3 Things You Must Do To Prepare Your Cross-Border Shipment
Let’s pretend you’re a manufacturer who just sold their first bulk order to a customer in Canada. Nice work! But, before you can do a happy dance, you need to figure out how to get it there. Intra-continental shipping is no sweat these days; you’re a pro. But, cross-border shipping? There’s so much to consider: customs, bills of lading, and NAFTA (or is it USMCA now?)…where do you begin?
1. First thing’s first, choose a carrier.
Shipping to anywhere within the contiguous 48 is old hat; you’ve been using the same trusted carrier for a while now. There are factors to take into consideration, though, now that you’re venturing north into Canada. It may be part of the same continent, but as its own country, Canada has different rules and regulations where cargo is concerned. You’ll want to partner with a company that has the experience and know-how to get your goods safely–and quickly–through customs and to the destination.
2. Speaking of customs…
Get yourself a customs broker. In addition to hiring a knowledgeable carrier, these border-crossing pros grease the wheels (so to speak) for International shipping. They provide you with real-time tracking, keep you current on any regulatory adjustments, and ensure your documents are complete.
3. And speaking of documents…
Get ready to do some paperwork. Ok, a lot of paperwork. Every shipment to Canada requires a Bill of Lading and a Canadian Commercial Invoice. You might also need to get a Certificate of Origin depending on what you’re shipping and whether it meets the NAFTA rules for duty-free customs clearance. These documents, when accurate, will help your shipment clear customs quickly.
Now you’re ready to cross the border.
You and your customs broker have dotted every “i” and crossed every “t,” and now your shipment is ready to cross the border. With your freight loaded up and the carrier en route to your new Canadian customer, your broker will send all of the necessary documents to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) which oversees goods flowing into and out of the country. If everything is completed properly, there’s very little to worry about now; sit back and relax!
The CBSA offers a program called FAST (Free and Secure trade) for even quicker border crossing. These dedicated lanes are like EZPass but for commercial shipping. It wouldn’t hurt to hire a shipping company that is already a member of the program since it’s an easy way for you to save time, money, and sanity when shipping to Canada.
It seems like a lot of work, but – as with anything – practice makes perfect. Of course, there’s another option. Instead of shipping piecemeal (hiring a carrier, finding a customs broker, preparing documents, etc), find an all-inclusive logistics partner. YRC Freight has been shipping across North America for the past 90 years, and is the only transportation provider that maintains a dedicated full-time staff at major Canadian border crossings.
Scheduling your cross-border shipment with YRC Freight gives you access to a team of 50+ Border Ambassadors, 20+ Canadian terminals, and pre-approved* customs clearance at the major border crossings. Translation: your shipments get across the border in three minutes or less with zero hassle.
*98% of shipments are pre-approved for northbound Customs clearance; 100% of southbound shipments are verified before they even get to the border.
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