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Freight Forwarders in Canada: What To Look For

With the right freight forwarders in Canada, you can arrange efficient, straightforward and secure shipping services. Whether you’re moving international freight, organ

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Canada Cross Border Freight
October 2, 2019
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With the right freight forwarders in Canada, you can arrange efficient, straightforward and secure shipping services. Whether you’re moving international freight, organizing domestic shipping or sending goods across the border from North America, a dedicated freight forwarding company will handle the entire transportation process

Freight forwarders in Canada are responsible for getting your goods from Point A to Point B, from province to province or across the border. Any goods sent to Canada from another country will need to be processed by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). Without assistance from experienced customs brokers and freight forwarders in Canada, this could delay your shipment. With dedicated services, you can make sure that crossing the Canadian border is simple and uncomplicated.

Assistance With Clearing Goods at the BorderAssistance With Clearing Goods at the Border

When you’re sending a shipment to Canada, arranging customs clearance and making sure your goods get across the border could be the trickiest part of the process. Like all countries, Canada has numerous rules and regulations regarding what can be imported. For exporters and importers, adhering to the relevant regulations and providing the appropriate documentation is extremely important. 

For example, you’ll need to ensure that your goods are properly classified, in accordance with the Canadian tariffs. In addition, you’ll need to calculate the tax and duty which may need to be paid when importing your shipment to Canada. Finally, you may want to apply for an exemption, if you believe you are entitled to one. Of course, this involves submitting additional paperwork and providing the relevant evidence to support your application. 

When you’re sending a shipment to Canada from anywhere else in North America or from overseas, you may need to include the following documentation:

  • Bill of Lading
  • Commercial invoice
  • Shipper’s export declaration (SED)
  • Canada customs invoice (CCI)
  • NAFTA Certificate of Origin

However, not all shipments require the same documentation. A CCI is only usually required if the value of the goods exceeds CDN $1,600, for example. Similarly, a NAFTA certificate of origin applies to goods made in North America (Canada, U.S. or Mexico). While goods made elsewhere may also require a certificate of origin, a NAFTA certificate can enable you to avoid paying duty on your shipment. 

Of course, some goods are subject to additional restrictions too. You’ll need to determine whether your proposed shipment requires any additional documentation or exemptions. With varying rules and regulations being applicable and subject to change, planning a shipment and ensuring you’ve submitted the correct documentation can be tricky.

No matter what type of freight services you use, getting your shipment across the border is critical. If you submit the wrong paperwork or you’ve completed your documentation incorrectly, your shipment will be held and/or seized. In addition to this, you could face various fines or charges if you have failed to submit the appropriate documents. 

Due to the potential complications at the border, it can be advantageous to use customs brokerage services and freight forwarder. With an in-depth understanding of what the cross-border checks involve, a dedicated customs broker can ensure you submit the correct documentation, with the relevant evidence, to the appropriate authorities. 

Indeed, when you’re looking for freight forwarders in Canada, you may want to choose a firm that offers in-house customs brokerage services. This can help to minimize the costs of moving freight across the border and can also ensure that your shipment isn’t subject to unnecessary delays.

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Product Classification

The Customs Tariff is used to categorize goods and manage importation and exportation around the world. When sending freight to Canada, you’ll need to classify the goods you’re shipping in accordance with the Tariff. Once you have correctly classified the goods, you will be able to identify the classification number.

The classification number is a 10-digit number, sometimes referred to as a HS code. Based on 

the World Customs Organization’s Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, this coding format ensures that goods can be properly regulated and safely transported. The codes are called HS codes.

However, there are strict guidelines when it comes to classifying goods and it isn’t always easy to determine which classification a shipment falls under. For example, computer equipment may have differing HS codes depending on whether it’s classified as portable equipment or not. Similarly, footwear may require the use of different HS codes depending on what materials are used to construct it. Leather shoes typically have a different code to rubber or plastic footwear, for example.  

Used to facilitate international trade, the classification system is strictly applied, and errors can result in delayed shipments, fines and sanctions. Due to this, most importers and exporters rely on the services of a customs broker. With experience of the system and knowledge of the latest modifications to the Customs Tariff, a customs broker can correctly classify your goods and ensure you don’t suffer delays or increased costs due to incorrect classification documents. 

Transparent Pricing

Before choosing freight forwarders in Canada, it’s important to assess their shipping rates and pricing structures. Whilst some freight companies offer seemingly low rates, these can swiftly be inflated when hidden charges are added to your final invoice.

When comparing transportation services and logistics solutions, transparent pricing is the key to a successful business partnership. Providing you can access up-to-date pricing information for a door to door shipping service, you can compile your accounts accurately and determine your own company’s costs. 

Fortunately, there are freight forwarders in Canada who offer transparent pricing and exemplary service. As well as providing information regarding the fastest shipping services, for example, you’ll want to know about more budget-friendly options too.

While air freight services may be ideal for express shipments, your freight forwarding company should be happy to tell you about alternative options too. When you don’t need to ship goods urgently, for example, ocean freight can be a cheaper way to transport your goods across the border. 

Selecting the right freight forwarders may seem tricky at first, but you’ll soon identify the companies who offer a genuine and transparent service. Liaise with shipping companies prior to booking freight services and be sure to find out exactly what their advertised pricing includes. 

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Managing Product StorageManaging Product Storage

Many people assume that freight forwarders in Canada only deal with the transportation and shipping of goods. However, there are a range of additional services that can simplify your shipping processes. In fact, if you find the right freight forwarding firm, they can manage your entire global supply chain. 

With warehousing and logistics services, for example, you can rely on your freight forwarder to manage your inventory and dispatch goods to your customers. Essentially streamlining the supply chain can greatly reduce your costs and facilitate swift dispatch and international shipping.

Of course, you’ll need to find a freight forwarding company that can store your goods appropriately. When you’re considering which freight forwarders in Canada can manage your warehousing and logistics, remember to consider the following:

  • Security
  • Warehouse locations
  • Use of warehouse management solutions (WMS)
  • Regulation of distribution centers
  • Order fulfillment
  • Reverse logistics
  • Packing and repacking
  • Inventory visibility
  • Access to real-time data
  • Product replenishment systems

Planning Warehouse Management with Freight Forwarders in Canada

All of these areas are key points to assess, as each can have a significant impact on the success of your shipping. Warehouses should be strategically located close to key distribution routes and shipping ports, for example. This minimizes the time and cost of transporting goods to a major dispatch point and ensures products reach their destination as quickly as possible.

Similarly, you’ll want to choose freight forwarders in Canada who use advanced warehouse management systems. With an integrated WMS, your goods can be monitored, accessed and inventoried in real-time. This facilitates the appropriate management of stock, increases picking accuracy and minimizes delays. 

Shipment Tracking

As well as being able to track your goods through the warehousing process, you’ll want to be able to monitor items as they’re being shipped too. Whether you’re moving tons of freight or shipping a small parcel to a customer, it’s vital you can track its movements in real-time. 

The easiest and most effective option when it comes to shipment tracking is to choose a firm that provides integrated warehouse and freight tracking. When both systems work in conjunction with one another, you can track goods seamlessly.

Furthermore, you’ll want to ensure your chosen freight forwarders in Canada offer access to real-time information. Any delay in the data you’re able to access means you aren’t getting the latest information. By insisting on access to real-time data, you can determine exactly where your goods are at any given time. 

As well as enhancing security, this enables you to provide a high level of customer service to your own customers. If a customer queries a shipment, for example, you’ll be able to access specific, up-to-date information regarding their order, without the need to defer to your freight forwarders directly. 

Consistent Communication

When freight forwarders are moving your goods or managing your supply chain, you’ll want to have a reliable and consistent line of communication with them. In addition to having a dedicated account manager or point of contact, having access to an electronic system can make tracking far simpler. 

With electronic data interchange (EDI), for example, you can follow your goods as they move through the shipping process. EDI provides real-time transaction information at various points throughout the logistics journey, such as:

  •     EDI 110 (Air Freight Details and Invoice)
  •     EDI 204 (Load Tender – inbound transaction from customers)
  •     EDI 210 (Motor Freight Details and Invoice)
  •     EDI 214 (Transportation Carrier Shipment Status)
  •     EDI 990 (Response to Load Tender)

However, standardized data may not provide all of the information you really need. When discussing your requirements with freight forwarders in Canada, be sure to ask whether they can customize your EDI, based on your specific requirements. This will give you the opportunity to state what type of information you want to receive and what format you want to receive it in. 

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With EDI in place, you effectively remain in constant contact with your freight forwarding firm. Having the option to track goods at any point means you can access the data you need, without delays or limitations.

Of course, having a reliable team to provide further information when it’s required is also beneficial. While digital interfaces have revolutionized the logistics and transport industry, maintaining contact with a dedicated account or shipping manager is also essential. 

Ability to Negotiate Low Freight Rates

When you’re shipping goods to Canada with a freight forwarder, you’ll want to access the best shipping rates possible. With reduced transportation costs, you can pass these savings on to your own customers and increase your profits too. 

Of course, not all freight forwarders offer the same rates, so it’s important to do your research before you choose your transport and logistics partners. Generally, the cost of freight will depend on various factors, including:

  • The height, weight and size of the shipment
  • The origin and destination of goods
  • Method of carriage
  • Specialist services required
  • Shipping times

Choosing a freight forwarding company that offers a range of transport services is one way to ensure low freight rates, for example. When you don’t need to ship goods via express services, slower shipping options can reduce your costs. You may find that ocean freight services are more budget-friendly than air charters, for example. 

Similarly, if goods require specialist services, such as temperature-controlled transportation or additional security, you may expect to see this reflected in the cost of freight services. 

However, the best freight forwarders in Canada will have the ability to negotiate when it comes to shipping rates. If you plan to import goods into Canada on a regular basis, for example, a freight forwarding company may be able to offer you reduced shipping rates. 

Before selecting a freight forwarding company, be sure to discuss their pricing structure in detail and ask whether or not they’re prepared to negotiate. If they say no, find a company that will!

Finding a Freight Forwarder to Handle U.S. to Canada ShipmentsFinding a Freight Forwarder to Handle U.S. to Canada shipments

Organizing freight services from the United States to Canada may not seem too complicated, but it can be trickier than you think. Whilst a freight forwarder isn’t, technically, required for shipments traveling to Canada from the U.S., using a freight forwarding company can save you time, money and stress. 

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) ensures good relations between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico when it comes to transporting goods. However, shipping goods from the U.S. to Canada is still considered to be an international shipment. Due to this, you will still need to complete the relevant paperwork and ensure your shipments meet the relevant standards at customs. 

This means you will still need to categorize your goods correctly according to the Customs Tariff, identify the relevant documentation to be sent with your shipments, complete the paperwork correctly and in full, as well as identifying the fastest way to submit this type of information to the relevant authorities. 

Of course, one shipment may contain a variety of different goods. If so, you’ll need to complete this paperwork for every different product classification and ensure that the relevant documentation accompanies the shipment throughout its journey. 

Due to the complexities involved with international freight shipping, most importers and exporters choose to use freight forwarders in Canada, even when shipments originate in the U.S. 

With expert knowledge, streamlined processes and exemplary standards, a freight forwarding company in Canada can ensure your U.S. shipments cross the border without delay and without unnecessary costs.

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Need Help Shipping to or From Canada?

If you plan on shipping goods to or from Canada, you’re going to require dedicated shipping services. By using a dedicated freight forward company to handle the transportation, you can also take advantage of customs brokerage services, advanced technological input, and enhanced safety and security. We offer services from many states and cities, including Michigan and in Detroit

At R+L Global Logistics, we’re committed to providing effective and efficient freight forwarding services across the world. With an array of freight services, we can provide swift transportation of goods to and from any location. Whether you require domestic shipping from one town to another, ocean freight services across the water or express shipping via a dedicated air charter, we can make it happen. 

From temperature-controlled transportation and movement of high-value goods to trade show logistics and warehousing, we’re on hand to provide the support you need. Our freight services incorporate various intermodal options, so we’ll always find the most efficient shipping route. As well as offering air charters, expedited shipping, and ocean freight services, we have a wide range of land-based options too.

Our freight forwarding services ensure we can move less than truckload (LTL) shipments and partial truckload shipments, as well as providing haulage vehicles for exclusive use. We’ll find the most suitable method of carriage for your shipment and ensure it arrives at its destination ahead of time. 

What’s more – our innovative electronic data interchange (EDI) system enables you to track your goods as they move through the transportation process. With continuous access to real-time data, you can customize your transaction updates and access the data you need, when you need it. 

To learn more freight forwarders in Canada or to arrange a freight shipping service now, contact R+L Global Logistics on 877-510-9133 now.

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