Important things to know when providing cross-border transportation services
US/Canada Flags
Transporting Goods Across the U.S.-Canada Border

Providing transportation services across international borders (even between the U.S. and Canada) is more complicated than carrying goods domestically within any one country. All shipments are subject to the export rules of the country of origin and the import regulations of the destination country. Customs policies are very specific and failure to comply can delay the shipment, increase the costs and cause other problems with the process.

Having the shipper use a customs broker is highly recommended for most shipments. Import/export rules can change frequently and having a broker help to process the shipment is the best way to clear the goods at the border and ensure the delivery is as efficient as possible.

In addition to the actual transportation cost, international shipments are subject to a variety of other fees, including bonding, document preparation charges, brokerage fees, taxes and customs duties. Transportation service providers should communicate openly with the shipper to establish a payment process for any additional charges and ensure that there are no problems with the shipment.

Questions to ask the shipper:
  • 1.Do you have a broker and is your shipment in compliance with all applicable rules and regulations?
  • 2.Do you know what additional fees, taxes and duties you may be responsible for and are you willing to pay?
  • 3.Are you prepared to stay in contact through the process to help resolve any issues that may arise?
More things to keep in mind:
  • Heat-sensitive or perishable items could be destroyed if the delivery time is delayed.
  • Though the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) helps reduce or eliminate the duty paid on items manufactured in Canada, the U.S. or Mexico, goods made elsewhere can still be taxed.
  • Duties vary according to the type of goods, their value and their country of origin.
  • Additional rules and regulations apply to special class items, such as cars and boats, and you should work with the shipper and broker to ensure a smooth process.