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How International Shipping from Canada Works: The Ultimate 2023 Guide

Diana Zheng
June 14, 2023

Purchasing from another country has never been easier with international shipping. At a time when the e-commerce industry is booming, the need for a fast and reliable shipping service becomes more pronounced. In 2023, ordering online has become the new norm and all businesses need a sturdy supply chain.

If you’re still not shipping internationally, then you’re missing out on a huge opportunity. Statista reported 2.14 billion digital buyers worldwide in 2021. This figure is expected to rise to 2.77 billion by 2025. 

Starting your e-commerce journey does not mean sticking to one place. Tapping into the international market is a great business opportunity, and you have to expand your reach to earn more income. So if you’re a business-minded person who wants to scale your business or a newbie who wants to target the international markets, read this guide.

What is International Shipping?

International shipping is a process involving transporting goods and commodities between countries. It uses various transportation methods, including ground shipping, air freight, and sea transportation.

The process typically begins with a sender or export, preparing the packages for shipment and choosing the most suitable shipping method. Freight forwarders or shipping companies handle the logistics, documentation, and customs procedures. The parcels are then transported to their destination, where customs clearance and distribution occur.

International shipping is vital in facilitating global trade and enabling businesses and consumers to access products worldwide.

Importance of International Shipping

International shipping is a game-changer for Canadian eCommerce businesses. It provides brands with multiple avenues to reach the worldwide market. You can broaden your horizons, grow sales, and create new revenue streams by catering to your international audience.

Thus, international shipping is a gateway to expanding your business globally while acquiring a competitive advantage over other brands. As you ship internationally, your business can innovate and adapt, leading to more improved products and services satisfying the different needs of multinational customers.

Canadian businesses can impact the global stage and contribute to the country's economic growth through eCommerce international shipping.

Advantages of International Shipping

There are a number of reasons why you should try international shipping. 

First, you can broaden your customer reach. Customers will love to buy from your shop if you offer a product that isn’t available in their country. They’ll love you all the more if your products produce excellent results and you ship them on time.

Second, you can increase your sales. When you have reached new customers, you will have the chance to enter a new market and grow your business. You can boost your sales, especially during the holiday season since people celebrate many holidays globally. There is always a trending product to sell in some part of the world.

Disadvantages of Shipping Internationally

There are a few disadvantages when shipping internationally. For one, you have to compete with local and overseas sellers. Second, customer reviews don’t appear in all marketplaces. For example, a four-star rating from a US buyer won’t appear in the UK marketplace. Lastly, you will have to contend with the difference in culture and language. You have to match your marketing with the culture of your target country for your products to resonate with them.

5 Factors to Consider When Shipping Internationally

You must consider these five key elements when shipping a package internationally as these aspects are significant to ensuring successful and productive international shipping. You can easily handle the complexities of international shipping as you consider these things.

Shipping Regulations and Restrictions

Review the shipping regulations and restrictions of the destination country

Every international shipment must follow the customs policy of the destination country. Knowing and understanding the rules and guidelines ensures all international orders will be smooth and compliant. These regulations cover various aspects, including prohibited items, required customs documents, and packaging standards.

It is vital when shipping packages to prevent delays, penalties, and other legal technicalities that may cost additional fees. Following international shipping standards protects customer satisfaction, ensures a positive reputation, and allows businesses to develop overseas confidently.

Shipping Methods

international shipping sea freight

Choosing the most suitable shipping method when shipping a parcel to international destinations can be challenging since many options are available, with their advantages and considerations.

  • Air Freight - It is the perfect option for time-sensitive packages because of its speed and efficiency. However, it is also relatively more expensive than other shipping service options.
  • Sea Freight - It is a cheap shipping option for heavier and larger packages, but it has a longer delivery time than air freight. Thus, you can choose this service for non-urgent international shipments.
  • Ground Shipping - This is primarily used for shipping to neighbouring countries such as the United States and Mexico. It offers a convenient option for cross-border trade within North America. Land transportation is particularly useful for time-sensitive shipments, smaller loads, or when combining with other transportation modes for a comprehensive shipping solution.

You must always consider the nature of your products and specific handling requirements. You should also take into account the destination, budget, and urgency before deciding which service you want to use.

Packaging and Labeling

Design packaging and labelling

The packaging is more than just securing your products during travel. It is also an excellent way to introduce branding and market your business to an international audience. Of course, you will need sturdy and cushioning materials to protect your packages. However, if you can incorporate your brand colours, fonts, and designs, go for it. It can help new markets to recognize your business.

On the other hand, a label with correct shipping details can smoothen the international shipment process. Labelling packages with accurate recipient information, including complete address and contact details, prevents delivery errors. Furthermore, you can include relevant customs documents specific to the international destinations for smooth clearance.

Package Protection and Liability

Purchase a complete package protection program

It's important to take the necessary precautions to ensure that every parcel shipped internationally is protected from theft, loss, or damage while in transit. Purchasing comprehensive package protection gives you and your customers peace of mind while preserving the value of the shipped goods. However, you must carefully review the program's inclusion, including the guidelines, coverage limits, and any exclusion to ensure proper protection.

Meanwhile, understanding liability regulations is also critical since you will encounter numerous rules of different countries regarding limitations on liability for missing and damaged goods. As you familiarize yourself with rules, you can create informed decisions, avoid risks, and ensure you have the required coverage to handle any unforeseen events that can happen during international shipping.

Tracking and Delivery

A systematic tracking and delivery service.

A reliable tracking and delivery system, especially international shipping, is crucial for businesses and customers. Since you and your customers can monitor the progress of international shipping from Canada, you can establish transparency and honesty.

Go for a shipping company that offers real-time updates to ensure that all international shipping arrives on schedule and without hassle.

Shipping to the United States? 

shipping from canada to us
  1. Check if you’re allowed to ship the item you’re about to send to the United States.

We have mentioned this, but it bears repeating: check if the item you are about to ship can be sent. Otherwise, you’ll have a problem with customs and your customer. Check the list of items the United States restricts and prohibits. Also, take note of the shipping documents you need to present for smooth customs clearance. 

  1. Determine the documents you need to present.

If you’re still unfamiliar with the documents you need to fill out and prepare when shipping internationally, it’s time you take note of it. Entrepreneurs who skip this process get their shipments held at the border, which aggravates their customers.

Below are the documents you need to provide before delivering products to customers.

  • Commercial invoice

Also known as a business invoice, a commercial invoice discloses your shipment’s content and value. Note that you must declare the actual number and description of the items in the invoice to avoid delays.  

  • NAFTA Certificate of Origin

In the North American Free Trade Agreement, Canada, the United States and Mexico agree to remove impediments to trade and investment with each other. The NAFTA Certificate of Origin helps in determining if imported goods are eligible to receive reduced or free duty as specified in the agreement. The exporter must accomplish this document fully and legibly, and it must be in the importer’s hands at the time of declaration.

  • Importer ID number

The Importer ID number is used by US Customs to track the movement of your goods through various importing processes, such as establishing bond coverage. You can get yours through your customs broker. 

  • Bill of lading

A bill of lading is a legal file acting as an official contract of carriage that a product is bound for shipping. The document includes relevant shipping information and outlines the terms and conditions of carriage. 

  • B13A application form

The B13A application form is a document required by Canadian customs for all export products to be shipped to other countries. This is a must for shipments with a value above CAD 2,000 and for regulated, prohibited and controlled goods regardless of the product value. You need a Canadian Automated Export Declaration and submit your B13A at least two days before transport. 

  • Cargo control document (CCD)

The CCD is a document that contains crucial information about a product. It has a unique shipment code assigned by Canadian customs to help them identify the origins of carriers and shipments before they are delivered to a designated location. 

  • A valid export permit

You need an export permit to ship internationally. To get one, you need to have an Export and Import Permits Act file number, which you can obtain by registering with the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. Afterward, pay a fee of CAD 14.00. Your export permit will be given within 30 days.

  1. Pick a reliable shipping carrier

Depending on how they deliver your goods, your shipping carrier can strengthen or damage your relationship with your customers. Hence, it’s imperative that you choose a reliable shipping carrier to handle your packages. Below are some international shipping carriers you can choose from.

  • United States Postal Service

Best for small businesses looking to ship small items, the USPS is a shipping service that offers you the best price for a package under five pounds. The standard delivery period for USPS is 2–8 business days. 

  • United Parcel Service

If you plan on shipping large packages, pick UPS. They offer better deals for larger packages; however, they don't provide flat rates, unlike USPS. The standard delivery period for UPS is 1–5 business days. 

  • FedEx Corporation

Known for its quick delivery period, FedEx is best for rush shipping. Their services include overnight shipping, cross-country same-day shipping and regular delivery for domestic and international shipping. The standard delivery period for FedEx is 1–4 business days.

  • DHL

DHL delivers to more than 220 countries, and they have an online quote generator to know the cost of shipping your package. The standard delivery period is 3–8 business days. DHL is a well-known option for international shipping although their rates can get a bit expensive. This is not ideal for e-commerce sellers trying to save their margin on international shipments.

  • Stallion Express

Stallion Express is a reliable shipping service from Canada and the cheapest courier on this list. It is widely considered to be the best for international shipping by thousands of Canadian sellers. Shipping internationally will cost you as low as $6.20 with Stallion and we take care of the documentation process.

partner with stallion

For US Shipments, we have partnered with USPS to provide the lowest shipping rates to the US.

Stallion has already helped thousands of Canadian online sellers grow their brands internationally. Being Canada's leading shipping provider, you can expect a high-quality shipping service.

With the help of APC and PostNL, we can deliver your products to more than 80 countries worldwide. Whether the package destination is the United Kingdom, South Africa, Hong Kong, or Australia, Stallion can help you without the stressful shipping process and overly expensive shipping rates.

LocationPackage SizeCompetitor’s PriceStallion’s Price
London, England4oz (113g)$41.73$6.20 (85% off)
Hong Kong15oz (425g)$58.30$12.19 (79% off)
Sydney, Australia4oz (113g)$59.61$11.16 (81% off)
Tracking -YesYes
Delivery Time -6-10 business days4-10 business days

We will also process the customs clearance* for you, so you no longer have to worry about Canadian customs. Let us handle the shipment so you can focus on other aspects of growing your business.

*Stallion fully complies with Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) regulations. Ensure you stay within the prohibited goods list to avoid shipping issues and legal sanctions

Frequently Asked Questions

Is international shipping from Canada expensive?

International shipping costs vary depending on factors such as the destination, shipping method, weight, and dimensions of the shipment. It's important to compare quotes from different shipping providers to find the most cost-effective option for your specific requirements.

Do I need insurance for international shipments?

While insurance is not mandatory for international shipments, it is highly recommended. Insurance coverage protects your goods against loss, damage, or theft during transit. Consult with your shipping provider to understand the insurance options available to you.

Can I track my international shipment?

Yes, many shipping companies provide tracking services for international shipments. This allows you to monitor the progress of your shipment, get real-time updates, and ensure its safe and timely delivery.

What is the cheapest way to ship internationally from Canada?

Stallion Express is the cheapest way to ship internationally as we have partnered with carriers such as APC Logistics, Post NL and USPS to provide the most discounted shipping rates.

Final Thoughts

Effective international shipping from Canada requires time and research. We can help you in every step of the journey. If you’re looking for a shipping carrier that can safely deliver your goods at a low cost, provide seamless integration and great customer service, check out Stallion Express.

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

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Hear what online sellers in Canada are saying

"Stallion Express is a game changer for small business owners like myself. My online store wouldn't be where it's at today without the Stallion Express team."
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