Pre-Shipment Inspection (PSIC) Certificate: A Guide for Manufacturers

Pre shipment inspection certificates streamline the supply chain management process. Read this guide to learn what's required for PSI certificates.

Give Your Customers Quality Assurance with a Pre Shipment Inspection Certificate

When customers in your supply chain want quality assurance, add that extra element of trust, facilitate shipping procedures, and secure prompt payment with pre inspection reports and certificates (PSIC).

This article will help you understand the following:

  1. The different types of pre shipment inspection certificates and reports
  2. How a PSIC facilitates trade between import-export companies with quality assurance
  3. The standards manufacturers need to meet for PSIC

Who needs a pre shipment inspection?

  • Manufacturers, buyers, suppliers and importers of consumer goods such as softlines, hardlines, electronic goods, luxury goods.
  • Importers of commodities such as bulk oil shipments and scrap shipments which may be governed by local regulations.

What is a PSIC?

A pre shipment inspection certificate is a trade document issued by an independent inspection agency. The document accompanies shipments from the factory to certify that the goods conform with specifications stated on the sales contract and/or letter of credit.

The PSI report or certificate is usually included in the package of documents for the shipment such as the bill of lading, certificate of origin and packing list. A manufacturer or seller can also use the PSIC to initiate the transfer of payment from an intermediary bank.

  • Two types of PSIC

  • 1. Official Inspection Certificate
  • This type of PSIC is used for shipments to countries where the local customs department requires an inspection certificate. The document confirms that the shipment conforms with the quality, quantity, tariff classification, import eligibility and price of the goods. Most of the countries which require pre shipment inspection certificates are located in Africa and Asia.

  • 2. Commercial Inspection Certificate / Report
  • This is a report of a pre shipment inspection performed before production of a batch or batches of products is complete. The report is sent to the buyer so they can determine whether the products conform with the sales contract and certain regulations.
  • If the batch fails the inspection, or there are issues which need to be addressed, the buyer can take appropriate action before the shipment leaves the factory.
  • If inspectors give the batch a pass, the buyer can use the report as proof that the products are of good quality and that they were correctly sorted and packaged.

What Standards Must Manufacturers Meet to Pass a Pre Shipment Inspection?

Inspectors use internationally recognized sampling standards such as the ANSI/ASQ Standard to select a random number of finished products based on the batch volume.

A pre shipment inspection comprises the following checks:


  • Quality of the products checked against acceptable quality limits and specifications
  • Check whether joins and seams connect properly
  • Check for cracks, chips, scratches, dents and other defects


  • Check whether the batch comprises the correct number of items
  • Check whether the correct quantity of sorted products are packaged in shipping cartons

Style / Construction

Verify the general quality and design of the product against samples approved by the client.

Product Dimensions

Physical measurement of individual products to verify whether they match the dimensions specified by the client. The client should also specify acceptable limits for imperfect dimensions in the pre inspection checklist.

Product Colors

Compare the colors of finished product with pantone color codes provided by the buyer as outlined in the product specifications given to the manufacturer.

Product Artwork & Labels

  • Verify whether logos and labels are attached to the product and/or the packaging
  • Check the font and dimensions of labeling
  • Check spelling and legibility


Products are weighed on scales to verify conformance. An underweight or overweight sample could reveal that the manufacturer has used alternative or inferior materials or textiles to those specified by the client.

Packing & Packaging

  • Inspection of the primary packing that is in direct contact with the individual product units to check whether vent holes are present. Holes in packaging help prevent damage to the product from moisture and mold. They also reduce the risk of children suffocating.
  • Inspection of inner or secondary packaging to check whether it conforms with buyer’s packaging requirements. This is usually a second layer packaging for extra protection of the products, or to securely hold several units together as a small batch or set.
  • Verify dimensions of outer or tertiary packaging against client’s specifications.
  • Verify weight per carton against client’s specifications

Shipping marks

  • Handling instructions and other information may be required to conform with the client’s specifications on one or more of the sides of the outer packaging
  • Scan barcodes to ensure they are legible and contain the correct information
  • Check the language and spelling on packaging labels

Tests and special requirements

Pre shipment inspections can include basic on-site tests to check whether the products function properly and will withstand the wear and tear of the everyday use they are designed for.

Examples of tests for garments and apparel (softlines)

  • Pull tests on zips, buttons and other attachments to check whether they’ll withstand normal wear and tear once in the hands of the consumer
  • Tensile tests on stitching to check whether the stitching holds together
  • Fabric density to determine material strength and thickness

Examples of tests on kitchenware (Hardlines)

  • Cooking test to check whether the product functions at high temperatures
  • Dishwashing test to check for moisture retention and surface coating adhesion
  • Scratch test to determine the force required to scratch or damage the product under normal use

Examples of tests on packaging

Drop tests can be done on packaging to determine whether the shipping cartons can withstand rough treatment and protect the products during transit.

Benefits of a PSI Certificate / Report

For a relatively small outlay to have a pre shipment inspection performed before products leave the factory, you’ll save time and money and anxiety in the following ways:

  • You know whether the products function as the manufacturer has promised
  • You can make timely decisions based on any defects found and their severity
  • You’ll have assurance that the products comply with the quality, size and quantity stipulated in the contract
  • Your customers will be confident that you’ll deliver quality products to them
  • Reassurance that your products are protected during shipping and handling
  • Expedite import and customs procedures

Let QIMA Help You With Pre Shipment Inspection Reporting

QIMA is an accredited inspection agency with over 2,000 inspectors worldwide, speaking more than 20 languages.

Our professional inspectors can be on site within 48 hours. We perform impartial and transparent inspections. All reports made available online the same day as the inspection.

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