How can I arrange a Pre-Shipment Inspection On Goods Imported From China?


I am relatively new to business and operate as a sole trader. I produce designer feed scoops for horses which are manufactured in China. I have a potential new client who would like to purchase my product with their branding on it. I am very happy with the quality of goods coming from my manufacturer but this extra branding will be an unknown element. In order to protect my future business and reputation I need to ensure all my goods are of top quality.

In addition, this new client has requested that I source hoof picks also with their branding. I have found a supplier in China who can do this. They will send me their standard sample, but once again I need to ensure the quality of the finished article is up to scratch.

As I understand it I have a few options to ensure quality prior to shipment. Firstly, the manufacturer can randomly select pieces from the shipment and send me photographs of the goods. Alternatively, they could airfreight the samples to me prior to shipment (sounds costly both in financial terms and in time). Finally, I could engage a third party to carry out a pre shipment inspection.

Can anyone recommend a company to carry out a pre shipment inspection? Is it expensive? Won’t my manufacturer be upset at the lack of trust demonstrated by bringing in a third party?

Hope you can help.



Hey Emma,

The two that I have come across are SGS and Bureau Veritas which would personally be my first two phone calls to find out some more information. If they can’t help you directly I am sure that they would be able to point you in the direction of someone who can.

Can’t really comment on the cost, but the argument can sometimes be ‘what is the cost of not carrying out a pre shipment inspection’?

I don’t think it shows a lack of trust, but it does show quality control and helps mitigate risk.

Be interested to know how you get on with this!

Kind regards,


Unfortunately there is nothing to stop someone taking a photo of actual goods but then shipping something else – although this is quite a cynical view and we do tend to like to think better of people.


Good afternoon Emma,

Cotecna Inspection is a Pre-Shipment Inspection Agency who would be happy to assist and advise.

Please contact our office on 020 8277 7700, alternatively, please contact us by e-mail on where one of the commercial team will assist.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Best regards,

Andrea Sweeting


Hi Emma.

As logistics providers we are not experts in product inspections and quality control but we can utilise our experience and contacts to advise you:

– If the rebranding of the products is purely cosmetic then photographs may suffice. If
there is potential for quality issues from item to item will the supplier make a fair
random selection of the products?
– Most of our clients will ship physical samples so they can carry out a QC inspection
themselves. Velta can arrange airfreight or courier, which is usually quite inexpensive,
and we can offset the cost by discounting our price for shipping the bulk consignment
once it is ready and inspection is complete.
– If you can tell me the location of the manufacturer in China I can ask our partners to
recommend an independent 3rd party to carry out inspections on the whole
– Don’t worry about upsetting the manufacturer, you are the customer! If they can
overcome any initial hurdles they know they then have the potential to secure your
business for the long term.

Hopefully this is some of assistance. If we can offer any further help then please do not hesitate to get in touch. (Telephone no: 07926 279485 – Chris Murphy, or via email at

We look forwards to hearing from you soon 🙂

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