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Canada Shipping

Canada Shipping Frequently Asked Questions

International shipping can be confusing if you’re not familiar with the process and terminology. We’ve put together some frequently asked questions about shipping to Canada to help guide you through the process.

Canadian LTL Shipping Coverage Map

To ensure your shipment clears Canada customs in a timely manner, it is essential that all necessary documents are properly completed. Inaccurate or incomplete information may result in delays. Contact us if you have any questions about shipping to Canada.

Canada Shipping Terminology

  • Border Crossing: Port of entry at the border with customs offices where freight crosses to/from the US/Canada
  • Broker: A third party representing the importer and insures the importer meets all financial and legal obligations required by customs.
  • Customs: Government agency or procedure that collects taxes/duties (if applicable) on imported goods.
  • Documentation: Paperwork required to clear freight
  • Duties/Taxes: Sales tax on imported goods or duty per the Harmonized Tariff System
  • Exporter: One that sells to merchants in other countries
  • Importer: The receiver or consignee
  • PARS: Pre-arrival Review System – clearance process using unique bar coded labels

What is a customs broker?

  • A customs broker is hired to represent the importer (receiver/consignee) clearing goods through Canada customs. The broker will process and present the shipping documents to customs. In most cases, the Canadian consignee will be the importer, meaning they will choose and pay for the services of a customs broker.
  • Remember, the carrier (freight movement) and customs brokerage services are two completely separate transactions.
  • The carrier will bill for freight charges and the broker will bill for clearance services.
  • The customs broker can answer any additional questions you may have related to duty, taxes, permits, etc.

If my customer in Canada does not have a broker, do I need to hire one?

If the importer in Canada does not have a broker, you the shipper in the U.S. may consider becoming a Non-Resident Importer (NRI).
Some benefits to becoming an NRI are:
  • The U.S. shipper’s ability to quote a complete delivered price to the Canadian customer inclusive of the cost of goods, cost of transportation, cost of brokerage and related duties or tax.
  • A less complicated sales environment for your Canadian customer.
For assistance in locating a Canada customs broker, please contact the R+L Transborder Solutions Group.
*It is important to list the name of the broker on the customs documents to avoid delays.

Am I eligible for NAFTA?

As a result of the North American Free Trade Agreement, shipments destined to Canada may qualify duty free. Contact your customs broker for eligibility.

Who is responsible for duty and taxes?

The importer of record (purchaser of the goods, generally the consignee in Canada) is responsible for taxes or duty (if applicable). If the shipper in the U.S. is a Non-resident Importer (NRI) then the shipper is responsible.

Where does my freight cross the Canadian border?

The crossing between the U.S. and Canada is determined by the origin and destination of the freight.

US/Canada border crossings used by R+L Carriers:

R+L Service Center US Crossing CN Crossing Canadian Service Center
Tacoma Blaine, WA White Rock, BC Vancouver
Janesville Pembina, ND Emerson, MB Winnipeg
Detroit Detroit, MI Windsor, ON Windsor
Detroit Port Huron, MI Sarnia, ON Toronto (Hazmat Crossing)
Buffalo Buffalo, NY Ft. Erie, ON Toronto
Albany Champlain, NY Lacolle, QC Montreal
Manchester Calais, ME St. Stephen, NB Saint John
Chicago Port Huron, MI Sarnia, ON Toronto
Minneapolis Pembina, ND Emerson, MB Winnipeg
Sacramento Blaine, WA Pacific Highway, BC Vancouver
Sacramento Blaine, WA Pacific Highway, BC Tacoma

What is PARS?

PARS (Pre-Arrival Review System is a program that allows the importers and/or customs brokers to submit customs documents to Canada customs for review and processing prior to the arrival of goods in Canada. This process allows for a faster clearance through customs. If all required information is available, your shipment may be eligible for PARS.

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Schedule a pickup time and R+L will be there! Shipping freight is faster and easier online. As easy as click and ship!

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