Intermodal Cross Border Shipping US to Canada

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Amylee Silva

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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 work with reputable cross-border shipping companies that have a well-developed system for border freight 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 depending on the type of cargo being shipped.

At RailGateway, we offer complete customs broker services for your intermodal cross-border freight shipping orders. 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.


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 American businesses and consumers with Canadian businesses.

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.

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