So, you’re ready to make the leap to a container Shipping Company that can handle your cross-border Canadian and US shipments. You need to know that before a load can cross the border, it must clear customs. This applies to both imported and exported goods. This sounds simple, but it may be a little deceiving. If you have ever tried to navigate the customs process between the US and Canada before, you’ll know there are many rules and regulations on both sides that must be met. Each step must be followed correctly to ensure your shipment makes it without delay. Choosing a container and shipping company for Canada to USA shipments will save you a lot of headaches overall.

Shipments between the USA and Canada are governed by the North American Free Trade Agreement, making it significantly faster and cheaper than shipping to other countries. Even though this process is streamlined compared to shipping overseas, there are still some hurdles that your business will want help overcoming, including the customs process.

When you work with a container shipping company, you’ll have partners that understand what it takes to make international shipments. They’ve got experience shipping all different types of items from products and produce to materials. They’ll be able to help you through the entire process of clearing customs from paperwork to release. Let’s look at the overall strategy and what it means to clear customs with shipments.

What does it mean to Clear Customs?

First up, you must deal with the paperwork. The paperwork associated with cross-border shipping can seem complex; however, when you work with a container shipping company that’s used to getting things moved, it won’t be quite so daunting.

For most shipments, the paperwork includes information about who is doing the shipping and where the goods are going. It will also have a packing list or a shipping bill. Depending on the goods, it may require more information or specific things to be included. For instance, when shipping fruit from the US to Canada, there is necessary inspection paperwork, and occasionally containers must be sealed. Those seals must remain in place until the container arrives in Canada.

Other Examples of Required Paperwork
  • Declarations.
  • Insurance coverage information.
  • NAFTA certificates of origin.
  • Commercial invoice.
  • Bill of lading
  • Safety Data Sheet
These are just a few examples of the paperwork necessary when moving goods across the border; always check with your container shipping company to discover what you need. That paperwork is then submitted to a customs officer who reviews it that starts the process of clearing.

Next up, you’ll look at shipments’ taxes and duty aspects. You may need to provide paperwork that any due taxes or duties have been paid or pay them now if they haven’t been at this stage. There are some exceptions, as shipments can be marked delivered duty unpaid, then collected upon delivery.

The final step in this process is the release of the shipment. Once all the paperwork is handled and any due duties or taxes have been paid, the shipment will be released.

Missing any of these crucial steps or information may result in a shipment being held or returned. When you’re considering the cost of working with a professional container shipping company, this is one of the things you want to think about. A simple mistake can be costly.

When Is Customs Clearance Required?

Going through customs is necessary for all international shipments. However, the extent of customs paperwork and documentation needed may depend entirely on the goods you ship. Suppose your container is filled with items that may require an inspection. In that case, you will have a separate set of regulations than, say, something like plastic toys.

One way to make this process easier is to work with a container shipping company that regularly moves goods between the US and Canada. They know just what it takes to ensure your shipments aren’t delayed.

Avoiding Delays and Returns

Accuracy is one of the most essential components of ensuring that your shipment doesn’t get delayed during the customs clearance process. When you provide information to the container shipping company, it’s critical to ensure that everything is accurate. Shipments can be delayed and, as we’ve said, even returned if the information on the customs paperwork is not accurate.

Delays are never a good thing. Your customers don’t want to wait for products; everyone has gotten used to fast shipping and quick turnarounds. Customers will often go elsewhere if your shipments don’t arrive in what they deem to be a reasonable time. Shipping container companies know this and will do whatever they can to help ensure your products make it smoothly across the border.

Solution for Your Business

Working with a container shipping company can be a lifesaver if your business needs to ship products or materials between Canada and the US. Container shipping companies often have an expert on staff that is highly experienced in customs and can help your business navigate the process. They’ll be able to walk you through all the paperwork, explain the requirements, and discuss your specific business’s needs.

Overall, your priority is keeping your customers happy. One of the primary ways to do that is to ensure you don’t have delays in shipping. Customers agree that one of the primary things they consider when shopping these days is the delivery speed.

So much so that studies even showed that more than 40% of consumers will pay more for faster shipping.

Small and large businesses alike can benefit from working with a container shipping company to handle their shipments from the USA to Canada or Canada to the USA.