It’s no secret that eCommerce is a booming industry all over the world, but most especially in North America, where online marketplaces such as Amazon consistently rank amongst the top-visited websites year after year. North Americans take such a large slice of the eCommerce pie that experts predict the North American online retail market will exceed 1 trillion U.S. dollars by 2022!
With all that money pouring in, many sellers from Canada (large and small alike) are choosing to enter the online retail game. However, while big corporations mostly handle end-to-end product management in-house or with a dedicated shipping partner (which brings down costs), smaller independent sellers, unfortunately, don’t have that luxury. After factoring in the distance through land, sea, and air, international shipping can get prohibitively expensive.
One option for independent sellers that a marketplace like Amazon provides is fulfillment by Amazon (FBA). This lets Amazon handle shipping, storage, and fulfillment for your store in exchange for a fee. The price tag Amazon charges can still be quite steep for a beginner, however, and it comes with a host of problems such as delayed fulfillment during busy times and during times like this pandemic.
Many beginners and other retailers who don’t sell on Amazon choose to use third-party independent shipping options to deliver their products instead. While it sometimes isn’t as simple as letting a corporation like Amazon handle your customer fulfillment, it can also save on a ton of costs and headaches.
Land, Sea, or Air: International Shipping Options
As a small seller with a booming eCommerce business, one of the top concerns on your mind will undoubtedly be which shipping option to pick. This article will break down common shipping methods plus the popular providers that ship from Canada so that you can have the most informed solution for your business.
1. Land Shipping Through Road and Rail
Land shipping (also known as ground shipping) can be made by train or truck, with a mix of both being a very cheap option for shipments made across the North American continent. Private railroads and highways that stretch out through Canada and into Mexico provide easy solutions to your shipping needs and without the strict weight restrictions that come with shipping via air cargo.
While there are economic downsides to cargo shipping by road over long distances, truck shipments prove to be the cheaper option when shipping to less developed areas and door-to-door deliveries. It’s also a more cost-effective method for short-distance shipments, like destinations right across the Canadian border.
Rail shipping, on the other hand, is a quick and inexpensive way to get cargo across long distances. However, shipping delays are often expected when crossing the border due to changing rail operators.
Both shipping options are often combined to provide a seamless door-to-door delivery option. Keep in mind that in both road and rail shipping, seasonal changes and extreme weather can affect delivery times.
2. Over the Sea—A Cost-Effective Shipping Solution
Ocean freight transport is the most common shipping option for retailers, with approximately 90% of all packages worldwide being shipped by sea. While this is the slowest mode of shipping, it is also by far the cheapest, making it a great way to ship less valuable items, extra-large items, or items in bulk.
Some freight companies now offer expedited services over quick ocean liners and routes that can be a convincing option for those who are willing to pay a slight increase in price for a much faster delivery time.
3. Cargo by Air: International Shipping Time Saver
By far the fastest solution to shipping internationally is through air freight. As an example, a package from China to North America via ocean cargo will usually take 20-30 days but can easily be cut down to 2-3 days by air.
For an even quicker option, you can ship with an express shipping company like DHL or FedEx, which handles your delivery door-to-door. In comparison, international air freight shipping (another form of air shipping) may use two or more companies to handle your packages. As you can imagine, the latter is a cheaper yet slightly slower alternative.
Most modern carriers will use intermodal shipping options. This means a combination of all three (land, sea, and air) is used to get your packages across countries. The shipping industry is the bread and butter of North American commerce, with more than 25 million containers being shipped across the continent yearly.
What Companies Ship Internationally?
Now that you’ve made your decision on which shipping mode is best for you and your product, it’s time to look at what companies ship internationally from Canada.
As one of the top international shipping companies worldwide, it’s no surprise that DHL is a strong contender for shipping small products internationally. In exchange for high rates, DHL can do intermodal shipping under one carrier so that you can get your packages shipped as quickly as possible.
DHL offers door-to-door service and expedited air shipping as well. Internationally, DHL has extensive logistic services making it very easy for sellers to ship from Canada elsewhere. As a downside, DHL doesn’t have a large network in the USA which can account for slower shipping times to and from the United States.
FedEx Canada offers three international shipping services: FedEx Express, FedEx Ground, and FedEx Freight. Each of these three services provides different shipping times and prices giving you many options to choose from.
Like DHL, FedEx ships your package under one carrier. It also has a large network across the United States which makes it a reliable option for sellers shipping from Canada to the USA. Internationally and outside North America, DHL provides slightly faster shipping, making it a more popular choice for Canadian sellers looking to break into Asian or European markets.
As an established American logistics company, UPS is another viable option for shipments made internationally. Just like DHL and FedEx, UPS offers a variety of shipping options under their name so that you can choose the right option for your business. Worldwide, UPS ships to more than 220 countries and territories, making it one of the best and most trusted global shipping companies.
These logistic powerhouses each have their pros and cons and offer similar options and rates. All three use intermodal shipping to get your package delivered in the safest and most convenient way under one international shipping tracking number—this makes the fulfillment process as hassle-free as possible for your business.
Shipping with Smaller Logistic Companies
More and more small sellers are looking towards independent logistic companies to handle their shipping. The economic benefits of this are obvious: smaller shipping companies can price more competitively since they often partner with multiple larger companies. Instead of having one logistics company handle your package, independent companies contract separate couriers so that sellers can get the best price per route instead of relying on one carrier’s rates.
Stallion Express is a trusted seller that operates from Canada to other parts of the world. We partner with larger logistics companies such as UPS, USPS, Canada Post, and others to ensure that you get the best, most reliable shipping services without breaking the bank.
With Stallion Express, you get uncomplicated door-to-door shipping, seamless integration with your online store, and an international shipping tracking number. We even work with small businesses who choose to sign up with Amazon FBA to get their products to the Amazon warehouse without all the extra fees.
What are the Packaging Requirements for International Shipping?
Stallion Express takes care of your package so you can feel safe shipping with us. However, and as with most courier services, we do request that you pack your valuables in a certain way to ensure they get delivered without any complications.
Our packaging dimensions have a maximum length+width+height limit that cannot exceed 48 inches and 50 lbs. Penalties will apply for sizes that exceed our maximum.
Please follow general packaging requirements for international shipping, such as using a sturdy outer box for your goods. Ensure that your products fit snugly within the box, and excess space is stuffed with crumpled paper or foam peanuts to avoid getting your items shaken during shipping.
Place goods that need to be kept dry inside clean plastic bags and loose objects inside tightly-sealed containers. Finally, ensure that your box is secured with packing tape and labeled correctly. Stallion Express provides appropriate packaging supplies for sale on our website.
International Standard Shipping vs. International Priority Shipping
We offer competitive rates on international priority shipping, with packages reaching their destination in as little as 4 days. In comparison, our quickest international standard shipping option takes around 5 to 16 business days to fulfill.
Although standard shipping rates are much more budget-friendly, we strongly recommend our priority shipping for a faster, smoother, and better overall experience.
Choosing an independent courier for your goods might just be the most cost-effective way to ship internationally from Canada. At Stallion Express, we partner with trusted logistic companies to help small businesses ship internationally without exceeding the budget, unlike other larger carriers.
We provide the simplest way to get your package to your buyer’s doorstep with a mix of land, sea, and air international shipping routes provided by our partners. Much like the businesses we work with, we pride ourselves on being a small, Canadian-owned business with excellent services that won’t break the bank.
If you’re interested in shipping with us, register an account on our website to get started. Otherwise, we’d love to answer any questions or comments you may have, so please feel free to reach out at any time!