Difference between Hawb and Mawb

It is of the utmost importance that shipped goods be documented by the carrier. Regardless of the origin and destination, it is crucial that goods should be properly organized as both parties need proof of the consignment. Unfortunately, most people do not understand the difference between both terms and consider them to be the same.

When a person uses air freight to transfer goods from one location to another, the airline releases a document named as ‘Airway Bill’ or AWB. The AWB is further classified into two different types known as HAWB and MAWB.

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  • 1

    MAWB is known as Master Airway Bill and is presented by the airline of the agent to the customer. This bill details the complete information of the consignment including the place of origin, destination and cost of the shipment. Most importantly MAWB is not negotiable and it is issued by the agent on behalf of the airline.

    In contrast, HAWB also known as House Airway Bill is released by a freight agent and it serves as proof that the goods have been received by the customer. HAWB provides two benefits to the customer as it serves as proof of goods while it is also evidence of an agreement between both parties. Not to mention, HAWB clearly states the terms and conditions and should be read by both parties carefully. One should be clear that HAWB is not the document title. Most importantly, only one copy of HAWB is issued while the airline or the agent releases seven copies of MAWB and the initial three copies are considered to be original.

    HAWB does not have a long verification code like MAWB as the latter has an eleven-digit code. First three digits are known to be prefixes while the rest of the numbers are used in keeping track of the consignment.

  • 2

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    The House Airway Bill is issued by a freight handler to the customer as a proof that goods have been received and the carrier will take responsibility of the consignment.

  • 3


    The Master Airway Bill is very important as it is issued by the agent on behalf of the airline to the customer. The first three copies out of the seven total of the MAWB are considered to be originals.

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