Understanding Nuts and Bolts of Ocean Bill of Lading and Air Waybill

It will help you to differentiate between the two major modes of transportation.

Mainly, there are three ways of transportation – road, air, and ocean. However, the ocean and air are the two most convenient mediums of transportation if you’re going to ship goods overseas. Despite both their capability of transporting goods, under different circumstances you would want to choose one over the other. It can depend on the time frame in which you want to get the cargo shipped to your consumer and the budget you would want to spent on the shipment. Here, we are going to discuss both the types of bills of Lading – the Ocean Bill of Lading and the Air Waybill.

Ocean Bill Vs Air Bill - Connect2india Blog Posts

What is Ocean Bill of Lading?

Apart from being a collection of documents or invoices, this bill acts as the Cargo receipt as well as the transportation contract between the carrier and the exporter. The Ocean Bill of Lading also signifies ownership, which makes it eligible to be bought, sold, or traded during the transportation of the goods if they are in negotiable form.


How Ocean Bill of Lading Works

You, being a shipper, will be able to move your goods across the international waters when you have Ocean Bill of Lading with you. The nature of the shipment along with specifics which include information regarding the type of goods transported, destination of goods and the quantity. All of them must be provided in this document or contract. Moreover, the value of the shipped goods with the packing for transportation as outlined in this bill.

Once the goods are picked, the contract is received by the shipper and it’s important to ensure that the carrier and shipper must have sign the document. The document is given to the receiver upon the completion of the shipment and the contract must be signed by the receiver once the delivery is received successfully.

Well, there’s another document available in the market, called Inland Bill Lading, which is applied when goods are suppose to be transported overland at first. However, the Inland bill helps the goods reach shore whereas the Ocean Bill of Lading takes care of overseas transportation through the water.


How Ocean Bill of Lading Works

You, being a shipper, will be able to move your goods across the international waters when you have Ocean Bill of Lading with you. The nature of the shipment along with specifics which include information regarding the type of goods transported, destination of goods and the quantity. All of them must be provided in this document or contract. Moreover, the value of the shipped goods with the packing for transportation as outlined in this bill.


Common Types of Ocean Bill of Lading

There are several types of this bill which are being used at the moment. The straight bill of Lading is marked as non-negotiable. The person whose name is written on the bill will be the only person to claim on the goods upon delivery. Parties with open accounts are generally involved in this bill. The goods can be received only by showing the identification of the buyer as per the rules of Ocean Bill of Lading.


What is Air Waybill (AWB)?

When an item is shipped by the international air courier, the Air Waybill or AWB escorts the goods to offer the shipment details which makes it easier to track down. The multiple copies of the document enable all the parties included in the shipment to document it. A type of bill of Lading, AWB is also known as Air Consignment Note.


How Air Waybill Works

The carrier (airline) makes use of the Air Waybill as a receipt of the goods whereas the document also acts as the contract carriage between the carrier and shipper. Enforceable by law, Air Waybill is a legal contract which ensures safe and error-free shipping and transportation after the carrier (or a carrier’s agent) and the shipper (shipper’s agent) sign the contract.

The Air Waybill will also contain the name and address of the shipper and consignee along with the three-letter origin and destination airport code, several pieces, professed shipment value, description of materials, and gross weight. Also, the AWB will contain special information (if any).


AWB Requirements

Designed and distributed by IATA (International Air Transport Association), Air Waybill is of two sorts – airline-specific and neutral. Head office address, logo, Carrier’s name, and Air Waybill number are mandatory and shall be mentioned on the Airline Air Waybill. On the other hand, Neutral AWBs have an identical format and layout as compared to the airline AWB but they are not pre populated.


Ocean Bill of Lading vs. Air Waybill

Unlike the Ocean Bill of Lading and any other bills of Lading the Air Waybill is non-negotiable, which signifies that they don’t mention which flight is going to transport the goods and when the shipment will reach its destination.

Bills of Lading are the lawful documents, acting as an agreement between carrier and shipper which detailed information of destination, type, and quantity.

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