|Air Shipping Glossary
An AWB is a bill of lading which covers both domestic and international flights transporting goods to a specified
destination. Technically, it is a non-negotiable instrument of air transport which serves as a receipt for the
shipper, indicating that the carrier has accepted the goods listed therein and obligates itself to carry the
consignment to the airport of destination according to specified conditions. Normally AWB refers to the Air
Waybill issued by carrying airlines and also called Master Air Waybill (MAWB) which comes with three digits of
numeric airline identification codes issued by IATA to non-U.S. based airlines and Air Transport Association of
America to U.S. based airlines. However, air freight forwarders also issue HAWB (House Air Waybill) to their
customers for each of the shipments.
A unit load device (ULD) which links directly with the airplane cargo handling and restraint system.
A term used to describe blocked space by airlines on behalf of forwarders/shippers.
Actual Time of Arrival, or Airport-To-Airport, or Air Transport Association of America.
Actual Time of Departure.
The Customs Service authorizes bonded warehouses for storage or manufacture of goods on which payment of
duties is deferred until the goods enter the Customs Territory. The goods are not subject to duties if re-shipped
to foreign points.
Break Bulk (B/B)
For consolidated air freight, it is moved under one MAWB and each consignment designated to specific consignee
or recipient is under one HAWB. When freight forwarder receives the consolidated cargo from carrier, they will
break the consolidation apart per HAWB then proceed customs clearance along with associated shipping and
import documents. Such Break-Bulk is normally handled by airlines or their contracted ground handling agent.
A customs document permitting the holder to carry or send merchandise temporarily into certain foreign
countries for display, demonstration or other purposes without paying import duties or posting bonds.
An aircraft configured to carry both passengers and cargo on the Main Deck.
Delivery of merchandise from an exporter (the consignor) to an agent (the consignee) under agreement that the
agent sell the merchandise for the account of the exporter. The consignor retains title to the goods until sold.
The consignee sells the goods for commission and remits the net proceeds to the consignor.
In order to handle small lot of consignment efficiently and competitively, freight forwarder usually put many
consignments into one lot then tender to carrier for forwarding. In this case, each consignment will be shipped
with one HAWB respectively and all of them will be under one master AWB.
The government authorities designated to collect duties levied by a country on imports and exports.
An individual or company licensed by the government to enter and clear goods through Customs. The U.S.
Customs Service defines a Customs Broker, as any person who is licensed in accordance with Part III of Title 19
of the Code of Federal Regulations (Customs regulations) to transact Customs business on behalf of others.
Customs business is limited to those activities involving transactions with Customs concerning the entry and
admissibility of merchandise; its classification and valuation; the payment of duties, taxes, or other charges
assessed or collected by Customs upon merchandise by reason of its importation, or the refund, rebate, or
The procedures involved in getting cargo released by Customs through designated formalities such as
presenting import license/permit, payment of import duties and other required documentations by the nature of
the cargo such as FCC or FDA approval.
A document, required by some foreign countries' customs officials to verify the value, quantity, and nature of the
shipment, describing the shipment of goods and showing information such as the consignor, consignee, and
value of the shipment.
Commodities classified by IATA according to its nature and characteristic in terms of the effect of its danger to
carrier's flying safety.
Deliver Duty Paid.
Deliver Duty Unpaid.
Also called measurement weight. This is the size of consignment calculated by total square feet by 6000. Carrier
charge for freight based on the dimensional weight or actual gross weight whichever is higher.
Ship without consolidation and under one MAWB ie non-consolidation.
Drawback is a rebate by a government, in whole or in part, of customs duties assessed on imported
merchandise that is subsequently exported. Drawback regulations and procedures vary among countries.
A tax imposed on imports by the customs authority of a country. Duties are generally based on the value of the
goods, some other factors such as weight or quantity (specific duties), or a combination of value and other
factors (compound duties).
EDI, Electronic Data Interchange for Administration, Commerce, and Transportation, is an international syntax
used in the interchange of electronic data. Customs uses EDI to interchange data with the importing trade
Estimated Time of Arrival. Then, It normally takes 3 hours for carriers to Break Bulk then ready to be picked up by
forwarders along with customs release notification.
Estimated Time of Departure. The cut-off time for carriers' cargo ramp handling is normally two hours ahead of
ETD. However, the freight forwarders' consolidation cut-off time may vary depending on each forwarder's
Freight Carriage ... paid to
Like C & F, "Freight/Carriage paid to ..." means that the seller pays the freight for the carriage of the goods to
the named destination. However, the risk of loss of or damage to the goods, as well as of any cost increases, is
transferred from the seller to the buyer when the goods have been delivered into the custody of the first carrier
and not at the ship's rail. The term can be used for all modes of transport including multi-modal operations and
container or "roll on-roll off" traffic by trailer and ferries. When the seller has to furnish a bill of lading, waybill or
carrier's receipt, he duly fulfills this obligation by presenting such a document issued by the person with whom
he has contracted for carriage to the named destination. (Also see incoterms)
Freight Carriage ... and Insurance paid to
This term is the same as "Freight/Carriage Paid to ..." but with the addition that the seller has to procure
transport insurance against the risk of loss of damage to the goods during the carriage. The seller contracts with
the insurer and pays the insurance premium.
In the context of travel activities, gateway refers to a major airport or seaport. Internationally, gateway can also
mean the port where customs clearance takes place.
The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (or Harmonized System, HS) is a system for
classifying goods in international trade, developed under the auspices of the Customs Cooperation Council.
Beginning on January 1, 1989, the new HS numbers replaced previously adhered-to schedules in over 50
countries, including the United States.
House Air waybill issued by carrying airlines' agent, normally freight forwarder.
International Air Transport Association (IATA), established in 1945, is a trade association serving airlines,
passengers, shippers, travel agents, and governments. The association promotes safety, standardization in
forms (baggage checks, tickets, weigh bills), and aids in establishing international airfares. IATA headquarter is
in Geneva, Switzerland.
Two-character Airline identification assigned by IATA in accordance with provisions of Resolution 762. It is for use
in reservations, timetables, tickets, tariffs as well as air waybill.
The import certificate is a means by which the government of the country of ultimate destination exercises legal
control over the internal channeling of the commodities covered by the import certificate.
A document required and issued by some national governments authorizing the importation of goods. Also
referred as import permit. With such documentation, customs clearance can be conducted.
Import restriction, applied by a country with an adverse trade balance (or for other reasons), reflect a desire to
control the volume of goods coming into the country from other countries may include the imposition of tariffs or
import quotas, restrictions on the amount of foreign currency available to cover imports, a requirement for import
deposits, the imposition of import surcharges, or the prohibition of various categories of imports.
Maintained by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), this codification of terms is used in foreign trade
contracts to define which parties incur the costs and at what specific point the costs are incurred. (also see
This certificate is used to assure the consignee that insurance is provided to cover loss of or damage to the
cargo while in transit.
An intermediate consignee is the bank, forwarding agent, or other intermediary (if any) that acts in a foreign
country as an agent for the exporter, the purchaser, or the ultimate consignee, for the purpose of effecting
delivery of the export to the ultimate consignee.
Movement of goods by more than one mode of transport, ie. airplane, truck, railroad and ship.
Lower deck type 3 container. This is the most commonly used container in passenger aircraft.
The compartment below the Main Deck (also synonymous with lower hold and lower lobe).
The deck on which the major portion of payload is carried, normally known as Upper Deck of an airplane. The full
cargo freighter aircraft has it entire upper deck equipped for main deck type of containers/pallets while Combi
aircraft uses it rear part of the upper deck for cargo loading. There is no upper deck or main deck type of
container/pallet at passenger aircraft.
No Value Declared.
A shipping document issued by shipper to carrier, Customs and consignee serving the purposes of identifying
detail information of package count, products count, measurement of each package, weight of each package, etc.
Proof Of Delivery, or a cargo/package receipt with the signature of recipient. This term has been widely used in
courier and express industry and also gaining more attention and implementation at air cargo industry..
Pro Forma Invoice
An invoice provided by a supplier prior to the shipment of merchandise, informing the buyer of the kinds and
quantities of goods to be sent, their value, and important specifications (weight, size, and similar
characteristics). When an importer apply's for Letter of Credit as the means of payment, a Pro Forma Invoice
from the beneficiary of such Letter of Credit, usually the exporter, is required by the L/C issuing bank.
The letters, numbers or other symbols placed on the outside of cargo to facilitate identification.
Shipping weight represents the gross weight in kilograms of shipments, including the weight of moisture
content, wrappings, crates, boxes, and containers (other than cargo vans and similar substantial outer
TACT stands for The Air Cargo Tariff. It is published by IAP -- International Airlines Publications, an IATA company.
The weight of a ULD and tie down materials without the weight of the goods it contains.
Temporary Importation under Bond
When an importer makes entry of articles and claimed to be exempt from duty under Chapter 98, Subchapter
XIII, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States, a bond is posted with Customs which guarantees that
these items will be exported within a specified time frame (usually within one year from the date of importation).
Failure to export these items makes the importer liable for the payment of liquidated damages for breach of the
Transshipment refers to the act of sending an exported product through an intermediate country before routing
it to the country intended to be its final destination.
Unit Load Device, Any type of container, container with integral pallet, aircraft container or aircraft pallet.
The ultimate consignee is the person located abroad who is the true party in interest, receiving the export for
the designated end-use.
Value for Customs Purposes Only
The U.S. Customs Service defines "value for Customs purposes only" as the value submitted on the entry
documentation by the importer which may or may not reflect information from the manufacturer but in no way
reflects Customs appraisement of the merchandise.
A term indicating that a shipper's agent or representative is empowered to make definitive decisions and
adjustments abroad without approval of the group or individual represented.
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