MAWB (Master Air Waybill)

What is a MAWB or Master Air Waybill

The Master Air Waybill is usually issued by the carrier of the cargo. This document acts as a form of proof that the cargo has been received from the shipper. The MAWB can also represent a contract that the carrier has undertaken that obligates him/her to deliver the cargo to a specified location.

What is a HAWB of House Air Waybill

A HAWB is issued by the freight forwarder as a proof of receipt for cargo and it also represents a contract for carriage.

Both the HAWB and MAWB are transport documents. However both are not documents of title and are non-negotiable.

How do House and Master Air Waybills?

When a freight forwarder accepts cargo, it has the obligation to safely transport the cargo to the specified destination. When the carrier receives the physical cargo, it will issue a MAWB to the party contracting for carriage. In other words, the freight forwarder will issue a HAWB to the party contracting for carriage while the carrier (airline) will issue a MAWB to the freight forwarder that booked cargo space.

Difference between House and Master Air Waybills?

  • MAWB is issued and signed by the carrier, while the HAWB is issued and signed by the freight forwarder
  • MAWB is covered by all IATA rules while the HAWB might not be
  • MAWB states the full terms of contract for carriage with main carrier while HAWB might not
  • MAWB will be trackable on the carrier’s website but the HAWB might not

Air Waybills are a form of Bills of Lading. However, the term Bill of Lading usually refers to a B/L for ocean or maritime transport and should not be confused with an Air Waybill.

Air Waybills contain the following information:

  • Shipper’s name
  • Shipper’s address
  • Consignee’s name
  • Consignee’s address,
  • Origin airport code
  • Destination airport code
  • Shipment value for Customs
  • Description of the cargo
  • Number of pieces
  • Gross weight
  • Special instructions


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