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Shipping Guidelines

We want to take the guess work out of your shipping needs. General guidelines for shipping with Southwest Cargo® are detailed out below.

Maximum Size and Weight

The maximum weight per piece is 200 pounds (including packaging). For seafood, the maximum weight per piece may not exceed 175 pounds (including packaging). A package exceeding 90 total inches will be accommodated as bin space permits. Total inches can be determined by adding the length, plus width, plus height of the shipping container. Packages exceeding 90 total inches are subject to advance arrangements by contacting our Cargo Customer Care Center at (800) 533-1222.
NOTE: Due to the containerization of Hawaiian Airlines' cargo, the maximum piece length that can be interlined is 120 inches.
Items are limited to 150 pounds per piece to KOA, ITO, and LIH.

Inspection and Identification

All shipments are subject to inspection and must be tendered with a government issued photo ID.

Cutoff Times

Southwest Cargo® is proud to have some of the shortest cutoff and recovery times in the industry. Shipments must arrive at our Cargo facility and complete processing, including required screening, no later than our published cutoff times.

General Packaging Guidelines

  • Packages must be prepared by the Shipper to ensure safe carriage with ordinary care and handling.
  • Shippers are encouraged to use sturdy and undamaged containers appropriate for the commodity being transported; shipper's containers are expected to withstand:
    • A minimum of 8 to 12 physical handlings
    • Pressure up to a minimum of 60 lbs/27 kgs per sq ft. associated with stacking
    • Sliding package on its side(s) and movement across multiple textured surfaces; belt loader, cart, tug, aircraft bins etc.
    • A 1 to 2 ft. drop associated with handling and movement between freight carts, trucks, tugs and belt loaders
    • Minimal exposure to inclement weather conditions during loading, transfers and unloading
  • Styrofoam is not an acceptable form of outer packaging.
  • Any shipment susceptible to damage with ordinary care and handling, high or low atmospheric pressure, or changes in temperature must be packaged appropriately.
  • All shipments of articles and commodities which are susceptible to leakage must be packed by the shipper in solid, leak-proof boxes or inner containers such as, but not limited to, heavy polyvinyl bags or manufacture sealed plastic containers.
  • Canisters/buckets must be leak-proof even when tipped or inverted.
  • Glass containers must be packed to prevent breakage as well as leakage.
  • Southwest Support® shipments must follow the appropriate shipping requirements found in our Contract of Carriage.
  • Lithium Battery Shipping Guidelines.

Marking Requirements

  • Each piece of any shipment must be legibly and durably marked with the name and address of the Shipper and Consignee.
  • Any shipment susceptible to damage with ordinary care and handling, high or low atmospheric pressure, or changes in temperature must be labeled appropriately.
  • If dry ice is utilized, the container should be visibly, legibly, and durably marked with the words "DRY ICE". Dry Ice is not accepted on International Shipments.

International Customs

Customs clearance services are not provided by Southwest Cargo. Customs clearance and formalities must be arranged by the Shipper or Consignee at the shipments destination. USDA, Public Health, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife inspections are done at the first port of entry into the United States.

International Shipping Guidelines

Air Waybill

All international cargo air waybills must be typed or machine generated. There is a $20.00 air waybill preparation fee to have a Southwest Cargo? Employee complete your air waybill at the time of shipping. Hand prepared air waybills will not be accepted for shipment.


For the purposes of customs compliance, a consolidation is any shipment where a House Air Waybill (HAWB) is associated with a Master Air Waybill (MAWB) and a Freight Forwarder or Courier Company is designated as the shipper and/or consignee. A "simple shipment" is one where the shipper and consignee stated on the source document are the ultimate shipper and ultimate consignee involved with the shipment. We recommend that a detailed consolidation manifest accompany each consolidation. This will prevent the need for us to open your document pouch to determine House Air Waybill (HAWB) information. This manifest should include full shipper, consignee and HAWB information, as well as pieces, weight and a complete description of the commodity being shipped.

Commodity Description and Quantity

For consolidated shipments, the description indicated in the Nature and Quantity of Goods section should read "Consolidation as per Attached Manifest." For simple shipments, where there is no associated House Air Waybill, a complete and accurate description should be indicated. While the number of pieces tendered needs to be shown in the No. of Pieces section, any shipment that contains an internal piece count (also known as Shipper Load and Count or SLAC) should be designated on the source document in the Nature and Quantity of Goods section.

Electronic Export Information (EEI)

The US Department of Commerce requires Shippers to file an EEI for shipments originating in the United States that are valued greater than $2,500 USD. This EEI message should be filed in the Automated Export System (AES) prior to tendering the shipment to Southwest Airlines. Once accepted in AES, an Internal Transaction Number (ITN) will be assigned to the shipment. Shipments exempt from EEI filing are required to show the applicable Exemption Citation. The ITN or applicable Federal Trade Regulation (FTR) Exemption Citation must be noted on the tendered air waybill or consolidation manifest for each HAWB, as applicable. An example of an ITN is: AES X20112314562341 and an Exemption Citation is: NOEEI 30.37(a).

Export shipments to Canada are generally exempted from the EEI filing requirement under the terms of an agreement between the U.S. and Canadian governments. However, goods requiring a U.S. export license or goods being transshipped through Canada to a third country must still meet the requirement for EEI submission through AES.

For Canadian bound shipments exempt from the EEI filing requirement, the Shipper is responsible to provide the applicable Exemption Citation (ex. NOEEI 30.36) on the Master Air Waybill or consolidation manifest. For shipments bound for Puerto Rico, or international shipments to the Pacific Rim countries (via our interline partner Hawaiian Airlines), the ITN or applicable Federal Trade Regulation (FTR) Exemption Citation must be provided [ex. NOEEI 30.37(a) for low value shipments].

For more information, contact the U.S. Department of Commerce-Bureau of the Census-for EEI information and exemptions. http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/regulations/index.html

Other Documentation

Other documentation such as a Commercial Invoices, Country of Origin certification, Import or Export Licenses may be required, based on the government requirements of the destination country or the commodity being exported from the U.S. It is the Shipper's responsibility to comply with all U.S. export requirements and all import regulations of the destination country.

Commercial Invoice

Commercial Invoice is a document used as a customs declaration provided by the person or corporation that is exporting the goods. There is no standard format for the Commercial Invoice. The document must include a few specific pieces of information such as the parties involved in the shipping transaction, the goods being transported, the country of manufacture, and the Harmonized Tariff System codes for those goods. A Commercial Invoice should also include a statement certifying that the invoice is true, and a signature. A Commercial Invoice is primarily used to calculate tariffs. Contact the Consular office of the country of destination to determine the number of Commercial Invoices required.

Import License

Import License is a document issued by a national government authorizing the importation of certain goods into its territory. Contact the Consular office of the country of destination to determine if an Import License is required.

Certificate of Origin

Certificate of Origin is a document that states from what country the shipped goods originate, but "originate" in this definition does not mean the country the goods are shipped from, but the country where the goods are actually produced. Contact the Consular office of the country of destination to determine if a Certificate of Origin is required.

Consular Invoice

Consular Invoice is a certification by a consul or government official covering an international shipment of goods. A consular invoice, obtained from the consul of the importing country at the point of shipment, insures that the exporter's trade papers are in order and the goods being shipped do not violate any laws or trade restrictions. Contact the Consular office of the country of destination to determine if a Consular Invoice is required.

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