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Shipping Vehicles To and From Canada

Exporting business goods from any destination doesn’t get much more complicated than when it comes to shipping vehicles to Canada. These are seriously heavy pieces of e

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Canada Cross Border Freight
October 2, 2019
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Exporting business goods from any destination doesn’t get much more complicated than when it comes to shipping vehicles to Canada. These are seriously heavy pieces of equipment, after all, and their movement often requires both specialist handling and varied legal compliance. Still, the successful exporting and importing of vehicles could see your business doing a booming trade, especially if you consider shipping to and from an upcoming auto country like Canada. 

Shipping vehicles to and from Canada involves some important details. First and foremost, both U.S. and Canadian vehicle shipping regulations need to be followed. The DOT and EPA are responsible for U.S. regulations, while Transport Canada includes most Canadian regulations under the Motor Vehicle Safety Act. Additionally, other factors including choosing the right shipping services, cost of shipping vehicles, and insurance considerations need to be taken into account. 

The guide below will provide you with the details you need to successfully ship vehicles to and from Canada. 

Regulations for Shipping VehiclesRegulations for Shipping Vehicles

As we touched upon in the introduction, international car shipments often come with a hefty amount of regulations. If you’re to stand any chance at transporting cars on a large scale, getting your head around these is vital to ensure success and keep things legal. One thing’s sure, getting caught in breach of said regulations will lead to lost profits in both legal fines and a damaged reputation. Neither of these is ideal, and you can do away with them by merely researching ahead of time. 

Admittedly, regulations like these don’t come in a one-size-fits-all solution. Instead, you should note that each country has varying regulatory standards, and you’ll need to understand each before getting started.

Canadian Regulations

Given that Canada forms the backbone of your efforts here, it makes sense to consider Canadian regulations first. As of September 1st, 1971, the Motor Vehicle Safety Act (MVSA) has regulated the manufacture and importation of vehicles into Canada. Restrictions are in place regarding modification and specific car models from overseas. If you’re in any doubt about whether your models are in keeping with regulations, always check the vehicle import compatibility list to be certain. It’s better to do this ahead of time than risk confiscation and lost profits on arrival. 

As a large-scale vehicle importer, you will be required to adhere to either the Appendix F or Appendix G preclearance programs. Appendix F applies to those who intend to import over 2,500 vehicles a year, while appendix G still applies to you if you commercially intend to import less than 2,500 cars. While these regulations can seem complicated at first, they’re broadly in place to make your import processes more efficient while ensuring vehicles always meet regulations. 

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U.S. Regulations

In the case of shipping vehicles out of Canada into the U.S., you'll need to consider a whole new set of regulations and rules, each equally important to your standing as a reputable business. First, you’ll have to complete EPA form 3520-1 and DOT form HS-7 for each vehicle.

Then you’ll need to keep in mind the following regulatory acts during the import process: 

  • Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1966 that dictates safety standards for imported vehicles
  • Imported Vehicle Safety Compliance Act of 1988, a revised version of the above
  • Motor Vehicle Information and Cost Savings Act of 1972 (effective in 1978) for bumper standards
  • Clean Air Act of 1968, as amended in 1977, and 1990 for air pollution control standards

Duty rates on importing foreign-made cars into the U.S. currently stand at around 2.5% unless your company is somehow eligible for exemption.

Shipping with the assistance of a CBP broker is often the best way to undertake large-scale car imports. They’ll be able to advise you and oversee all processes. Note that you’ll also need to make sure your shipment company or seller clears the undersides of all cars to remove foreign soil before shipment. Failure to take this step could lead to confiscation despite your efforts to adhere to all other regulations. 

Regulations for Shipping to Other Countries from Canada

As you can probably guess, shipping a car to any country is guaranteed to come up against similarly stringent regulations. Every country in the world has different standards regarding foreign car manufacturing, general safety regulations, and even environmental impact.

A car that meets U.S. clean air regulations, for instance, might be fit for importation into Canada itself. Equally, a vehicle that is built within Canada will possibly not be considered suitable for use on roads elsewhere. Acknowledging these differences is vital for anyone considering importing or exporting a great number of vehicles. These rules are especially crucial for an auto company that intends to sell vehicles around the globe.   

Admittedly, getting to the bottom of and understanding regulations unique to each country can be tricky and time-consuming, especially if you intend to export to various locations. That’s where an experienced shipping and logistics company can come in handy. A well-established car shipping company will have extensive knowledge of regulations within countries across the world. They'll be able to direct you to reliable knowledge you don’t need to work for. That makes sure you’re always on the right side of the law, giving you peace of mind while still saving you a great deal of time. 

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Shipping Non-Regulated Vehicles to CanadaShipping Non-Regulated Vehicles to Canada

You may assume that the shipping of non-regulated vehicles into Canada would be more complicated, but that’s not always the case. That’s because non-regulated cars are exempt from the Motor Vehicle Safety Act we discussed above.

This non-regulation standard is typically decided based on things like the age of any given vehicle and even its design characteristics. If you’re in the business of shipping vehicles for second-hand sales, etc., you may find that this exemption applies to you. In case you aren’t sure, we’re going to consider a few examples of what Canadian law considers to be a ‘non-regulated’ vehicle:

  • Vehicles that are 15+ years old according to their manufacturing dates
  • Vehicles designed solely for off-road use
  • Competition vehicles for closed-course driving

Despite the ease that non-regulated benefits can bring, it’s still worth noting that vehicles must meet Canada Border Services Agency entry requirements, which include:

  1. Verification of non-regulated vehicle status
  2. Adequate ownership documents
  3. Total removal of contaminants (soil etc.)
  4. Taxes and duties paid where applicable

It’s also worth bearing in mind that easier large-scale exportation on vehicles like these does not guarantee that these cars will be suitable per the licensing authority. If you intend to sell vehicles within Canada, then it’s worth double-checking your cars will be road safe once they arrive. The good news from this perspective is that individual car parts are also considered as non-regulation as long as they don’t form a complete vehicle and are approved by Transport Canada. If you have a contact based in Canada, then it may still be possible to ensure cars are roadworthy. Even better, this would guarantee that repairs are carried out by someone with extensive knowledge of Canadian road requirements. 

Ultimately, the decision over whether to ship non-regulated vehicles to Canada depends on your intentions and budget. In some cases, it can be easier, though the process isn’t always as simple as it might seem from the outside.

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Finding a Company to Ship Vehicles To and From Canada

Even if you’re struggling to get your head around the regulations regarding shipping vehicles to and from Canada, a top-quality shipping or car transport company can bring ease to this process. Trustworthy shipping car transport services are always vital to a large-scale operation of this nature. Such companies can move cars across the country and beyond using safe methods such as car carriers and expert handling.

Aside from that, experience in international shipping means that you can enjoy a breadth of knowledge regarding regulations across the world. While you will still need to research vehicle-specific regulations, your chosen shipment company may be able to provide first-hand insights into circumstances they’ve encountered previously. A shipping company’s relationship with border control agents across the world could also help you to glean insights that might not be possible otherwise. 

But how exactly do you go about finding the best shipping company for your needs? As touched upon above, experience is always valuable here, especially with something as specialized as cars. As such, you should make sure that a company has plenty of years trading behind them and satisfied customer testimonials to boot. Given that cars require specialty handling when moving internationally, it’s essential to consider this, too.

And, of course, shipping price matters. This process won’t be worth your while if you’re paying over the odds to move vehicles in the first place. Make sure that you’re getting a good deal which still leaves you with plenty of profit in the bank. 

Insurance Considerationsinsurance considerations

It’s also vital to note that there are some insurance considerations to bear in mind during processes like these. First and most importantly, you need to think about insuring your vehicles while they’re on the road. Shipping vehicles equates to moving some pretty high-value goods after all, especially when you’re moving many at a time. Theft or damage along the way would, therefore, be catastrophic. And let’s face it; it’s entirely possible. Even with the best shipment company in the world, things can go wrong.

The good news is that top-quality shipment companies understand this. That’s why most will offer you insurance as an add-on with your overall package, with higher levels of coverage typically offered for high-quality items like these. This saves you from having to consider long-winded processes or go out of your way for yet another consideration. 

Sadly, your insurance coverage needs don’t stop there. Getting this right is also about considering your coverage on the road once you arrive. If you’re importing vehicles into Canada, for instance, you need to bear in mind that all cars must be insured the moment they get on the road by law. If you intend to drive, test drive or otherwise transport your vehicles once they arrive, then, you must consider this and plan accordingly. 

The same rules apply when shipping to some other select countries, so again, research ahead of time is vital here. Note that insurance standards don’t always come up when you search for general regulations. Instead, you should make a specific effort to request information regarding particular insurance standards within each country you ship to. 

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Choosing a Shipping Service

Once you have some idea of the shipping company you intend to use, consider the specific shipping service that would most suit your needs. Typically with international importing and exporting, decisions here begin with whether you want to operate by air, sea, or road. Given the weight range involved with multiple car transportation, planes are pretty much off the cards for this purpose unless you intend to spend a great deal on shipping. So, that leaves you with a choice between boat or truck. Your decision will typically come down to costs and timing needs. 

Whichever you decide, your next big choice is between open or closed transport options. As it sounds, these literally refer to shipments that are fully enclosed or...well, those that aren’t. Both have their benefits when it comes to shipping vehicles, and you should think long and hard about the option that most suits you. To help you decide, consider critical factors such as:

  • Shipping conditions. Open transport is exposed to the elements so it might not be best in adverse weather conditions, while closed transport can lead to damage in sweltering weather.
  • Security. Closed transport provides 24/7 security for the vehicles being transported, while open transport exposes vehicles to possible tampering and damage from people. If security is a top priority, closed transport will be your best option. 
  • Price. Consider how the two compare. Open transport tends to be cheaper upfront, though damage from exposure would obviously make closed transport a less expensive alternative. 

Controlling Costs When ShippingControlling costs when shipping

Shipping vehicles can get costly if you aren’t careful. These are heavy pieces of equipment and, as we’ve touched on, they often need special equipment and handling. Typically, a vehicle transportation company will quote you based on mileage. That means long-distance transportation similar to what you’re planning can cost even more in the long-run. Differences can, in fact, be so extreme here that costs shoot from $500 to $1500. 

Lucky for you, there are ways to control costs when you start shipping. That’s good news indeed considering that you still want to enjoy a profit from your efforts. Even better, most of these are relatively simple concepts that make life easier for you and your shipping company of choice. 

For one, frequent shipments and bulk discounts are always worth your time. Remember that shipping companies value loyal customers as much as you do. As such, they’re likely able to provide discounts if you’re giving them a lot of business regularly. 

Setting clear drop-off points can also cut costs here, as it means less work for your shipping company once they arrive at their destination. Terminal-to-terminal car shipping is best and involves your dropping the car off and picking it up from an agreed mutual destination. Door-to-door transportation can also be useful, though it may be a little pricier than terminal options. 

Delivery time also plays a significant part in the bill you’ll face at the end of this process. For obvious reasons, a rushed shipment process is going to cost you more as it requires a concentrated work effort in a shorter period. By comparison, planning your shipments well in advance can see you cutting those emergency costs from your budget.

Auto Transport To and From Canada with R+L Global Logistics

R+L Global Logistics has extensive experience in a wide range of shipping and transport needs, including international and high-value shipments. That’s why we are the ideal option for your vehicle shipping requirements in and out of Canada. We also ship medical devices and handle other Canada cross border services. 

We have a reputation for providing the highest quality of support to a wide range of specialty industries, and vehicles are no exception to that rule. Our international shipping services have you moving cars across the world without needing to worry in cities and states like Maine and Jackman

That’s because our professional logistics staff go above and beyond to provide safe and timely services at affordable prices, all while guaranteeing customer service you can trust. Not only that, but we promise to work with you to develop the best shipping, logistics, and supply chain solutions possible. 

If that sounds like a service you need when shipping vehicles to and from Canada, then don’t hesitate to contact us for auto transport quotes. Fill out the form below or give us a call at 855-915-0573 to get started.

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