Shipment prealerts are notices given to buyers of goods to let them know that a shipment is on its way. These prealerts are used primarily with overseas shipping, although many other companies with only domestic operations may also use these. A shipment prealert is often sent by fax or email to the customer receiving goods several days prior to the expected arrival date. This notice allows the customer time to prepare for the arrival.

Understand the purpose for a shipment prealert. Many companies send a prealert out of courtesy to the customer. It keeps the customer informed about delivery details of expected shipments. If you are a company that ships goods, give your customers a courtesy notice of this kind.

Determine your method for sending the notice. The most common method used to send shipment prealert notices is through email.

Title the notice. Include the title “Shipment Prealert” on the top of the notice. If you are sending the notice via email, write this also in the subject line. Include a brief statement telling the customer that this serves as notice that the ordered goods are on their way.

State the details of the order. A shipment prealert should state several key pieces of information. It should clearly state your company name to immediately inform the customer about who is sending this notice. Include the type of shipping method being used, the tracking number and the expected arrival date.

Include any customs clearance information. When goods are shipped overseas, there are several important documents required for completion. These forms are generally completed by the shipper and transporter of the goods. Customs documents ensure the goods will be able to be cleared through customs. A shipment prealert includes this information to show the customer the proper forms have been completed. If these forms are not completed correctly, a problem with the shipment might occur.

Attach other important documents. With a shipment prealert, many companies often attach certain documents, which may include a bill of lading, commercial invoice, packing list or material safety data sheet, referred to as an MSDS.

Include your contact information. This is one of the most important details a shipment prealert contains. This primarily consists of a phone number for the customer to call if any questions, concerns or problems arise.