Each year billions of dollars worth of goods are shipped between Canada and the United states. Due to this massive market, establishing cross-border shipping for your company is an essential part of growing your business.
Here we will look at some of the most common questions that companies and individuals have about Canada and USA Cross-Border shipping. This includes how items are transported, pitfalls to avoid, and how the overall process works.
Roughly two thirds or 62% of cargo transported between the USA and Canada is done so by truck. Ground transport by truck is typically the most economical way to move goods across the border and offers the most flexibility in delivery options.
However, some items are also transported by plane. Typically, air transport is chosen for speed and occasionally because of capacity. Though trucks are capable of hauling tens of thousands of pounds, a cargo plane can surpass this. In fact, some cargo planes are so large, they are used to transport other planes.
Train transport is another ground method that has both benefits and drawbacks. While train transport is cheaper than truck transport, it is slower and often more difficult to clear customs. Additionally, you will get hit with charges for accessorials – services that are considered beyond normal delivery or pick-up needs.
Shipment times between the U.S. and Canada are often not much different than if you are shipping within a single country. On average, you can expect shipments that need to travel less than 500 miles to take less than two days while shipments of a thousand miles will take around 3-4 days.
Over a thousand miles are likely to be 5 to 7. Areas of either country that are more remote will take longer which will need to be considered when shipping.
This is on par with what you could expect when shipping within either country. Generally, if there is a delay it should not add more than a few days to the total time except in extreme weather circumstances or issues at the border.
Proper documentation is perhaps the single most important aspect of cross-border shipping. While proper recording of items is important on all shipments, it is especially critical when it comes to shipping between countries.
This is because incomplete, incorrect, or missing documentation can cause major delays and rack up massive fees. Here is a brief run through of the necessary and conditional documents you will need to consider.
As we’ve just covered, proper documentation is key to moving your shipment efficiently. However, how can you be sure this is done correctly?
Customs Broker: One of the best ways to ensure your documentation is completed correctly is to hire a customs broker.
Note that you will need to hire a broker in the country you are shipping to. So, if you are shipping from Canada to the USA, you will need a broker in the United States.
Documentation/Packing List: You can further help your custom’s broker by providing a detailed Packing List. A Packing List is not a required document typically but will provide extra information like model numbers, quantities, net weight, etc.
A packing list will allow your customs broker to more quickly and easily answer any questions that arise at customs. This can prevent delays that could be caused if the broker needs to contact you to get the info directly.
Shipping between the U.S. and Canada comes with a variety of fees to consider. In order to properly estimate these you must first classify your goods. A broker can figure out your classification number, or, if you are going without a broker, you can figure out your number by using the Harmonized Tariff Schedule Search.
The Harmonized Tariff will also help you to estimate the taxes and duties associated with your shipment. While you will definitely be able to estimate this on your own, a broker can help make this process faster and more accurate.
Yes, it is actually a legal requirement that shipping documentation be kept in case any issues arise and the shipment must be tracked or investigated.
This is, again, another good reason to hire a customs broker. A customs broker will keep these documents on file for as long as needed which can be several years.
Along with proper documentation and attention to detail, the best way to avoid mistakes in cross-border shipping is to partner with a carrier who has experience in transporting goods across the border.
At RoadLINX, we specialize in shipping between Canada and the USA. Our logistics teams understand the unique needs that come with shipping across the border and will work with you to coordinate the fastest and most cost-effective solutions.
To get started, request a free cross-border shipping estimate from RoadLINX.
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