Shipping Into The United States
Moving freight over the Canada-US border is not as difficult as you may think. Our experts are here to assist you with all of your Canadian exporting needs.
Before You Ship Your Freight
To get you the best rates and the best service options, it is important to have a clear understanding of the freight. Different jurisdictions have different rules on what can be moved, permit requirements, and maximum allowable weight. Additionally, there are physical limitations as to what can actually move within specific pieces of equipment or by certain modes of transport (i.e. air cargo). For LTL (Less-Than-Truckload), your rates will depend on both how much the freight weighs and how much physical space it occupies in the trailer or on the deck. This standard is typically applied in either cubic feet or linear foot of trailer. To calculate the cubic foot volume, multiply the LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT (all in inches) and divide that total by 1728. The final number is the density of your freight.
Documentation is a critical part of International shipping; any error can result in costly delays at the border. Following documentations are needed to ensure safe and timely movement of cargo into the United States.
Shipper’s Bill of Lading
A properly completed shipper’s Bill of Lading should have following information:
- Shipping Date
- Shipper’s name and address
- Shipper signature
- Country of Origin
- Consignee’s name
- Importer of Record’s name and address (who is paying the freight charges)
- Destination full address (includes contact name and tel #)
- Shipper’s or Consignee’s order number
- Shipment gross weight and unit of measure
- Number of pieces in the consignment
- Complete and accurate description of the product being shipped including, but not limited to:
- NMFC Class or dimensions and actual weight
- Skid or piece count
- UN# if Dangerous Goods
- Any delivery appointment requirements
- Any specific temperature requirements
- Other government agency documents (Dangerous Goods, Quota, etc…)
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) requires a completed invoice, necessary for assessing duty. It must be accurate and include: supplier’s name and address, a detailed description of the merchandise including quantity, weights and measurements as well as the purchase price and terms of sale. The Commercial Invoice should show the H.S. Code(s), country of origin, consignee’s IRS number and the name of the custom broker. (Note it is very important that the quantity/number of pieces and weight match exactly the information on the Bill of Lading).
Generally, an Export Declaration (Can. form B-13) is no longer required for shipments to the United States unless the value of the goods is over C$2,000 and will be in-transit through the U.S. or is being stored in the U.S. for ultimate re-export to another country.
Exporter’s Certificate of Origin
Under the NAFTA (North America Free Trade Agreement), Duties or Taxes on certain goods made in the U.S.A. or Canada have been, or soon will be, reduced or eliminated. To benefit from this agreement, exporters / manufacturers must determine whether their goods qualify under the Rules of Origin. These agreed upon Rules of Origin define those goods and materials which are entitled to Free Trade Agreement benefits. The exporter must complete a NAFTA Exporter’s Certificate of Origin and send a copy of it to the importer. This is not a transportation document and is not required to accompany the shipment. However, to claim benefits under the NAFTA at the time of entry, the importer must possess the Exporter’s Certificate of Origin. It must be available if requested by customs. Customs officials in both Canada and the U.S. will accept either country’s certificates. But, if the certificate is not available, the NAFTA benefits will not be applied and the appropriate Most Favored Nation tariff will be applied. Your Customs Broker can work with you to maximize your benefits under NAFTA and other programs.
Regulated or Controlled Products OGA (Other Government Agency)
Certain commodities may require additional paperwork to be completed prior to the goods clearing into the United States. Consult with your customs broker for a more detailed list of potential requirements. Some commodities may fall under multiple jurisdictions. Each of the forms listed below can be found at www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/toolbox/forms
- TSCA (Toxic Substances Control Act)
- Required for all shipments that contain any chemicals regardless of value (i.e. water samples, creams, powders, dangerous goods, soil, cement, etc…)
- VFD (Video Film Declaration)
- Required when shipping videotapes, films or laser discs
- FCC Form 740 (Federal Communications Commission)
- Required for all computer equipment, telephone equipment, or any article containing a radio frequency device
- FDA Form 2877 (Food & Drug Administration)
- A declaration for all products subject to radio control standards
- Required for any item that emits radiation. Examples include, but are not limited to computer monitors, laptop computers, tablet computer devices, display units, x-ray equipment and microwave ovens.
- FDA (Food & Drug Administration)
- The FDA regulates, releases and, when necessary, samples commodities that can affect humans.
- Examples include, but are not limited to food products, oil and waxes of plants or animals, cosmetics, personal hygiene and beauty products, pharmaceuticals, minerals, chemicals, beverages, optical and medical equipment, and drugs (prescription and OTC).
- The Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002 places very specific requirements for registration of foreign food facilities as well as prior notice of importation of specific food commodities into the US. Inspection at a certified facility may be required. This may delay delivery and result in additional freight charges.
- Textile Declaration or Multiple Declaration
- Required when any shipment contains textiles. Examples include, but are not limited to clothing, headwear, blankets, towels, and some furniture.
- Multiple Declaration is required when goods are produced in one country with raw materials (textiles) from another (i.e. Canadian-made shirts from Chinese silk)
- Interim Footwear Invoice
- Required for all types of footwear
- Declaration for Free Entry of Unaccompanied Articles
- Required for all shipments that contain personal effects left behind per the recipient/consignee. If the CBP does not accept the goods as personal effects, the Shipper will need to provide additional documentation. The shipment will also be subject to duties and taxes.
Tendering a Shipment
- Email all of the details from the BOL to firstname.lastname@example.org for truck shipments (both TL and LTL) and email@example.com all intermodal shipments (Telephone & Fax also available)
- APPS will dispatch a driver to pick up your shipment
- Shipments will be billed into APPS system and you can start tracing the shipment
- For truck/over the road shipments, Customs Documents will be faxed to the designated Customs Broker for PAPS clearance
- For southbound intermodal moves, in addition to sending the shipping detail to the customs broker, the shipper must also fax a copy of the bill of lading and the US customs invoice to 1-905-861-2797. Southbound shipments will not be in-gated at rail terminals until the shipment has pre-cleared US Customs (H1)
- We forward your original paperwork to cross the border with your shipment
When Your Shipment Arrives at the Border
CBP will clear your shipment immediately if the Pre-Arrival Processing System (PAPS) is clean and an ACE e-manifest is generated. In most cases, a PAPS failure will become evident prior to the line haul departure. If the shipment arrives at the border and cannot be clear customs, it may be returned to the Shipper or held at the border until it clears. In both cases, additional charges will apply.
When Your Shipment Enters the United States
Your shipment will be delivered to the final destination per the shipping instructions.