What are the Key Differences Between Airway Bill and Bill of Lading?

Precise documentation plays a crucial role in ensuring the smooth flow of goods from one point to another in the world of international shipping. Among the various shipping documents, the airway bill (AWB) and bill of lading (BOL) hold significant importance as they contain essential shipping information. 

In this article, we will explore the key differences between these two documents. Additionally, we will discuss how the adoption of a freight management software can alleviate the paper-intensive nature of shipping documentation management and unleash logistics efficiency! 

Read on to discover the benefits of streamlining your logistics operations!

What is the Airway Bill (AWB):

The airway bill is a critical document used in air freight operations. It serves as a contract of carriage between the shipper and the airline. 

The AWB typically contains essential information, including the shipper’s and consignee’s details (names and addresses etc), the description of the goods (eg. quantity, weight, dimensions, value for customs), insurance details and the terms and conditions of transportation. 

There are two types of AWBs: the master AWB and the house airway bill (HAWB).

The master AWB is issued by the airline carrier to the freight forwarder or consolidator. It covers the entire shipment, which may consist of multiple HAWBs. 

On the other hand, the HAWB is issued by the freight forwarder to the shipper or exporter. It contains specific details about the individual shipments within the consolidated consignment.

What is the Bill of Lading (BOL):

The bill of lading, commonly used in ocean freight operations, serves as a contract of carriage and a receipt of goods. It represents the ownership of the goods and provides detailed information about the shipment that are comparable to an AWB. 

Similar to the AWB, the BOL has two types: the master bill of lading and the house bill of lading (HBL).

The master BOL is issued by the shipping line or carrier to the freight forwarder or Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier (NVOCC). It covers the entire shipment, including multiple HBLs when there is a need to aggregate multiple small shipments from different shippers due to less than container load requirements. 

The HBL, on the other hand, is issued by the freight forwarder or NVOCC to the shipper. It provides specific details about each individual shipment within the consolidated container.

How a Freight Management Software Helps with Shipping Documentation:

The logistics industry has traditionally been burdened with paper-intensive processes, including the handling and management of shipping documentation. These manual practices often result in delays, errors, and increased costs. 

However, with the advent of freight management software, there is an opportunity to streamline these operations. Freight management software automates the creation, processing, and management of shipping documentation. It allows for the digital generation of AWBs, BOLs, and other required documents, eliminating the need for manual paperwork. 

This helps to save time, reduce risk of errors and improves overall efficiency for freight operators. By leveraging digital solutions, logistics businesses can unleash their operational efficiency.

Conclusion – Automate Shipping Documentation and Enhance Efficiency with a Freight Management Software:

In conclusion, the airway bill primarily applies to air freight, while the bill of lading is primarily associated with ocean freightBoth documents have their respective types, namely the master AWB and HAWB, as well as the master BOL and HBL. Given the significance and volume of shipping documents, the logistics industry stand to benefit from the adoption of digital solutions that can automate traditional manual paper to drive efficiency gains. 

As a logistics software business that specializes in providing ERP solutions for freight forwarders and contract logistics providers, One Logis invite you to explore our freight management software and experience the benefits of streamlined shipping documentation management!

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