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8 Common Mistakes regarding Canada-US Border Shipping

Nicasio Co III
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  •  
November 25, 2020

When it comes to selling online, Canada is an excellent market for your products, especially if you're just starting to ship internationally. Canada and the U.S. are two countries that are strongly linked, and it's not just because they share the same language and time zone. They have engaged in trade and eCommerce for years, and both consider the other a strong ally. Since the U.S. and Canada enjoy the world's most extensive trading relationship, you should be informed of the Canada-US border shipping

Due to the North American Free Trade Agreement's renegotiation in 2018, trade between the United States and Canada has grown. In 2018, the U.S. goods and services trade with Canada totaled an estimated $718.5 billion, while an estimated $2 billion in goods and services were traded each day. With the rise of traded goods between the two countries, you might be wondering how to enter the market and start selling your products. 

Today, businesses are grabbing the opportunity to sell overseas. If you want to know about shipping products from Canada to the U.S. or vice versa, we answered the most common questions asked and highlighted some of the mistakes businesses make when shipping to Canada.  


8 Common Mistakes regarding Canada-US border shipping

Below is a list of common mistakes regarding Canada-US border shipping, and tips on how to avoid them.

  • Failure to Plan the Shipping Process

Shipping from one country to the other requires planning. You can't quickly ship a product without knowing the complexities of the shipping process. For you to gain success and deliver your products in a short amount of time, you need to have a process or system set in place. Without it, you will encounter problems, especially when it comes to dealing with customs. Pulling together last-minute details will not lead you to the best results. 

  • Failure to Understand the Canadian Market

Amy Koo said that there's a “misconception among Americans that Canadians are just like Americans." Despite Canada and the U.S.'s long-standing trading relationship, Canada is still a unique country with over 35 million residents who have distinct preferences. To successfully enter the Canadian market, you must first conduct market research. 

Some key points you should know about Canadians are the following:

  1. Canada recognizes both English and French as its primary languages.
  2. Canada follows the metric system, which means you have to change your measuring system to accommodate the Canadian market.
  3. Canadians care more about loyalty and everyday low pricing than coupons and promotions.
  • Underestimating the U.S./Canada Customs Clearance Process

The perception of U.S. businesses when it comes to clearing goods across the border is that it is simple and easy. Unfortunately, it is not. The border clearance process should not be underestimated. Businesses must comply with several border regulations and requirements. Even though the Canada Border Services Agency (CBA) has authority over goods entering Canada, there are agencies that control some aspects of the process. Aside from these, businesses must pay taxes and comply with other requirements. 

  •  Failure to take advantage of Trusted Trader Programs

The United States and Canada have a trusted trader program offered to businesses to help them in their shipping process. For U.S. businesses, the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) is the trusted trade program. Companies who qualify for the program can enjoy the benefits of: 

  1. Reduced the number of border inspections. 
  2. "Front of the Line" access for shipments that are chosen for review.
  3. Access to Free and Secure Trade (FAST) lanes at land crossings. 
  4. Access to a database of other C-TPAT benefits.
  5. For Canadian businesses, the Partners in Protection Program (PIP) is the trusted traded program. The benefits of this program are the following:
  6. Reduced likelihood of inspection.
  7. Access to CBSA's Trusted Trade Portal, which allows for easy access to all membership documents.
  • Failure to check if items are under the list of prohibited or restricted items

One of the main reasons a package gets delayed at the border is because it is a prohibited or restricted item. They may even restrict it from entering the border. When it comes to shipping to another country, you need to comply with their rules. Before you start selling online, check if you can sell a specific product to a country to avoid problems during shipment. If you're also shipping products from Canada to the U.S., you need to check their guidelines. 

  • Improper Packaging and Labeling of Items

Online stores sell different products that vary in size and weight. So, if you plan on shipping a small item, it’s not appropriate to ship it in a huge box. Moreover, the tendency will be for the item to move around during shipment which can lead to damage. As a result, the online store has to pay additional costs. Hence, carefully package your goods before shipping them. You can either use the supplies provided by the shipping carrier, or you can use yours. As long as you properly pack the items, you won't incur any problems. 

  • Inaccurate declaration of the weight of the package

When it comes to computing the cost of the shipping, the weight and dimensions are calculated. Sometimes, business owners don't have the correct tools to weigh the products so they estimate the weight when they ship them.

This is one of the mistakes of businesses because shipping carriers weigh the packages before shipping. Any discrepancy with the declared and actual weight can lead to extra fees.

  • Paying for more shipping cost than necessary

Shipping costs are an unfortunate yet vital part of an eCommerce business. You need to pay shipping carriers for transporting packages to your customers. Most of the time, you have to pay more to ship your products quickly. Canada to the U.S. shipping time can be four to six business days.

However, there are certain situations where you pay an excessive amount of shipping costs for inefficient service. Before you choose a shipping carrier, pick one that will meet your needs, and provide efficient ground solutions. We know you want cheap shipping to the USA from Canada and vice versa, but it shouldn't be at the expense of service quality.

Conclusion

To avoid any delays in your packages, you need to be aware of the country's requirements and rules. Stallion Express can help you ship your packages from Canada to the U.S., Stallion Express has a team of dedicated and friendly professionals who can handle your packages' fulfillment. 
You can integrate your store with us to ease the fulfillment and shipping process. We also don't charge an exorbitant amount for high-quality service. Are you interested to know more? Book an appointment today!

Get started today! Ship faster, smarter, cheaper with Stallion.

Get Started Today.  Sign Up for Free!
Nicasio Co III
Written by Nicasio Co III

Nicasio is the co-founder of Stallion Express - the leading eCommerce shipping company in Canada. Through his unique experiences in tech and digital marketing, he is on a journey to disrupt the logistics industry.

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