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Glossary of air freight terms


AGENT (AGT): The relationship existing between two parties by which one is authorized to transact certain business for the other.

AIR WAYBILL (AWB or MAWB): The document made out by or on behalf of the shipper which, when used, evidences the contract between the shipper and carrier(s) for carriage of goods over routes of the carrier(s).

AIR WAYBILL DATA MESSAGE (FWB): Standard CargoIMP message identifier for electronic Master

Air Waybill Data – MAWB: It eliminates the need for paper AWB or data re-entry.

AIRCRAFT ON GROUND (AOG): Applies to parts needed to return an aircraft to service and have first boarding priority

AUTOMATED MANIFEST SYSTEM (AMS): A US Customs & Border Protection Agency system used to notify the details of shipments loaded onto a specific flight.


BOOKING: The allotment in advance of space or weight capacity of goods.


CARGO (CGO): Also referred to as “goods”, means any property carried or to be carried on an aircraft, other than mail or other property carried under terms of an international postal convention, baggage or property of the carrier; provided that baggage moving under an air waybill or a shipment record is cargo.

CARGO ACCOUNTS SETTLEMENT SYSTEM (CASS): A system of accounting and settling accounts between CASS Airlines and appointed IATA Cargo Agents.

CARGO CHARGES CORRECTION ADVICE (CCA): The document used for the notification of changes to the transportation charges and/or the other charges and/or the method of payment.

CARGO DECLARATION: Information submitted prior to or on arrival for departure of a means of transport for commercial us that proved the particulars required by Customs relating to cargo brought to or removed from the customs territory.

Cargo IMP version of EDIFACT (CargoFACT): Cargo IMP version of UN Electronic Data Interchange for Administration, Commerce and Transport – EDIFACT

CARGO INTERCHANGE MESSAGE PROCEDURE (CARGO-IMP): Messaging procedures developed by the member airlines of the ATA and IATA.

CARGO MANIFEST: A document listed by AWB numbers loaded on a flight. It is mainly used for customs entry/exit.

CARNET: A customs document permitting the holder to send or carry merchandise into certain foreign countries temporarily without paying duties or posting bonds.

CARRIAGE: Also referred to as “transportation”, means carriage of cargo by air.

CARRIER: The transportation carrier issuing the airwaybill and creating the shipment record and all other carriers that carry of undertake to carry the cargo under the airwaybill or shipment record or to perform any other services related to such air carriage.

CERTIFICATE OR ORIGIN: A document often required by certain countries which establishes the country of origin of specified goods.

COMMERCIAL INVOICE: Shipper’s document describing the goods being shipped and their value which must accompany all international and transborder shipments.

COMMODITY: Description of goods being shipped.

CONDITIONS OF CARRIAGE: The terms and conditions established by a carrier in respect to its carriage.

CONDITIONS OF CONTRACT: The terms and conditions shown on the air waybill or with any consent by the shipper that shipment record may be used.

CONNECTING CARRIER: A carrier whose service the cargo is to be transferred for onward connecting transportation.

CONSIGNEE (CNEE): The person whose name appears on the air waybill or in the shipment record as the party to who the goods are to be delivered by the carrier.

CONSIGNMENT: See “Shipment”.

CONSIGNOR: See “Shipper”.

CONSOLIDATION LIST MESSAGE (FHL): A standard CargoIMP message identifier used to provide a “Check-list” of House Waybills (HAWB’s) associated with a Master AirWaybill (MAWB)

CUSTOMS: The Government Service which is responsible for the administration of customs law and the collection of duties and taxes.

CUSTOMS BROKER: An agent specialized in inbound customs clearance.

CUSTOMS CLEARANCE: The accomplishment of the Customs formalities necessary to allow goods to enter the country, to be exported or to be placed under another customers procedure.

CUSTOMS CLEARANCE AGENT: A customs broker or other agent of the consignee designated to perform customs clearance services for the consignee.


DANGEROUS GOODS (DG): Articles or substances which are capable of posing a significant risk to health, safety or to property when transported by air.

DESCRIPTION OF GOODS: Plain language description of the nature of the goods sufficient to identify them at the level required for banking, customs, statistical or transport purposes.

DESTINATION: The ultimate stopping place according to the contract of carriage.

DOCUMENTATION: The required paperwork accompanying a shipment such as airwaybill, Export Declaration, Health Certificates.


EDIFACT: Electronic Data Interchange for Administration, Commerce and Transport.

EXPORT PERMIT: A government document authorizing the export of specific goods to designated countries.


FLIGHT NUMBER: The designation of a flight.

FORWARDER (FWDR): Appointed by the shipper, and as an agent of the airline, to process and arrange export consignments overseas.

FREIGHT STATUS UPDATE (FSU): Standard CargoIMP message identifier used to notify/update interested parties with a (change of) status of a shipment as recorded in the system of the handling party.

FREIGHT STATUS REQUEST (FSR): Standard CargoIMP message identifier used to request the current status of a nominated shipment.

FREIGHT STATUS ANSWER (FSA): A standard CargoIMP message identifier used to reply to a Status Request (FSR) indicating latest status, or statuses, in the movement of
the nominated shipment.


GENERAL SALES AGENT (GSA): An agent authorized in a country to handle an airline’s export sales/services.

GOODS: See “Cargo”.

GOODS DECLARATION: A statement made in the manner prescribed by the Customs by which person concerned indicate the Customs procedure to be applied to the goods and finish the particulars which the Customs require for its application.

GROSS WEIGHT: The weight of a shipment, it’s container and packing material.


HEALTH CERTIFICATE: A document signed by a veterinarian attesting to the good health of an animal tendered for shipment.

HOUSE AIR WAYBILL (HAWB): Document issued by an international air Freight Forwarder under the terms of their own tariff.


IATA CARGO AGENT: A forwarder/broker who has been approved and is recognized by IATA to receive cargo, issue airwaybills and other documents for carriers and collect charges for air shipments.

IATA CARRIER: A carrier that is a member of the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

IMPORT PERMIT: A document required and issued by some national governments uthorizing the importation of goods into their country.

IN-BOND TRANSPORTATION: Transporting a transit cargo shipment in bond without clearing customs to the destination.

INTERLINE CARRIAGE: The carriage over the routes of two or more air carriers.

INTERLINE CARRIER: The carriage over the route of two or more air carriers.



KYOTO CONVENTION: International Convention on the simplification and harmonization of customs procedures.


LETTER OF CREDIT (L/C): A letter from a bank, on behalf of a buyer, addressed to the seller authorizing him or her to draw drafts for a stipulated amount, under specified terms and to provide eventual payment for drafts within a given time.


MASTER AIR WAYBILL (MAWB): The carrier’s airwaybill issued to cover a consolidated shipment tendered by a forwarder or consolidator.

MONTREAL PROTOCOL No.4: Protocol to amend the Convention for the Unification of certain rules relating to International Carriage by Air.


NET WEIGHT: The actual weight of an article exclusive of the packaging

NOTIFICATION OF ARRIVAL: A written notice sent to the consignee notifying them of a shipment’s arrival.


ORIGIN: Starting point of a shipment.


RECEIVING CARRIER: The carrier receiving the consignment from a carrier, agent or shipper or onward transportation.

REROUTING: The route to be followed as altered from that originally specified on the AWB.

RESERVATION: See “Booking”

ROAD FEEDER SERVICE (RFS): Surface transportation arranged by a carrier to/from his gateway stations to another airport.

ROUTING: The route to be followed as originally specified in the AWB or shipment record.


SHIPMENT (SHPT): One or more pieces of goods accepted by the carrier from one shipper at one time and at one address, receipted for in one lot and moving on one airwaybill or shipment record to one consignee at one destination address.

SHIPPER (SHPR): The person who originates the shipment of goods. Also known as the “consignor”.

SHIPPER’S LETTER OF INSTRUCTION (SLI): The document containing instructions by the shipper or shipper’s agent for preparing documents and forwarding.

SPECIAL DRAWING RIGHT (SDR): A reserve asset used as a unit of account, as defined by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS: Directions for handling a shipment and/or delivery directions for a shipment.


TARIFF: The published rates, charges and related rules of a carrier.

THE AIR CARGO TARIFF (TACT): Rules regulations and rates published for international air shipments.

THIRD PARTY: Any person who acts on behalf of another person.

THROUGH CARGO: Cargo staying on board at a stopping place en-route for ongoing carrier on the same flight.

TRANSFER: Movement of cargo from one carrier to another against transfer manifest.

TRANSFER CARGO: Cargo arriving at a point by one carrier and continuing it’s journey here from by another carrier.

TRANSFER MANIFEST (TRM): The document executed by the transferring carrier upon transfer of interline cargo and endorsed by the receiving carrier as a receipt for the consignment transferred.

TRANSFERRING CARRIER: The participating carrier transferring the consignment to another carrier at a transit point.

TRANSSHIPMENT: The unloading of cargo from one flight and loading onto another for onward carriage.

TRANSIT: An enroute stopping place where cargo remains on board.

TRANSIT CARGO: Cargo arriving at a point and departing by another flight.



ULD CONTROL RECEIPT (UCR): A voucher of transfer ULD signed by transferring and receiving carriers which is used to retrieve ULD and for account settlement of ULD demurrage.

UNIT LOAD DEVICE (ULD): A container or pallet used to transport cargo on an aircraft.


Valuable Cargo VAL Shipments of high value requiring advance arrangement and special handling.


eXtensible Markup Language (XML): The Extensible Markup Language (XML) is a markup language that provides a platform- and application-neutral format for describing data.

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