Every shipment should start off with a pro-forma invoice... here's what you need to know.

As the summer is reaches its apex, we are experiencing an influx of air and ocean imports mostly from China for shippers wanting their consumer goods to hit the shelves. As the busy season heats up for us it also means that the transit companies and customs agents are also seeing an influx in traffic.

This is why it is especially important, today, to use a Pro-Forma invoice during the quoting phase of your shipment.

Here’s everything you need to know about it.


To keep things moving along quickly for your shipment as well as the others in the stream, it is important to be sure that all of your paperwork and documentation are in line before the shipment leaves it’s origin. One of the most important, but easily confused, documents required for international freight shipping is the pro-forma invoice.

If you already are in the process of preparing an order, whether you are the buyer or the supplier, it is preferable to work through one.

The PF invoice contains all of the information of your shipment that you will find on a commercial invoice but will give the buyer / supplier the chance to confirm the purchase and from it, the international freight forwarder and the customhouse broker can decipher all of your shipping and customs costs.

The PF invoice should include the following:

  • Pro-forma number (to show on the future commercial invoice)
  • Origin and destination names and addresses
  • Shipping destination (if different from consignee’s address)
  • Description the goods
  • Unit (item) value
  • Total value
  • Harmonized system number (HS Code #) per item
  • Freight terms
  • Weight and dimensions of your packed shipment
  • Supplier and buyer should acknowledge and both sign

The pro-forma invoice is a good way to start a negotiation, a preface to a final order, preventing costly errors and liability. Everything else, leave it to us, the international shipping company. 

Whether you import or export, large or small shipments, we welcome hearing or receiving your freight queries or questions. Click HERE to get a quote, or email us at sales@etcintl1.wpengine.com

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