The Power of AWB Tracking in Shipment Transparency

vijay kumar
4 min readJan 24, 2024
Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

AWB Tracking

When you are shipping a package, it is important to know the tracking number. This number allows you to track the package’s progress from start to finish. This blog post will discuss what AWB tracking is and how it works. Stay tuned for more shipping tips.

What are AWBs?

The air waybill is an air carrier’s document for the transportation of cargo. It acts as a receipt and a contract of carriage. The shipper issues an Air Waybill Number to each shipment, which acts as the reference number for all information pertaining to that shipment on file with the airline.

An AWB provides instructions to airlines on how to handle the paperwork involved in transporting goods by air. It also serves as a receipt when goods are received and given over for transportation. An Air Waybill does not include information about who owns the goods, what they are, or any additional documents such as invoices or correspondence (e.g., bills of lading). For transpacific shipments, it may also contain helpful information for customs officials.

Air Waybills are not available to the general public and never include any price information about the shipment. An AWB is issued by a shipper or their authorized agent as “a bill of lading” (similar to an invoice), which serves as a receipt for goods received and as a contract of carriage between other parties.

The Air Waybill number must be referenced on all required documents, such as bills of lading, commercial invoices, and U.S. government export declarations. It should not be confused with the label generated by the air waybill system, which is used only for internal reference at origin and destination points.

Services of AWB:

The majority of international shipments use an AWB. The Air Waybill is a document where a shipper’s company may choose different options from the carriers, such as:

In addition to providing information on the shipment contents, an AWB may also include specific instructions for handling and routing of goods, including limited liability release endorsements (for example, limited liability of damage due to temperature control). Regulations require that some types of hazardous materials shipments have special documentation attached.

The type required will vary depending on the kind of cargo involved and shipped. Carriers will carry additional forms, which must be attached when required by their tariff or government regulations. This is usually specified in a provision at Clause 4 “Consolidation And Containerisation,” in the contract or agreement between the shipper and the carrier.

The issuing carrier is usually coded on an airline’s waybill, making it possible to trace air cargo shipments through the entire delivery process. The Air Waybill itself does not include price information of any kind, even if it were to be requested or purchased by a 3rd party — the only exception is for truckload (TL) “less-than-truckload” (LTL) when they are showing less than truckloads or LTL shipments that are consolidated into larger trucks or trailers.

An AWB may also include other services in addition to transporting goods, such as storage/warehousing, handling, customs clearance, etc., marked by special annotations in Clause 1 of the document.

The Air Waybill must be presented to the airline for all shipments, whether it is a full truckload (TL) or less-than-truckload (LTL), less than container load (LCL), breakbulk, general cargo, hazardous material, etc. The document transfers the responsibility of goods from shipper to carrier.

Benefits of AWB Tracking:

- Commercial carriers such as FedEx and UPS offer great rates for documents and letters but add exorbitant charges for urgent shipments.

- The benefit of having your company use an airline is that they will not charge additional fees for necessary “expedited” handling — although, when complications arise, it can be highly frustrating when you don’t know exactly what’s going on with your shipment.

- Air bills are required to keep track of cargo movement. This allows you to tell where a particular air bill is at any given point in time. If the receiving party signs the AWB or invoice, the shipping company will release your package to them.


AWB tracking is a way of keeping track of shipments as they travel from location to location. It will help you know the status and estimated time for arrival at your destination. If available, this information can be accessed by logging into your account on any airline’s website or directly through their app. Shipping with us? Our team has years of experience in international shipping logistics which means we have all the knowledge needed to provide safe transportation around the world no matter how big or small.