The Air Waybill document is a document used globally to give detailed information about a shipment which is transported via airplane. This document is filled in by the shipping agent or the airline that the seller has agreement to transport the products. In order though for the shipping line or agent to fill in the document they get prior to this by the seller some shipping instructions.
The shipping instructions contain the following info:
- The shipper’s contact info (company name, address, post code, city, country, phone and contact person)
- The consignee’s contact info (company name, address, post code, city, country, phone and contact person)
- Notify party contact info at destination (if different than the consignee)
- Terms of payment and loading (i.e. EXW the loading plant address, or FOB the loading airport or CIF the destination airport etc).
- Analytical information about the packaging, like type of packaging (wooden etc), quantity per packaging and dimension per packaging and net and gross weight. This is very important info in such type of shipments. Air cargo companies are very strict on getting precise info and anything that is not accurate can result in additional costs for the shipper. It is recommended to discuss with you shipping agent in detail what exactly info they will need from you. Also, airline companies have more requirements when it comes to packaging and packaging dimensions. The height and size of pallets is more limited in air cargo and what you might consider a normal pallet in road transport can be a pallet that needs repackaging in air cargo. So, do speak with your shipping agent to request detailed info before taking somethings as granted.
- Information about the type of material that will be loaded and their EAN code is also important and are requested by the shipping agent.
- In many cases where the shipment involves chemicals the airlines will also ask for the material safety data sheet document (MSDS). This is a document that is requested to prove the type of raw materials that were used for the production of the product in shipment and to give additional information related with safety issues. So, be careful to have it available if your shipments involve such products.
In addition to all the above issues it will be valuable to be noted that the Air WayBill does not necessarily have to escort the shipment while in transit. But the buyer needs to have it when the shipment arrives at the destination airport in order to make all necessary procedures to release the cargo. Thus, it is common for the buyer to prepare the full export set and send to to the shipping agent in order to add inside the Air WayBill and allow the full set of docs to travel together with the shipment.
Below you will see a sample form of an Air Waybill. The document might look slightly different depending on the airline form but the information mentioned above is requested by all shipping lines in order for the air waybill to be prepared.