Airfreight Documentation

The most important types of airfreight documentationThose who are shipping goods overseas by aircraft will need to have a variety of different pieces of documentation to hand. On this page, we are going to take a little look at some of the most important pieces of airfreight documentation to have.

Air Waybills

This is going to, essentially, be your document of carriage. It is the contract between the company exporting the goods and the airline. It is your receipt so you are going to need to keep it to hand. The air waybill will include details of the goods shipped, the weight, and the terms and conditions of your contract. If you need to make a claim under your airfreight insurance, this will be one of the key documents that you need to hand.

Air waybills may include information about the flight, the sender and the receiver. It is not going to be a document which highlights the title of the goods. It is more as evidence that the goods have actually been shipped and that they are on their way to their final destination.

Certificate of Origin

Some goods, if you are importing at least, will require a certificate of origin. This will say where the goods come from. It is used to conform to various laws. If you are importing goods, your freight forwarder will help you to determine whether you need to have a certificate of origin in place or not.


In some cases, you may require a license to export and import certain goods. It is absolutely vital that you check the relevant laws in your country and the country that you are sending the goods to in order to find out whether this is something which applies to you.

Export cargo shipping instruction

This is a small piece of paperwork which is only going to be required if you are using either a freight forwarder or carrier. It will not be used if it is you sending the goods direct (i.e. booking the flight etc.). This information is, for all intents and purposes, going to be the contract that you have between the freight forwarder and you. This contract will highlight the agreement of the goods to get to a particular destination and how it is going to get there. Once this document has been signed, the freight forwarder will need to conform to their side of the contract and ensure that the cargo arrives wherever it needs to do so in a timely manner.

Selling terms

This contract will be between the buyer and the seller. It will cover who is responsible for the costs of moving the goods. This is an especially important document if you are shipping overseas because you need to show that somebody has agreed to pay the import tax on the other end (this does not apply if your goods do not leave Europe). If this is not agreed in advance, the buyer will automatically need to cover all import tax.