In short, yes, shipping from the US to Canada is considered international. The same goes for when you are shipping from Canada to the US. Though the two countries boast the longest, unprotected border in the world they are still separate countries. Ship from one to the other and international duties, taxes, and restrictions apply.
While this might seem unnecessary or inconvenient, each country has its own laws and rules in place for a reason and shippers and carriers must adhere to these. Fortunately, by understanding how shipping works between the US and Canada and planning accordingly, you can ship items in both countries with ease.
Here we will look at some of the special considerations you need to take when shipping internationally between the US and Canada, including the differences in each country. Read on to learn more about the easiest way to get started with international shipping between the US and Canada with the Fulfilled by Amazon program.
While shipping within and between the two countries have many similarities, there are certain considerations that are unique to each. When shipping to Canada from the United States, keep these things in mind:
Geographic Size: With a total area of 9,984,670 km2 Canada is second only to Russia in terms of physical size. Additionally, it is among the least densely populated countries as well. These two factors can make fast shipping difficult. Not only is there a lot of ground to cover, but warehousing options and other facilities may not be available where the population density is especially low.
To compensate for this, it is important to work with a carrier who understands the logistics of delivering within Canada, including the more distant corners of the country. This may mean using intermodal transport where shipments use ultra fast air freight to get to major airports. From there, shipments going to stores will need to be loaded onto semi trucks.
For deliveries to individual customers, the items will likely need to be delivered via United Parcel Service of America (UPS). While both are US companies, UPS is different from the United States Postal Service (USPS) which is likely to be used when you are shipping the other way from Canada to the US.
Canada Customs Invoice (CCI): While a commercial invoice, Bill of Lading, and special licensing for imports and exports are needed when exporting to either country, Canada also requires a Canada Customs Invoice. This additional document contains much of the info that would be on the commercial invoice or the BOL but the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) receives this document specifically. On the CCI you will fill out your name, address, and other standard information along with a detailed description of your shipment and its estimated value.
Bilingual Packaging: While English is spoken by nearly 70% of the population, around 12% of the population only speaks French. Due to this, it is a good idea to offer product packaging and ordering options that are accessible to French speakers. Canadian law even requires this for certain items.
Canadian Pricing and Customs Fees: When designing your online store or product listings, it is important to include pricing in Canadian dollars and to factor in customs fees. By showing these fees upfront you can help avoid losing customers at checkout due to unexpected fees showing up at the last minute.
Duty Drawback: If you are a US company shipping to Canada you will want to apply for Duty Drawback. This helps you recover duty costs when a customer returns your product.
Just as with shipping from the US to Canada, shipping from Canada to the US also has certain considerations.
Classification Based on Value: The good news when exporting to the US is that if your shipment is valued under $800, it is considered duty-free. Those between $800 and $2500 will require a commercial invoice while those over $2500 will also require a USMCA Certificate of Origin. Though this certificate is an extra step, it actually gives your shipment preferential tariff treatment.
Approval from Government Agencies: in the US there are over 3 dozen government agencies that may need to lend their approval to a shipment before it can be successfully cleared. Most notably of these include the Food and Drug Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, and the Fish and Wildlife Service. Each agency has governance over different categories of products so not every product must be approved or inspected by every agency.
To help simplify this process, it is best to partner with a carrier that has connections in both countries. At RoadLINX we offer comprehensive shipping logistics to help you not only find the fastest shipping options but also assist with proper documentation for exporting.
For those who plan to export products from the US to Canada, one of the best ways to reduce the hassle is to apply to be a non-resident importer. When you qualify as an NRI, you act as both the importer and exporter of the items. You will still need to pay all applicable fees and taxes but the overall process is faster and simplified.
Get the benefits of cross-border shipping the fast and easy way with the Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA) program. With FBA, you can ship and store your products at a local Amazon fulfillment center where they are then shipped directly to customers.
This program allows you to ship larger quantities at once instead of waiting for individual customer orders to ship. Save on shipping and greatly reduce the time it takes to get your products into the hands of customers. Additionally, it allows companies to tap into the massive Amazon market in both the US and Canada.
Benefits of FBA
Getting started with FBA is just about the easiest, most cost-effective, and efficient way to begin offering cross-border shipping. Much of the paperwork and logistics are taken care of by RoadLINX.
When you partner with RoadLINX and FBA, we will pick up your items from your preferred location and deliver them directly to the Amazon fulfillment center. Choose your pickup location at your business, warehouse, or airport and we take care of the rest.
Once your items are stored in the FBA warehouse, customers can order online and they will be shipped directly to their door. In many cases this will allow you to offer your customers free delivery since you will pay a flat FBA fee based on the size and weight of your products. Including shipping in the price of your products makes the process easier for your customers and ensures you do not lose customers who do not want to pay for shipping.
Whether you want to offer traditional cross-border shipping options to your customers or aim to benefit from the Fulfilled by Amazon program, RoadLINX is here to help make the process fast and easy.
Start reaching more customers and reducing shipping costs today with our US, Canada, and cross-border shipping programs. Contact RoadLINX today for a free estimate on all your shipping needs.
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