyer’s integrity is unquestionable, consigning goods directly to the importer is risky.

For air consignment to certain destinations, it is possible to arrange payment on a COD (cash on delivery) basis and consign the goods directly to the importer. The goods are released to the importer only after the importer makes the payment and complies with the instructions in the AWB.

The AWB must indicate that the goods have been accepted for carriage, and it must be signed or authenticated by the carrier or the named agent for or on behalf of the carrier.

In a nutshell an Air Waybills serves as:

•  Proof of receipt of the goods for shipment.
•  An invoice for the freight.
•  A certificate of insurance.
•  A guide to airline staff for the handling, dispatch and delivery of the consignment.

The principal requirements for an Air Waybill are:

  • The proper shipper and consignee must be mentioned.
  • The airport of departure and destination must be mentioned.
  • The descriptions of goods must be consistent with that shown on other documents.
  • Any weight, measure or shipping marks must agree with those shown on other documents.
  • It must be signed and dated by the actual carrier or by the named agent of a named carrier. It must mention whether freight has been paid or will be paid at the destination point.

All air waybills are non-negotiable. A waybill is very similar to a Bill of Lading in that it performs the functions of a cargo receipt and contract of carriage.

Both Bill of Lading (B/L) and Waybill are among the most important documents in international trade.

The key difference between a B/L and a Waybill is that a waybill does not convey title. The cargo named on the waybill can be released only to the named consignee and NO ORIGINAL documents are required. The consignee needs only to identify himself. If a B/L is issued the consignee can receive the cargo only when the original documents are presented.

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