Master airway bill in shipping: All you need to know about its meaning and format

A master airway bill is a non-negotiable transit document provided by a carrier, directly or through an agent. It covers cargo transportation from one airport to another.
Master airway bill
The Master Airway Bill (MAWB) is a transport document used in air shipments, issued and signed by the air cargo carrier or its agent, often on a pre-printed carrier's airway bill format. It serves as evidence of the terms and conditions of the transportation of goods over the carrier's routes(s).

What is a master airway bill?

The export logistics process begins with a shipper delivering items to a forwarder. The products are subsequently delivered to the carrier by the forwarding business. The forwarder issues the House Airway Bill – after receiving the cargo from the shipper. The carrier, on the other hand, issues the Master Airway Bill.

The Master Airway Bill is one of the most crucial documents for air mode of transport for goods. It serves as evidence of purchase and is also known as Airline Wirway Bills with a pre-printed carrier identifier. The air carrier must issue and sign either directly or through a properly designated representative. It is created in a standard format – a pre-printed Airway Bill – and is intended to confirm everything essential for the circumstances and order of the goods’ transportation.

What is the format of a Master Airway Bill?

An Airway Bill is a document that contains important information. It is created and distributed by IATA and used in domestic and international shipping. Some of the characteristics and format of the Master Airway Bill are:

• The document is available in eight distinct color combinations. Its first three copies are the original.
• The first original copy is green. It is the copy for the carrier agency.
• The second original copy is pink for the consignee.
• The third original copy is for the shippers and is blue in colour.
• The fourth copy acts as a receipt and delivery confirmation and is brown.
• The rest of the copies are white.
• The Airway Bill must include carrier’s name, office location, logo and AWB number – an 11-digit code used to make bookings and track shipment’s progress and position.
• Shipper, consignee, agent, airport of departure and airport of destination will be listed on the above-left side of the bill document.
• Airline information, value for transportation and the declared value of the goods for customs will be displayed on the upper right side.
• Shipment’s contents will be listed in the center of the page including the number of objects, total weight, chargeable weight, total charge and the kind and amount of goods.
• The bottom section of the airway bill will include extra costs and taxes, an area for the signature of the shipper or agent, and a space to put the date, time, and location of execution.

What is the importance of Master Airway Bill?

The Master Airway Bill is important as it serves the following functions:

Contract for goods carriage:

All Master Airway Bills include a complete agreement and the terms and conditions of the exchange. These are listed on the back of the bill.

Evidence of the receipt of goods:

When an air freight carrier produces a Master Airway Bill, it serves as a legal confirmation that the goods listed on the bill have been received. In the event of a disagreement, the document will be subject to legal inspection.

Freight cargo account or freight bill:

A freight bill includes information on all additional expenses made throughout the trade transaction. This information is included in Master Airway Bills. When used with accompanying documentation, it can serve as a freight bill and aid in accounting.

Insurance certificate:

The Master Airway Bill is a legal document stating that the carrier has received the goods. It can also be used as insurance proof concerning the cargo, particularly if sought by the supplier.

Customs declaration:

One of the most important documents provided at the customs clearing counter is the Master Airway Bill. It is a legal document that contains information on the freight being transported by air.
An Airway Bill is a key document required to export from India. With e-commerce exports programs, Indian exporters can grow their businesses and take their local products across the world with ease.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Who issues a Master Airway Bill?
A carrier issues a Master Airway Bill to a freight forwarder upon receiving a shipment. The delivery details to a specified destination and agreed upon in the shipping terms are already given.
Are Master Airway Bill and Master Bill of Lading same?
A Master Airway Bill is evidence of receipt provided by an air carrier to a shipper upon receipt of items for shipment. A Bill of Lading is a document of evidence of receipt provided by a sea carrier of goods to a shipper upon receipt of items for shipment.
Why is a Master Airway Bill issued?
A Master Airway Bill is among the most critical documentation for air freight transfer, it serves as evidence of receipt of goods.
Published on August 29, 2022.


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