What is AWB

First things first, an AWB is a type of Bill of Lading. There are two mainly two types of international cargo transport systems in the world, ocean and air, so naturally there are also two types of bills of lading namely ocean bill of lading and airway bill(short for airway bill of lading) or AWB . The purpose of AWB is merely a binding document between the importer/exporter and the shipping agent (airline/cargo carrier).This AWB gives authority to the carrier to transport the goods as well as acts as documentary proof of acceptance of the goods in fair condition.

What non negotiable means

The primary difference between ocean bill of lading and AWB is that the latter is “non negotiable” whereas ocean BL is negotiable. This means that the AWB is only a freight document and does not specify particulars of the consignment or its monetary value.

Picture of a typical airway bill format from Fedex   airway bill india

airway bill format

*AWB Tracking

An airway bill is issued in triplicate by the freight carrier.

1.Customs copy

2.Destination copy

3.Recipient copy

 air waybill tracking

In order to track your shipment each AWB is assigned a unique  11 digit number in the format xxx-xxxxxxx.The first three numbers indicate the airline code. Each airline has a static code,followed by an 8 digit tracking number. Simply fill in the tracking code into the respective airline website tracking number lookup at various times during transportation to keep tabs on your parcel.Below is a list of some airline/freight carriers and their tracking website urls.


Air India

Hongkong air

China cargo

Dhl aero expresso

Dhl aviation

Klm cargo



For Fedex shipments,each AWB carries a 12 digit tracking code,that can be punched into the website tracking tab to know the location of the cargo instantaneously.


Us airways


*Airway bill tracking number Blue Dart

For users of Google Adsense,checks made out to publishers arrive via blue dart.You can track your check at the URL here:

 Any other carrier


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  1. prashant November 11, 2011 at 6:03 am #

    what is HAWB can you highlight that topic please

  2. bijay das November 7, 2011 at 4:03 am #

    good pictures.only site where i can find info about airway bills thanks

  3. Caroll Hammel October 8, 2011 at 9:27 am #

    very informative post,one of the few that explain the airway bill.I must say the explanation is even better than the one at wiki,i was wondering,if this is an AWB of something you imported personally? and where from?

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