Waybill: Simplified Definition

A waybill, like a courier's receipt, contains information about the consignor and consignee, details like the origin and destination sites of the shipment. On the back of the form, there are usually "conditions of contract of carriage" stipulations that address liability limits and other terms and conditions.

Waybill: Technical Definition

ClickPost defines a waybill (UIC) as a document issued by a logistics company/carrier that includes critical information regarding the transportation of goods, such as the names of the consignor and consignee, the point of origin of the consignment, its destination, and route. The waybill is usually affixed to the outside of the item. Couriers use their customs officials and even machines to quickly identify and monitor the delivery, even in real-time, using the waybill's unique tracking number. 

Why do we need a waybill? / What is a waybill used for?

A Waybill is critical to a shipment's identity in the shipping industry.

  • It specifies exactly what the goods being delivered is, where it's going, who is it delivering to, and how it is meant to get there. 

  • A Waybill is required for package tracking critical for both consumers who rely on shipping firms to deliver their shipments on time and businesses that need to verify their products are received properly. 

  • Consumers and carriers can use waybill tracking to anticipate delivery times and manage losses.

What is the difference between a waybill and a bill of lading?

Both the waybill and the bill of lading are international trade facilitation documents. The fundamental distinction between a waybill and a bill of lading is that-

  • A bill of lading communicates title, while a waybill just acts as proof that the consignee has agreed with the shipper to transport the goods to a specific location. 

  • Another critical distinction between a bill of lading and a waybill is that the former is a negotiable instrument, whereas the latter is not.

  • The owner of a bill of lading can transfer the title to anyone they want, whereas a waybill can only be transferred to the person named the consignee on the document. 

How many types of waybill are there?

The waybill is divided into categories based on the mode of transportation. A sea waybill, for example, is a waybill that is issued for ocean freight. This same concept applies to all modes of transportation, including air, road, and rail. Depending on the order volume, the number of carriers, and other factors, the waybill can be of many types, majorly three- Astray Waybills, which are used when a shipment's original Waybill has been lost or miscarried, Blanket Waybills, which cover two or more shipments in one document, and Interline Waybills, which are used when two or more carriers handle a shipment.

Is a waybill the same as an invoice?

An invoice issued by a seller to a buyer is a commercial document that lists the products, quantities, and agreed prices for products or services the seller has already provided. In contrast, a waybill is a document that lists the consignor and consignee’s names, the consignment’s point of origin, the final destination, and other information.

Is a waybill the same as a shipping label?

A waybill is another name for a shipping label. It's a document that tells your carrier where your shipment is going, what type of service it is, the sender and recipient's contact information and addresses, as well as the tracking number and barcode. A Return Label, which has the sender and destination addresses reversed, is another type of shipping label offered by some carriers.