14 Intermodal Transportation Trends That Matter in 2023

Intermodal transportation is a growing trend in logistics, but why is intermodal growing? Transportation and logistics companies are focusing on reducing costs, saving time, and increasing efficiency. This article will look at the top 14 intermodal transportation trends that matter in intermodal growth for 2023.

Top 14 intermodal trends for 2023

  1. Increase in Cross-Border trade
  2. Smart Intermodal
  3. Increased automation
  4. Growing demand for Intermodal logistics solutions
  5. Growing use of digital freight platforms
  6. Leaner Intermodal fleet operations
  7. Increased focus on sustainability
  8. Advances in sustainability and greener technology
  9. Better tracking
  10. Innovation in technology
  11. Port congestion
  12. B2B eCommerce
  13. Driver shortages
  14. Warehousing operations

Intermodal freight transportation back on the rise

The intermodal freight transportation industry has seen its fair share of ups and downs. But Intermodal transportation is on the upward climb.

According to a report on Research and Markets.com, the global intermodal freight transportation market is expected to grow by $50.45 mn from 2022-2026, experiencing a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 6.38% during the forecast period.

So what does that mean for logistics professionals?

What’s trending in Intermodal Transport

Trend #1: Increase in Cross-Border Trade

With the global trade slowdown, cross-border trade is becoming more prevalent. Cross-border trade is a significant factor in the growth of intermodal transportation, as it provides an efficient and cost-effective way to move goods.

Trend #2: Smart Intermodal

Smart intermodal solutions are becoming popular among logistics professionals. Smart intermodal solutions use data to track intermodal shipments, optimize routing and scheduling, and coordinate communication between different transport modes and intermodal terminals while providing real-time tracking.

Trend #3: Increased Automation

Automation is becoming increasingly popular in the intermodal transportation industry. This includes automated loading and unloading systems, yard management systems, intelligent planning tools for route optimization, and more. Automated systems can help improve efficiency and reduce costs for logistics companies.

“Automation and robotics are two trends that will impact the industry in a big way, as AI-driven technology leads to improvements in efficiency and accuracy.”

Francine Goulet, CEO of RailGateway.ca.

Trend #4: Growing Demand for Intermodal Logistics Solutions

The demand for intermodal logistics solutions has been growing steadily over the past few years. Many companies are turning to third-party logistics providers to manage their intermodal operations due to their expertise in the field and ability to handle complex supply chain logistics.

Trend #5: Growing Use of Digital Freight Platforms

Digital freight platforms are becoming increasingly popular in the logistics industry as they provide visibility and real-time tracking for shippers. These platforms can help streamline processes, reduce delays, and improve communication between all parties involved in the supply chain.

Trend #6: Leaner Intermodal Fleet Operations

Leaner intermodal fleets are becoming increasingly popular due to their cost savings and environmental benefits. They involve using fewer vehicles with lighter weights that require less fuel to operate, which reduces operating costs and emissions.

Trend #7: Increased Focus on Sustainability

In 2021/22, we reported on the advances in greener technology, and we’re pleased to report that sustainability continues to be a major trend in the intermodal transportation industry.

Companies are focusing on reducing their carbon footprint, increasing efficiency, and improving energy usage. This includes the use of more fuel-efficient vehicles, renewable energy sources, and green initiatives such as recycling and reuse.

Trend #8: Advances in Sustainability and Greener technology

Probably the most exciting trend is the advancement and development of battery-electric trains. Intermodal freight companies are racing to bring the first electric Intermodal train to market – for both intercity and intermodal transportation services.

In November 2021, CN Railway purchased Wabtec’s FLXdrive battery-electric freight locomotive, the region’s first 100-percent battery heavy-haul engine, in support of CN’s sustainability objectives.

This new technology is an essential building block in moving toward a lower carbon future.

“Sustainability initiatives such as using low-carbon fuels, reducing emissions from fleets, and using renewable energy will become increasingly important factors for business success.”

Francine Goulet, CEO of RailGateway.ca.

Trend #9: Better tracking of existing freight transportation systems and more visibility

With intermodal shipments on the rise and outdated systems falling behind, electronic scanning technology to make the shipping process faster and more efficient will become more prominent.

A demand for a more efficient shipment of goods has motivated the rail industry to improve operations by implementing precision scheduled railroading (PSR).

Intermodal freight companies need to keep up with these changes for the sake of their customers and business growth. Real-time or live tracking, tracking with hands-on video, and GPS reporting are all up-and-coming or evolving.

Intermodal software can help Intermodal freight operators manage load boards, track incoming shipments, update drivers on the status of their cargo, and even allow customers to track their shipments online.

Best of all? Intermodal software is often cloud-based or SaaS (software-as-a-service)

“In 2023, intermodal transportation will continue its technological advancement, with more connectivity between modes and better tracking of cargo.”

Francine Goulet, CEO of RailGateway.ca.

Trend #10: Innovation in technology and intermodal services

Intermodal transportation providers are investing in new technologies to offer never-seen-before services.

CN Rail’s (Canadian National Railway) partnership with Google Cloud to deliver an enhanced customer service experience has helped modernize railway services in Canada.

And the adoption of new technologies like Positive Train Control (PTC), designed to address human error, is ushering in an exciting new era of efficiency and safety for US railroads – source Association of American Railroads (AAR), Assistant VP Luisa Fernandez-Willey

Trend #11: Port congestion

Global freight forwarders are bracing themselves for another year of backlogs … or are they?

According to Greg Knowler of JOC.com (The Journal of Commerce Online), despite recent carrier “hype” over persistent congestion levels, rising prices and interest rates might slow down consumer demand and result in a rapid drop in global container shipping demand.

… there will be no shortage of solutions or surprises for the market this upcoming year.

Looking to move your freight from Ontario out West? Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, whichever city we can help.

With over 40 years of experience, RailGateway is the number one choice in Canada for full-load Intermodal freight transportation and cross border to and from the US via the Mississippi Corridor. Request your rail freight quote here. Let’s help you save today.

Trend #12: Transportation companies embracing B2B eCommerce

B2B eCommerce is the most efficient way for companies to connect online. And Intermodal B2B eCommerce allows smaller companies to share orders and take advantage of bulk purchasing.

Trend #13: Driver Shortages

An ongoing truck driver shortage, a declining workforce from retirement, and those who can’t afford to drive – is causing worry in the Intermodal industry.

In order for Intermodal companies to stay profitable, they need to be able to transport goods as quickly as possible. The truck driver shortage makes that nearly impossible.

Coyote.com reports that the industry is seeing a -38% in truck driver posting activity (2021/22 figures). While American Trucking Associations’ chief economist Bob Costello’s forecast anticipates a 64,000 driver shortage in 2023 and a new record high of more than 82,000 in 2024.

Trend #14: Investment in warehousing operations

As Intermodal companies expand their Intermodal services, an increasing number are investing in Intermodal warehouses to meet customer demand for last-mile delivery.

Warehouse investments — both in infrastructure and technologies such as robotics, automation, AI, and machine learning — are key to increasing efficiency. Investing in warehouses will help Intermodal companies better serve their customers with faster delivery times and improved customer service.

The warehousing industry is emerging as the latest asset class for investors looking to expand their portfolios. Whether it’s an investment opportunity or a strategic move, investing in your own warehouses can be beneficial for your business.

In 2023 we can expect more conversations about warehouse locations, design, technology integrations, and operational strategies to make sure Intermodal companies stay ahead of the competition.


As global freight forwarders brace themselves for another year of backlogs, Intermodal companies are looking for solutions to keep up with rising prices and interest rates.

Keep an eye on these trends to ensure that your business stays updated with the latest developments in intermodal transportation.

Whatever surprises the market has in store this upcoming year, RailGateway is here to help you save. Request your FREE no-obligation rail freight rate quote today!

Why You Should Consider Intermodal Rail During a Recession

Many businesses are looking for ways to cut costs. Intermodal rail can be an excellent option for logistics managers looking to save money while still getting their shipments to their destinations on time. Here are some of the reasons why intermodal rail may be the right choice for your business during a recession.

1. What is intermodal rail, and how can it benefit your business during a recession

Intermodal rail offers businesses a cost-effective and flexible way of shipping goods during a recession. With intermodal rail, you can enjoy lower transportation costs, minimizing environmental impact through reduced emissions, lighter-weight mainframe support structures, improved inventory management, and a more streamlined and consistent delivery option––all of which can lead to consistent savings that help your businesses make it through tough economic times.

At RailGateway, we offer the best rail freight rates in Canada both domestically and across the border into the US via the Mississippi corridor railway. Request a quote to see if you qualify for our CN intermodal rail freight rates or our CP rail shipping rate discounts.

By shifting 25% of truck cargo over a span of 750 miles (1200 km) to rail transportation, we could save up to 1.2 billion gallons worth of fuel yearly and drastically reduce emissions by 13.1 million tons–the equivalent greenhouse gas output from millions of cars taken off the road*

*One tonne of carbon emissions equivalent to driving 23,000 miles

AAR

2. How intermodal rail can help save your company money

In today’s ever-changing business landscape, finding cost-effective yet efficient methods of transport is essential to success. Intermodal rail is one such option that could provide significant savings for your business.

This method of transportation combines the low cost of intermodal rail and the quickness and convenience of short-haul trucking. With intermodal rail, your business can access more cities across Canada than with traditional trucking, opening up new markets and expanding your consumer reach. Whether it be for dry materials or finished products, using intermodal rail could prove instrumental in helping you cut costs and take advantage of new domestic opportunities.

A single intermodal train can carry the equivelent load of 280 trucks.

US Environmental Protection Agency (US-EPA)

3. Why now is the best time to consider switching to intermodal rail

With intermodal rail, you can lock in steady, consistent freight rates and keep costs low. Rail shipping also allows for quick and reliable delivery across many intermodal hubs located throughout North America, making intermodal rail a prime choice when it comes to cost-effectiveness and reliability.

Should you choose to make the switch to intermodal rail shipping as a method of transport, you could qualify for discounts that will further reduce overhead costs. To find out if you qualify, request your rail freight quote today and see how intermodal rail can successfully fit into your product shipping strategy.

RailGateway CEO Francine Goulet said, “If you’re a shipper who wants to cut transport costs, intermodal rail is a great recession-proof option. Through our own 40+ years of experience, we’ve seen the benefits that this mode of transportation can provide businesses; it opens up new markets while also reducing environmental impact. The latter two factors save companies time and money in the long term.”

At RailGateway.ca, we aim to provide our customers with access to reliable and cost-effective rail shipping services so you can confidently manage your supply chain even during tough economic times. Request your intermodal rail quote and see how RailGateway’s rail shipping solutions could benefit your business.

References:

“Why Businesses Should Consider Intermodal Rail During a Recession”
Francine Goulet, CEO, RailGateway.ca

The Top 18 Intermodal Terminals in Canada

This post was last updated on December 12th, 2022

Canada is a country with diverse natural resources, and it’s also home to some of the largest Intermodal Terminals. The Intermodal Terminal Network in Canada has grown over the last several decades and as global trade continues to grow, more Domestic Intermodal Terminals flourish across this great nation.

Which Intermodal Terminals rank among the top ten in Canada? Read on to find out.

A Look at the Top 18 Intermodal Transport Terminals in Canada

Canadian National Railway Company (CN)

*From East to West but in no particular order

  • Halifax, NS
    Port Code: 009
    Sub. Code: 2021
  • Moncton, NB
    Port Code: 206
    Sub. Code: 2108
  • Montreal, QC
    Port Code: 395
    Sub. Code: 2414  
  • Malport, ON
    Port Code: 495
    Sub. Code: 3006
  • Brampton (Toronto), ON
    Port Code: 495
    Sub. Code: 3037
  • Winnipeg, MB
    Port Code: 504
    Sub. Code: 3147
  • Saskatoon, SK
    Port Code: 605
    Sub. Code: 3215
  • East Regina, SK
    Port Code: 0604
    Sub. Code: 5817
  • Edmonton, AB
    Port Code: 702
    Sub. Code: 4492
  • Calgary Logistics Park, AB
    Port Code: 701
    Sub. Code: 5426
  • Vancouver, BC
    Port Code: 809
    Sub. Code: 3373

For a complete look at CN’s interactive map of intermodal terminals and yards, visit www.cn.ca.

CP Rail facilities and intermodal terminals

*From East to West but in no particular order

  • Lachine Intermodal Terminal (Quebec)
  • Vaughan Intermodal Terminal (Kleinburg, ON)
  • Winnipeg Intermodal Terminal (Manitoba)
  • Regina Intermodal Facility (Saskatchewan)
  • Edmonton Intermodal Terminal (Alberta)
  • Calgary Intermodal Terminal (Alberta)
  • Vancouver Intermodal Terminal (Pitt Meadows, BC)

Download CP Rails North American Rail map here.

11 Contributing Factors of a Top Rated Intermodal Terminal

Intermodal terminals are designed for a specific use, and a number of factors can affect their performance.

Intermodal terminals should be able to handle large trucks efficiently and have basic functions and terminal infrastructure processes in place.

These terminals offer many different advantages, including:

– Proximity to major trade corridors, ports, and population centers  

– The ability to handle a wide range of cargo types 

– A lower environmental footprint

When analyzing intermodal terminals for your transportation needs, consider the following:

  1. Do you require the use of rail-mounted gantry cranes? Is this an important factor in the execution of your intermodal transportation process?
  2. Is there a local terminal manager? What kind of local support is there?
  3. Are double-sided rail access mounts and ladders available? Will your shipments require the use of one?
  4. What international and domestic relations does the terminal have? Is expansion into European countries and other markets important.
  5. Is there sufficient parking space?
  6. When handling equipment, what intermodal operators are involved?
  7. Is there a dedicated operational company?
  8. Will you require and/or is it rail-side access?
  9. What is local demand like?
  10. What market segments does the terminal or yard specialise in, if any?
  11. Is there interim storage facilities available in cases of delays or emergencies?

Defining what Intermodal Transportation is.

Intermodal transport is the transfer of goods from one transport mode of transportation to another, such as when cargo is transferred from a ship to a train.

Time and cost of transportation, availability of services, and legal and insurance issues are just a few of the factors that must be considered when selecting a shipping method.

There are many actors involved in the transportation of products, such as shippers and logistics providers, as well as government agencies.

Intermodal shipping containers allow for the more efficient and less costly movement of goods because they can be transported on land, water, or air.

Intermodals are typically used for manufactured products that ship in large volumes and have standardized sizes for packaging or units.

Intermodals provide an alternative to traditional break-bulk cargo handling methods by simplifying the loading and unloading process at ports, and at rail and road network points as well.

By reducing labor costs and time required at each intermodal terminal stop, intermodal services can also save energy and emissions by requiring fewer trucks on the road.

Intermodal Transport Services

Canada has over 41,700 route kilometres of rail network tracks, 559 marine port facilities, 1.13 million two-lane equivalent public roads, and 81 airports – a report by the Transportation Association of Canada (TAC).

The report, with project funding partners such as Alberta Transportation, Metrolinx, Ministère des Transports du Québec and the Region of Peel is a look at the history, purpose, and operation of goods movement in Canada.

Canada’s trade is built off the backbone between three main corridors:

1. The Western Asia-Pacific Corridor. Established in 2006 with the launch of the Asia–Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative (APGCI)

2. The Ontario-Quebec Corridor. The principal economic corridor of Canada supports $560 billion of trade.

3. And the Atlantic Corridor. A transportation network of intermodal and rail terminals that connect North America to European countries, and markets in the Caribbean, Latin America, and Asia via the Suez Canal

intermodal terminal

Canada is a vast country with people and goods moving in and out of the country every day. Intermodal terminals are responsible for this movement, giving Canadian businesses access to markets all over the world. With so many different modes of transportation available, it can be difficult to keep track of who is running what terminal or where they’re located.

At RailGateway we want to simplify the intermodal supply chain process and industry by offering our clients unparalleled customer service while saving them time and money.

Whether you’re shipping from Moncton to Vancouver, Toronto to Winnipeg to Calgary, and back again – we have the experience you need to ship your cargo from the east coast to the west. Contact us for your FREE no obligation rail freight quote.

7 Intermodal Transportation Advantages: How Canadian Businesses Can Benefit in 2023

This post was last updated on December 23rd, 2022.

Wondering what the top intermodal transportation advantages in 2023 are? In this blog post, we’ll discuss seven reasons why intermodal transportation should be on your radar for any company looking to improve its logistics distribution in 2023 and beyond.

The Advantages of Intermodal Transportation: 7 Reasons Why a Canadian Business Should Branch Out Into Intermodal Freight Transport

1. Lower transportation costs

Intermodal transportation saves you money. Intermodal freight logistics are sometimes thousands of dollars less than truckloads, often leading to better on-time shipments.

Even where modal transit costs just slightly less than the cost of carrying one load, savings are usually significant over a more extended period.

Businesses that are a good fit for intermodal can expect to save between 10% to 15%.

2. Scalability of your Operations

It is scalable as you need it to be. Intermodal transportation opens up your options for international distribution.

Moving cargo shipments across the country cost-effectively and sustainably means greater expansion opportunities. The less time your products spend in transit, the faster and further you’re able to ship your products to increase your customer reach.

Intermodal transportation is also excellent for businesses with growing shipping volumes. With full load services, you can partner with intermodal carriers to ship more freight volume, filling in entire containers that could result in exciting scale savings for your company.

3. Intermodal Rail Transport Makes it Better for the Environment

Intermodal transport is more environmentally friendly than other modes of transportation, especially if trains are involved. 

Train transportation is four times more efficient than a truckload. A fully loaded intermodal train removes 280 vehicles off the road and reduces the need for air freight transportation.

With fewer trucks on the roads, there’s also a reduction in noise pollution, and highways are less congested.

4. Efficiency

Moving freight with different transport modes increases productivity, with less time spent loading and unloading intermodal containers.

Every minute counts in the shipping industry. And every lost minute can be costly for a business.

When it comes down to shipping—the faster the merchandise can be delivered, the less money will needlessly get spent on storing or delivering that shipment later.

5. Reduce Risks

Intermodal is safer than other transportation modes, especially when it comes to railroads.

Not only are accidents rarer, but shipping on rail cars also means more predictable logistics. (Yay to no traffic.)

Overall, because shippers carry cargo into intermodal containers from origin to destination, the risk of theft is considerably reduced. Avoiding multiple cargo handling in and out of different shipping containers or trailers prevents breakage risks.

6. Keep control over your intermodal shipments

With intermodal transportation, you have better control over each leg of the journey with track and trace capabilities than shipping with a multimodal transport operator.

Why? Because with a multimodal shipping company, you will negotiate a single combined bill of landing. Whereas, with an intermodal operation company, you can negotiate and keep control of each part of the shipment.

This also applies if an issue arises. With multimodal transportation, you will have to “wait and see” how the company can fix the problem, but overall, they handle each part of the shipment. With intermodal, you can change plans along the way and find solutions with other carriers if needed.

7. Reliable capacity and transit times

Intermodal transportation offers dependable, scheduled service with confirmed capacity and lower costs.

Rail intermodal is often the only transportation mode to handle large and heavy cargoes. The ability to offer reliable, scheduled service with confirmed capacity is an essential advantage for intermodal transportation.

This becomes especially important as businesses look to expand their reach into new markets.

In the end, intermodal transportation is a great way to get the most out of the logistics industry by using not one but several shipping modes. By combining the benefits of each transportation type, intermodal can provide an efficient and cost-effective way to move your freight.

Intermodal Shipping Is Growing. Work With an Intermodal Partner You Can Trust.

Intermodal transportation is on the rise, and it’s not going anywhere. In 2019 intermodal transport work was responsible for more than 37.2M tonnes of containers on flat cars shipping.

Intermodal is a smart business move that can help you sustainably grow your company and, with the right partner on your side, help you save beyond anything you’ve imagined.

RailGateway is a Canadian company that provides intermodal rail services, moving full loads across the country at an affordable rate.

With seamless service and quality customer care, RailGateway has ensured its success in this industry by giving customers what they want: on-time, affordably priced intermodal transport.

RailGateway wants to make your life easier. Get your intermodal rail quote today to see the difference we can make for you.

Modes of Transportation: How to Choose the Best Options for Your Supply Chain

When it comes to choosing the best mode of transportation for your supply chain, there are a lot of factors to consider. And as with anything in life and business, each option has its own set of pros and cons that you’ll need to weigh before making a decision.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss the most common modes of transportation used in logistics and outline the benefits and drawbacks of each one.

By the end, you should have a better understanding of which option is best for your business. Scroll down to read more.

The 7 modes of transportation

  1. Air transportation or air transport
  2. Rail transportation (passenger and freight)
  3. Ship transport (also known as maritime shipping or maritime transportation)
  4. Road transport or truck load
  5. Water transport (barges and canals)
  6. Intermodal transportation (a combination of road transportation and freight trains)
  7. Multimodal transport (a combination of multiple modes of transportation methods)

What are the different modes of transport in logistics?

There are four main modes of transport in logistics: truck, ship, train, and air, and the best option for a particular shipment will depend on a number of factors.

Trucks are the most versatile mode of transport, as they can be used for shipments of all sizes and types. However, trucking is also the most expensive option, and it can be subject to delays due to traffic or inclement weather conditions.

Ships are best suited for large shipments and international trade that needs to be transported over long distances. Maritime transport is relatively slow but cost-effective.

Trains are an efficient and environmentally friendly option for shipping freight that needs to be transported over long distances, typically 1000+ km or 750 miles. Rail transport is also fast and reliable, but it can be expensive and routes are limited. In addition, train schedules can be inflexible, which can make it difficult to coordinate shipments.

Industries shipping large volumes or requiring the movement of heavy goods preferably use railway and road transportation (also known as intermodal transportation) as well as shipping by sea over other modes. This method can accommodate larger materials thus becoming an ideal alternative to air travel which is better suited for parcel shipping and small packages.

Air freight is the fastest of the transport modes but also the most expensive. It’s best suited for shipments that are time-sensitive or need to be delivered to remote locations where trains and transport cars are unable to service.

Now that we’ve gone over the different modes of transportation, let’s take a closer look at the benefits and drawbacks of each one.

Benefits and drawbacks of truck transportation

Truck transportation is the most popular mode of transport in North America, as it offers a number of advantages, including:

-Trucks can transport shipments of all sizes and types.

-Trucking is a door-to-door service, which means your shipment will be delivered directly to the recipient’s location.

-Trucking is relatively fast and provides a high degree of flexibility when it comes to delivery times.

-Trucks can transport shipments to and from remote locations that are not serviced by other modes of transport.

However, trucking also has a few drawbacks, including:

-With gas and petrol prices at an all-time high, trucking is an expensive mode of transport.

-Trucking can be subject to travel restrictions and delays due to traffic or weather conditions.

Benefits and drawbacks of rail transportation

Rail transportation is a fast and efficient way to move freight, and it offers a number of advantages, including:

-Rail transport is faster and more cost-effective than trucking, making it ideal for long-distance shipments.

-Rail transport is more energy-efficient which makes it better for the environment.

-Rail transport is more reliable and predictable than trucking, as trains run on set schedules.

Of course, rail transportation also has a few drawbacks, including:

-Rail transport can be more expensive than trucking.

-The routes for rail transport are limited, which can make it difficult to coordinate shipments.

-Train schedules can be inflexible

Benefits and drawbacks of maritime transportation

Maritime transportation is a slow but cost-effective way to move freight, and it offers a number of advantages, including:

-Maritime transport is the most economical option for shipping large volumes of freight.

-Maritime transport is less likely to be affected by weather conditions than other modes of transport.

Drawbacks of maritime shipping include:

-Maritime transport is relatively slow, which can make it unsuitable for time-sensitive shipments.

-Cargo ships are subject to travel restrictions.

-The routes for maritime transport are limited, which can make it difficult to coordinate frequent shipments.

Benefits and drawbacks of air transportation

Air transportation is the fastest way to move freight internationally, and it offers a number of advantages, including:

-Air transport is the fastest option for freight transportation.

-Air cargo is less likely to be affected by weather conditions than other transportation modes.

-Air shipping is ideal for time-sensitive shipments.

Air transportation drawbacks:

-Air transport is the most expensive of freight transport.

-Air transport is subject to travel restrictions and delays due to air traffic control and passenger planes.

-Environmental concerns

How to Choose the Best Type of Logistics Transportation for Your Company? 

There are a few factors you should take into account when deciding what type of transportation is best for your company, including:

-The type of goods you need to ship.

-Your shipping budget.

-The time frame for delivery.

-The distance of the shipment.

-Whether or not you need door-to-door service.

-The frequency of shipments.

-Environmental concerns.

Weighing all of these factors will help you decide which mode or combination of modes, of transportation is best suited for your company’s needs.

In our next update, we’ll investigate how and when to use which transportation mode.

Ready to get started with intermodal transport? At RailGateway, we make it simple to find the right mode and carrier for your freight and our competitive pricing guarantees you the best rate for your shipment. Get started today with a free rail quote.

Freight Shipments: What You Need to Know

If you’re in the business of shipping goods, then you need to be aware of the different types of freight shipments. There are several ways to ship freight, each with advantages and disadvantages. So if you’re looking to ship your goods, read on for information about the best way to do it!

The meaning of freight

Freight refers to transporting goods by land, air, or sea. The term is typically used to describe the movement of goods between businesses or between a business and its customers.

Freight can also refer to the actual vehicles or vessels used to transport goods, as well as the cost of shipping.

Freight is an important part of the global economy, and it plays a vital role in enabling businesses to ship goods around the world. Freight is also a major source of pollution, and it has a significant impact on the environment. As a result, freight is a complex and often controversial topic.

What is freight shipping?

Freight shipping is the transportation of large quantities of goods, typically by truck or train. This type of shipping is often used for commercial purposes, such as when a company needs to transport raw materials or finished products from one location to another.

In some cases, freight shipping can also be used for personal purposes, such as when a family moves to a new home. Freight shipping is usually more expensive than regular shipping, but it offers several benefits, such as the ability to transport larger items such as heavy machinery and the ability to ship items more securely.

Benefits of freight shipping

There are several benefits of freight shipping, including:

-The ability to ship large items: Freight shipping allows you to ship items that are too large or heavy for regular shipping. This is especially beneficial if you need to transport heavy machinery or other large items.

-The ability to ship items more securely: Freight shipping is more secure than regular shipping, and it offers a higher level of protection for your items. This is because freight shipments are typically shipped in containers that are more difficult to break into.

-The ability to ship items faster: Freight shipping is usually faster than regular shipping, and it can often be delivered on the same day or the next day. This is because freight shipments are typically shipped by truck or train, which are faster than regular shipping methods.

What’s the difference between freight and shipping?

Most people use the terms “freight” and “shipping” interchangeably, but there is a distinct difference between the two.

Freight refers to the transportation of goods by any means, including air, land, and sea, and in large quantities. Shipping, on the other hand, only refers to the transportation of goods in smaller amounts.

This distinction is important because it can affect both the cost and the time frame of your shipment.

What is an example of freight?

An example of freight is when a company ships a large order of products from one location to another. This type of shipment is typically full load and done by truck or train and can take several days to complete the journey.

Benefits of shipping Intermodal freight with RailGateway.ca

If you’re looking for a reliable, cost-effective way to ship your freight, then you should consider using RailGateway.ca. We’re the leading provider of intermodal freight shipping services in Canada, and we offer a variety of benefits, including the ability to ship large items more securely and faster.

Request your intermodal freight quote today.

Freight shipping methods

When shipping freight, there are different modes to choose from, including truckloads in full or lesser loads (LTL), intermodal and expedited routes.

Here’s a quick look at the different modes of shipping:

Full truckload (FTL)

The container will hold the inventory in its entirety, and the goods are transported.

Less-than a truckload (LTL)

LTL shipments range in weight from 150 to 15,000 pounds, and the mode of transportation (typically by truck) is decided based on the size and weight of the shipment.

Intermodal

Intermodal typically combines railroads and trucks but can include various types of transportation, including ships and aircraft. In addition to transport costs, rail will reduce fuel consumption and reduce the transport of cargo by rail.

Partial truckload (PTL)

Partial truckload shipping is a hybrid between LTL and FTL freight. It’s only an option if a shipper requires a truck with a capacity of 5,000 to 40,000 pounds or five up to 14 pallets.

Expedited

Expedient transport is often used to expedite the delivery and involves trucks and air. Out of the various modes of transport, expedited is more expensive than the standard method.

Factors that determine freight shipping rates

When it comes to shipping freight, there are a number of factors that will determine the rates you pay.

The first is the mode of transport. Shipping by air is typically the most expensive option, followed by shipping by truck and then by rail.

The second factor is the distance the shipment will travel. The further the distance, the higher the rate will be. And the third factor is the weight and volume of the shipment.

Heavier and larger loads typically cost more to ship than lighter and smaller ones but not always. Depending on packaging, lighter items may have similar volumes to those heavier but more compact shipments. 

Finally, the type of goods being shipped will also affect the rates. Hazardous materials typically cost more to ship than other types of freight.

Keep these factors in mind when shipping freight so that you can budget accordingly.

How to calculate freight shipping costs?

To calculate freight shipping costs, you’ll first need to determine the mode of transport you’ll be using. Then, you’ll need to consider the distance the shipment will travel, the weight and volume of the shipment, and the type of goods being shipped.

Once you have all of this information, you can use a freight calculator to get an estimate of the shipping costs.

How to prepare a freight shipment?

When you are ready to ship your freight, there are a few things you need to do to prepare it. First, you need to make sure that the items you are shipping are properly packaged. This means using sturdy boxes or crates that can withstand the journey ahead.

You also need to make sure that your freight is properly labeled. This includes putting your name and contact information on the outside of the shipment, as well as clearly marking the contents of the shipment on the inside.

Finally, you need to choose a freight shipping company that can provide you with the best possible service. This means getting quotes from multiple companies and comparing their rates and services.

By taking these steps, you can be sure that your freight shipment will arrive safely.

For more tips on how to choose a container for shipping and how to pack it check out our posts:

10 Types of Intermodal Cargo You Can Ship in Containers
Container Bites: Interesting Intermodal Container Stats and Tid Bits
The Intermodal Container: Everything You Need to Know About Containerisation!
Container for Shipping: Your Guide to Shipping Containers from the Pros

How to ship freight?

There are a few different ways to ship freight, but the most common method is by truck. Trucking companies will typically have a fleet of trucks that are specially designed for shipping freight.

To ship by truck, you’ll need to load your freight onto the truck and then secure it in place. Once it’s loaded, the truck will transport it to its destination.

Another common method of shipping freight is by rail. Railroads have special cars that are designed for carrying freight. To ship by rail, you’ll need to load your freight onto the rail car and then secure it in place. The rail car will then transport it to its destination.

Finally, you can also ship freight by air.

Get in touch with a Fulfillment Expert Today.

If you’re ready to get started with freight shipping, the first step is to contact a fulfillment expert. They can help you determine the best shipping method for your products and help you get started with the process. Contact us today to get started.

Container for Shipping: Your Guide to Shipping Containers from the Pros

This post was last updated on September 30th, 2022

The shipping container you choose for your business is important. You want to make sure that it’s the right size and that it’s going to protect your items during shipping. And by understanding the best way to stack items and seal containers, you can ensure your cargo arrives safely at its destination.

Here’s everything you need to know about shipping containers from us here at RailGateway.ca, your Canadian and cross-border shipping experts.

Shipping Container Selection Guide: Types, Features, Applications, Sizes, and Uses

When it comes to container shipping, there are a lot of options available. But which container is the right one for your needs? With our quick guide, you’ll be able to select the best container for your particular shipment based on factors like type, size, application, and more.

Standard Shipping Rail Container Sizes VS High Cube Containers

The Standardization of shipping containers

As rail traffic has evolved, it became a major challenge to standardize exterior dimensions, size, and capacity specifications to allow seamless transportation and movement of intermodal cargo.

Railroads have then developed standardized shipping containers that align with the common and ISO standards, in order to safely, efficiently, and cost-effectively ship rail cargo across Canada and generally speaking, across the world.

Two major shipping container sizes are in use nowadays:

  • The ISO standard containers, are the ones set by the International Organization for Standardization thanks to the ISO 688 standard. They are the most common ones, used all over the world.
  • The “High Cube Containers”, are based on a common USA/Canadian standard (used for instance by CN and CP rail companies), with slightly taller containers.

Dimensions differences between Standard and High Cubes containers

The major difference between the two rail containers is the height.

While ISO containers are 8’6″ or 2.59 meters tall, high cube containers have a height of 9’6″ or approximately 2.90 meters high.

This represents an increase of one foot or 0.305 meters over the standard rail container height. It allows businesses to fit more merchandise in the container’s interior while keeping the same length.

The Twenty-foot Equivalent Units (TEU) rail container specifications

Good to know: The rail container dimensions are also used to determine the rail container capacity. These are expressed in “Twenty-foot Equivalent Units” or TEUs.

Standard shipping containers are 20′ long (around 6.06 meters), 8’6″ high (around 2.59 meters), and 8′ wide (around 2.44 meters), which calculates to 38.29 square meters of rail cargo-carrying space. The 40′ long (12.19 meters) is another standard cargo container size.pace. The 40′ long (12.19 meters) is another standard common size.

Types of containers

Standard dry cargo containers are the most common type of containers used. They come in various sizes, from 20 feet (6 meters) to 40 feet (12 meters) long.

Reefer containers: These containers have built-in refrigeration units and are used for perishable shipments. They come in 20-foot and 40-foot sizes.

Flat rack containers are containers with no sides or roof and are used for oversized or oddly-shaped shipments. They come in 20-foot and 40-foot sizes.

Open top containers: These containers have no hard top, making them easy to load and unload from the top. They come in 20-foot and 40-foot sizes.

Sizes of containers

20-foot container: The most popular container size, a 20-footer is perfect for smaller shipments. It’s also the most manageable size since it’s the standard most shipping lines use.

40-foot container: A 40-foot container is ideal for larger shipments or consolidating multiple smaller shipments into one container.

53′ high cube Dry van container: This container is the largest on the market and can hold up to 25% more volume. What does this mean to you? 26 – 30 skids depending upon the actual dimensions of each skid.

At RailGateway, we specialize in 40-foot and 53-high cube dry containers. For more details, visit our container specifications page.

Features of containers

Doors: All containers have doors on one end, which can be opened for loading and unloading. Some container types (like reefers and open tops) may have doors on both ends.

Locking bars: Most containers have locking bars that can be used to secure the doors shut. This is important for preventing theft and keeping your shipment safe during transit.

Security features: Some shipping lines offer extra security features like GPS tracking and tamper-proof seals. These can be worth the extra cost if you’re shipping high-value items or sensitive materials.

Applications

Dry cargo: Standard dry cargo containers can be used for a wide variety of shipments, from clothes and electronics to furniture and machinery.

Refrigerated cargo: Reefer containers are perfect for perishable items like food, flowers, and pharmaceuticals.

Oversized cargo: Flat rack containers can accommodate oversized or oddly-shaped shipments that wouldn’t fit in a standard container.

Top-loading cargo: Open-top containers are convenient for top-loading shipments like lumber, steel coils, or vehicles.

What You Need to Know Before Packing a Shipping Container

Packing a container is not as simple as loading up your items and sending them on their way. There are a few things you need to know to properly pack and ship your container, from the right packing materials to use to the best way to stack your items.

Packing materials 

Bubble wrap: Bubble wrap is perfect for protecting fragile items during shipping. It’s important to use a good quality bubble wrap that won’t pop easily.

Foam peanuts: Foam peanuts can be used in place of bubble wrap or as additional padding for delicate items. They’re also great for filling empty spaces in the container so that your items don’t break during transit.

Cardboard boxes: Cardboard boxes are great for organizing and keeping your items safe during shipping. It’s important to use sturdy boxes that won’t collapse under the weight of your shipment.

Packing tape: Packing tape is essential for sealing up your boxes and securing them in the container. Make sure to use good-quality tape that won’t come undone easily.

Labeling 

It’s important to label all of your boxes so that the receiving party knows what’s inside. This will make unpacking easier and help to prevent any damages or losses. Be sure to include a detailed description of the contents, as well as your contact information in case there are any problems with the shipment.

How to Properly Pack and Ship ISO Containers

Now that you’ve selected the right container for your shipment, it’s time to start packing. Here are a few things you should keep in mind in order to ensure that everything arrives safely and in one piece.

Choose the right packing materials. For fragile items, use padding like bubble wrap or foam peanuts. For heavy items, use wooden pallets to distribute the weight evenly.

The Best Way to Stack Items in a Cargo Container

Stack items carefully. Make sure that heavier items are on the bottom and lighter items are on top. Use dunnage (wooden boards or metal bars) to secure stacked items and prevent shifting during transit.

How to Seal Intermodal Containers

Once your container is packed, seal the doors shut with locking bars or tamper-proof seals. Label the container with your contact information and the destination address.

Shipping Overseas

If you’re shipping a container overseas, there are a few additional things you need to do in order to ensure that everything goes smoothly.

First, you’ll need to obtain a bill of lading from the shipping company. This document will list the contents of your shipment and act as a contract between you and the shipper.

You’ll also need to fill out a customs declaration form. This form will list the value of your shipment and any applicable taxes or duties.

Finally, make sure to check with the destination country’s customs department to see if there are any special requirements for importing goods.

Packing and shipping a container doesn’t have to be complicated. With a little preparation and the right materials, you can safely ship your items to their destination. Just remember to choose the right container, pack carefully, and label everything clearly. By following these simple tips, you can be sure that your container will arrive safe and sound.

Looking to save on your Canadian intermodal transportation costs? At RailGateway, we have over 40 years of experience and can help you save time and money. Contact us today to request your rail quote.

For more information about container shipping, check out our posts:

10 Types of Intermodal Cargo You Can Ship in Containers
Container Bites: Interesting Intermodal Container Stats and Tid Bits
The Intermodal Container: Everything You Need to Know About Containerisation!

Shipment Consolidation and Deconsolidation: 3 Advantages of Freight Consolidation

Shipping is a critical part of business, but the costs can quickly add up. That’s why more and more companies are turning to freight consolidation as a way to reduce expenses. But what is freight consolidation, and what are the advantages it offers?

What is consolidated freight?

Freight consolidation is the process of combining multiple shipments into a single shipment. This can be done for a number of reasons, including reducing shipping costs and improving efficiency.

Here are three advantages of freight consolidation:

1. Reduced Shipping Costs– When consolidating your shipments, you’re taking advantage of the volume discounts freight carriers offer. By consolidating multiple shipments into one, you can often get a lower per-shipment rate.

2. Increased Efficiency– When you consolidate your shipments, you’re also increasing the efficiency of your shipping operation. This is because you’re now dealing with only one shipment instead of multiple shipments, and this can save you time and money in the long run.

3. Improved Tracking– When consolidating your shipments, you’ll also have an easier time tracking them. This is because you will only have to track one shipment instead of multiple shipments.

Overall, freight consolidation can offer many advantages to businesses that ship goods. Shipment consolidation may be the answer if you are looking for ways to reduce shipping costs and increase efficiency.

Possible shipping challenges of consolidation

Consolidating your shipments can help you save money and increase efficiency, but it’s not without its challenges. Here are some of the challenges you may face when consolidating your shipments:

1. Less Flexibility– You may have fewer options regarding shipment dates and times when consolidating your shipments. 

2. Longer Transit Times– You may also experience longer transit times when consolidating your shipments. This is because it may take longer to consolidate your shipment and get it on the road.

3. Increased Risk of Damages– When you consolidate your shipments, you may also increase the risk of damages. 

Rapid Fire FAQ’s about consolidated shipping

Is consolidated shipping faster?

No, it may take longer to consolidate your shipment and get it on the road.

Is consolidated shipping more expensive?

Consolidating your shipments can help you save money by taking advantage of volume discounts offered by freight carriers.

Is consolidated shipping riskier?

Consolidated shipping can be a cost-effective way to ship goods, but it can also increase the risk of damage or loss. Consolidated shipments are often larger and heavier and take longer to arrive at their destination, increasing the likelihood that something will go wrong during transit. As a result, shipment consolidation can be risky for businesses that rely on timely deliveries.

How do you consolidate cargo?

There are a few different ways to consolidate cargo, but the most common method is to use a freight consolidator. A freight consolidator is a company that specializes in consolidating shipments. They will pick up your cargo from multiple locations and consolidate them into one shipment.

What are freight consolidation services?

Freight consolidation services are services that help businesses consolidate their shipments. These services can pick up your shipment from multiple locations and consolidate them into one shipment. This can save you time and money by taking advantage of volume discounts offered by freight carriers.

What does a consolidator do?

A consolidator is a company that specializes in consolidating shipments. They pick up freight and cargo from multiple locations and consolidate them into one load in a pooled service. This can help you save money and increase efficiency by taking advantage of volume discounts offered by freight carriers.

Do I need a consolidator?

You may benefit from using a consolidator if you are shipping multiple items from multiple locations. A consolidator can help you save money and increase efficiency by taking advantage of volume discounts offered by freight carriers.

What are the differences between break bulk and consolidation warehouse?

There are a few key differences between break bulk and consolidation warehouses:

  1. Break bulk warehouses are typically used to store larger quantities of goods, while consolidation warehouses are used to store smaller quantities of goods.
  2. Break bulk warehouses typically have more space available for storing goods, while consolidation warehouses may be more limited in terms of space.
  3. Break bulk warehouses typically have more specialized equipment for handling and storing goods, while consolidation warehouses may be more limited in terms of such equipment.

What are consolidation and deconsolidation shipments?

Deconsolidation is the opposite process of consolidation involving the splitting of a single shipment into multiple shipments, typically with different end delivery locations.


Looking to ship to or from Canada? At RailGateway, we can help you to reduce your shipping costs and improve your efficiency. Our services can be tailored to meet the specific needs of your business. We understand that each business has unique shipping requirements, and we will work with you to develop a solution that meets your specific needs. Request an intermodal rail quote today.

Bill of Lading: What It Is, Different Types, How-to and More

What is a bill of lading? If you’re new to the world of shipping, this may be a question you have. A bill of lading, or BoL, is a document that outlines the details of a shipment.

It includes essential information such as the shipper and receiver’s name and contact information, the goods being shipped, and their weight and dimensions. There are different types of bill of ladings, each with specific uses.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss what a bill of lading is, different types, why you need one, what to look for when filling one out and how to complete it correctly.

Bill of Lading Explained: The Complete Beginner’s Guide

The Bill of Lading is arguably the most used document to execute transport transactions by sea, air, and roadway in the commercial sector.

The importance, purpose, and types of bill of lading in shipping

A bill of lading is a legal document required to ship goods. It is a contract between the shipper and the carrier and outlines the shipment’s terms.

The bill of lading also serves as a receipt for the goods, and the carrier must sign it to be valid.

There are different types of bill of lading, including clean, dirty, or claused. A clean bill of lading means that the goods were received in good condition and that there are no damages or defects. A claused or dirty bill of lading means that there are some damages or defects.

The function of a bill of lading

A bill of lading is a document that lists the items being shipped, the quantity of each item, the destination, and the sender. Its main purpose is to serve as a receipt for goods that have been shipped.

Why is a bill of lading important?

The bill of lading can be used as a contract between the shipper and the carrier, outlining the responsibilities of each party. If any damage or loss occurs during transport, the bill of lading can be used as evidence to resolve the dispute. As such, the bill of lading is essential in ensuring smooth and successful shipments.

Is there a bill of lading without a consignee?

A bill of lading can be issued without a consignee, but it is not advisable to do so. Without a consignee, the bill of lading becomes an open contract, meaning anyone who presents the bill of lading to the carrier can claim the goods. This could lead to confusion and delays in receiving your shipment.

It is always best to include the consignee on the bill of lading to avoid any issues.

How to fill out a bill of lading

When filling out a bill of lading, there are a few critical pieces of information that you’ll need to include:

– The name and contact information for the shipper and receiver

– The goods being shipped and their weight and dimensions

– The date of shipment

– The mode of transport (sea, air, truck, etc.)

If you’re using a bill of lading template, fill in the required information. If you are creating your own bill of lading, include all of the necessary information and format it in a clear and easy-to-read way.

Signatures on a bill of lading

Once the bill of lading has been completed, it must be signed by both the shipper and the carrier. The carrier’s signature signifies that they have received the goods and that they are in good condition. The shipper’s signature indicates that they agree to the terms of the shipment.

It is important to note that an authorized representative of the carrier must sign the bill of lading in order for it to be valid.

What happens if the bill of lading is not signed?

If the carrier does not sign the bill of lading, it is not a valid document. This could cause delays in receiving your shipment or even result in losing your goods.

If you are unsure whether or not the bill of lading has been signed, you should contact the carrier and ask for confirmation.

Electronic bill of lading

An electronic bill of lading (eBL) is a bill of lading that is created and stored electronically. eBLs have many benefits over paper bill of ladings, including increased efficiency and accuracy, reduced costs, and improved security.

Accuracy is crucial

Regardless of using a traditional BoL or eBL, accuracy is key when filling out the bill of lading. Incorrect information could result in delays, confusion, and even loss of goods. It’s important to take the time to double-check all of the information on the bill of lading before signing it. This will help to ensure a smooth and successful shipment.

Who uses a bill of lading?

A bill of lading is used by the shipper, receiver, and carrier. The shipper uses the bill of lading to list the items being shipped, the quantity of each item, and the destination. The receiver uses the bill of lading to track the shipment and confirm that all items have been received. The carrier uses the bill of lading to transport the goods and track the shipment.

A bill of lading is an essential document in the shipping process, so it is important that all parties involved are familiar with its purpose and how to use it.

Who receives a bill of lading?

The bill of lading is most commonly used in international trade. When goods are shipped overseas, the bill of lading serves as a receipt for the shipper. It indicates that the carrier has received the goods and lists the type and quantity of goods being shipped.

Who issues a bill of lading?

The shipping company or carrier typically issues a bill of lading. In some cases, the freight forwarder may issue the bill of lading on behalf of the carrier. The bill of lading must list the name of the shipper, consignee (the party receiving the shipment), and notify party (if applicable).

How Many Types of Bill of Lading Are There – And When Is the Bill of Lading Required?

The Bill of Lading is a document that documents the transfer of goods from a ship to another. It’s given out after a cargo container – which comprises the items you’re shipping – has been loaded onto a vessel and travels abroad. There are various types of Bill of Ladings, depending on the goal, commodities, and necessity.

In some cases, the bill of lading may be used as a form of payment for the goods being shipped. If this is the case, it is known as a negotiable bill of lading.

If you’re shipping goods by multiple modes of transport, you’ll need to use a multimodal bill of lading. This type of bill lists all of the different stages of transport, from loading onto the initial mode of transport to unloading from the final mode of transport.

Whether you’re shipping by sea, air, or land, it is important to ensure that you have a bill of lading in order to avoid delays in delivery.

Different types of bills of lading

There are three common types of bill of lading: Straight, Order, and Negotiable.

straight bill of lading can only be issued to the consignee that is indicated on the bill.

An order bill of lading can be issued to either the consignee or the shipper, depending on who pays for the shipment.

negotiable bill of lading can be transferred from one party to another, making it more like a contract.

Each type of bill of lading has its advantages and disadvantages, so it’s essential to choose the right one for your needs. When shipping goods, ensure that you have a bill of lading to protect your interests.

Types of bill of lading

  • Blank endorsed bill of lading
  • Inland bill of lading
  • On board bill of lading
  • Master bill of lading
  • Multimodal or through bill of lading
  • Release bill of lading
  • Short Form Bill of Lading
  • Straight Bill of Lading
  • Switch bill of lading

What is the difference between a negotiable or non-negotiable bill of lading?

A bill of lading can be either negotiable or non-negotiable. A negotiable bill of lading can be transferred from one party to another, and the title to the goods is passed along with the bill of lading.

Negotiable bill of ladings provides clear instructions to deliver to any person who possesses the original copy of a bill stating ownership of the freight and control of the freight. In such types of bills, the buyer/receiver or the agent must obtain & present an original copy of a bill of sale. The cargo cannot be released if there is no documentation on this document.

non-negotiable bill of lading cannot be transferred, and the title to the goods remains with the shipper. A bill of lading is typically used when goods are being shipped by sea, but it can also be used for other modes of transportation.

A non-negotiable bill: This type of delivery invoice specifies the consignee and the recipient to send and deliver the merchandise for shipment. Nevertheless, this cannot actually give the owner ownership over the goods.


A bill of lading is an important document in the shipping process. It serves as a contract between the shipper and carrier and outlines the terms of the shipment. There are many types of bills of lading, but accuracy is key when issuing one. 

If you need assistance with your intermodal shipping needs from or to Canada, contact Railgateway for a rail quote. We’re here to help make your shipping process as smooth as possible.

Intermodal Cross Border Shipping US to Canada

Cross-border shipping between the United States and Canada is a vital part of the North American economy. Every day, millions of dollars worth of goods and materials flow across the border by land, air, and sea.

To ensure that this trade can move smoothly and efficiently, it is essential to have a well-developed system for intermodal cross-border shipping.

This article will discuss what intermodal cross-border shipping is, how it works, and some of its benefits. We’ll also look at some other methods available for shipping goods across the US-Canada border and compare them with intermodal shipping.

Looking to ship freight across the border? At RailGateway, we have years of experience shipping intermodal containers between the US and Canada. We’re familiar with all of the necessary paperwork and regulations, and we’ll work closely with you to ensure that your shipment is appropriately packaged and labeled.

We offer competitive shipping rates and convenient pick-up and delivery times, so you can rest assured that your shipment will arrive on time and within budget.

Request your rail freight quote today to learn more about our cross-border shipping services.

Shipping From the United States to Canada & Vice Versa: The Differences

A question that is frequently asked by businesses shipping goods between the United States and Canada is what is the best way to do so. There are a few different methods, but intermodal shipping is one of the most cost-effective and efficient ways to cross the border.

Since the enlargement of the US-Canadian trade system, international trade has expanded at an exponential rate. In 2019, US and Canada trades in goods totaled almost 714 billion.

Because the two countries have different laws and regulations, there are a few things to keep in mind when shipping from one country to the other.

For example, all shipments must be declared to Customs and Border Protection, and any items subject to import taxes or duties must be paid in full before the shipment can be released.

In addition, there are restrictions on what can be shipped across the border, so it’s essential to check with Customs or your intermodal rail partner beforehand to avoid any problems.

Shipping from Canada to the United States is generally a straightforward process, but it’s important to be aware of the differences to avoid any unnecessary delays or complications.

Shipping costs: What should you know about cross-border shipment taxes and tariffs?

When shipping freight from the United States to Canada, it’s important to be aware of the taxes and tariffs that may apply. These can vary depending on the type of goods being shipped and the value of the shipment.

Most shipments will be subject to a Goods and Services Tax (GST) of 5%. There may also be other duties or fees, such as an excise tax or excise duty. Check with your intermodal shipping company and customs department in advance.

For more information, visit the Canada Border Services Agency website and their Importing commercial goods into Canada guide.

By understanding the taxes and tariffs that apply to your shipment, you can help ensure a smooth and hassle-free shipping experience.

Canada Border Services Agency Required Documents

To avoid delays when shipping cross border, it’s important to include all of the necessary customs paperwork with your shipment.

For customs clearance you’ll need the following documents when exporting goods into Canada:

  • The manifest or the cargo control document, typically provided by your intermodal transportation provider
  • Certificate of origin
  • Bill of Lading (BOL)
  • A commercial invoice
  • Shipper’s export declaration form or packing slip
  • A Canada Customs invoice

Customs authorities may request further documentation depnding on the type of cargo being shipped.

At RailGateway, we offer complete customs broker services for your intermodal cross border freight shipment. Request a rail quote today to find out how we can help.

Certification of Origin

A Certificate of Origin (COO) may be required for shipments entering Canada. This document is used to prove that the goods being shipped originated from a particular country.

In the case of shipping from U.S to Canada, this can be obtained from your local chamber of commerce or industry association by presenting your commercial invoice.

Bill of Lading (BOL)

The Bill of Lading (also known as the BOL) is a document that serves as proof of ownership for your cross border shipment and contains details about the origin, destination, and contents of your cargo.

Commercial invoices

Are used to document the value of your goods, and are often required when shipping across the US-Canada border.

At RailGateway, we offer a variety of services to help make your cross-border shipping experience as hassle-free as possible. Request a rail quote today to learn more.

Other Canada Border Services Agency documents

Some cross-border goods may differ in nature. In those cases, a professional and reliable customs broker service is able to help. Get in touch to make sure you’ve got everything you need.

A tariff code is an item’s specific code compiled under the HS maintained by the World Customs Organisation. HS are standard numerical methods of classification of traded goods.

The software is used by the US Customs Service to track goods in tax assessments and in collecting statistics. The first six-digit code is identical to those of any country.

Prohibited and restricted items

When shipping goods from the United States to Canada, there are some items that are prohibited or restricted by Canadian customs.

These items include:

  • Firearms and ammunition
  • Explosives
  • Flammable liquids and solids
  • Certain chemicals
  • Narcotics and drugs

For a complete list of restricted and prohibited goods visit the Government of Canada’s Canadian Border Services Agency website.

Shipping Tips: What You Should Know Before Shipping Between Canada and the United States

There are a number of important factors to keep in mind when shipping freight across borders.

One of the most important is selecting a reputable intermodal shipping company that has experience with both cross-border shipments and your specific type of goods or service.

Choosing a company that is knowledgeable about customs regulations can also help to increase efficiency, reduce costs, and avoid delays at the border.

Another key consideration is packaging your items properly to ensure that they arrive safely and securely at their destination.

Finally, it is necessary to factor in any special requirements for either country, such as labeling guidelines, size restrictions, customs tariffs, or documentation requirements.

In short, when shipping between Canada and the US, it’s essential to choose a reliable carrier and prepare your freight carefully in order to enjoy a smooth and successful shipment.

FAQs

Do I have to pay duty on items shipped from Canada to the USA?

There may be duties and taxes associated with cross-border shipments, depending on the type of goods being shipped, their destination, and other factors.

How does cross-border shipping work?

Cross-border shipping involves transporting freight from one country to another, typically across an international border. This may be done by truck, rail, air, or sea.

What are the requirements for importing goods into Canada?

There are a number of requirements that must be met in order to ship goods across an international border. These may include obtaining the proper documentation, adhering to customs regulations, and ensuring that the freight is properly packaged.

What are the risks of cross-border shipping?

There are a number of risks associated when shipping across borders, including delays at customs, damage to the freight, and lost or stolen shipments.

What are the benefits of cross-border shipping?

Cross-border shipping can offer a number of benefits, including increased efficiency, reduced costs, and improved delivery times. It’s also a great way to connect businesses and consumers across international borders.

What is the cheapest shipping from Canada to the US?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the cost of shipping will vary depending on a number of factors, including the type of goods being shipped, their destination, and the shipping method used.

However, working with a reputable and experienced shipping company can help to ensure that you get the best possible rate for your cross-border freight shipment.


Freight shipping from the US to Canada can be a complex process, with many different regulations and requirements that need to be met.

However, by working with an experienced intermodal shipping company, you can ensure that your goods arrive safely and on time.

At RailGateway, we have over 40 years of experience handling cross border shipments, and we can help you navigate the shipping process from start to finish.

We offer a variety of services designed to streamline the shipping process and make it as easy as possible to get your goods across the border quickly and efficiently.

Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you with your intermodal shipping needs.