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The Difference in Shipping Practices between Canada and the U.S.

There’s no doubt that Canada and the United States do things differently. Look at the response to COVID-19, for example, and you can see that the two countries have different philosophies on some things. When it comes to trade and the movement of goods, both countries recognize the importance. On average nearly $2 billion worth of goods and services flow back and forth each day. It’s critical to know how to maneuver those differences for international shipping companies in Canada.

What Are the Differences in Shipping Between Countries?

The various incarnations of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) have helped bring exponential growth to shipping across the Canada/U.S. border. However, American companies cannot group Canadian shipments into their domestic operations. The same is true for Canadian companies. Each country has its own set of rules and regulations that must be followed when importing or exporting goods and services.

For example, at the Canadian border, the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) service oversees the trade of goods. Their role includes keeping dangerous or illegal items from crossing into the United States. The CBP requires that all formal shipments entering the United States from the Canadian side have a variety of elements. These include the importer ID number, a bill of landing, a commercial invoice, and an electronic export information form. These are just a few of the forms required to track and identify shipments. Other forms may be required from other agencies depending on the type of shipment. For example, the Fish and Wildlife Service requires all companies to obtain an import/export license before the commercial importing of fish and wildlife.

When shipping from Canada to the U.S., a special import/export license might be required for regulated products. International freight companies must adhere to very strict regulations when hauling shipments as well. Even how goods are crated or boxed for travel must be considered. For example, any raw wood that isn’t heat treated, fumigated, or sufficiently processed and branded may not be in compliance with border regulations and could be sent back. International logistics companies have to stay on top of the ever-shifting rules and regulations passed by both governments to facilitate the transport of goods. During a global pandemic, these rules come under greater scrutiny. Not only are goods screened, but the drivers coming from areas of high COVID-19 infection rates may also require personal screening to be allowed into Canada.

NATS Canada is a 3PL provider that handles an equal split of loads going outbound from Canada and loads inbound from the U.S. Part of their service is ensuring all the travel partners in the supply chain are up to speed on rules and regs and are always carrying proper documentation to ensure smooth travel across the border. No company wants their shipment delayed at the border due to an administrative mix up. Trust NATS Canada to get the job done right.

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