Understanding all the moving parts and the required documentation to ship across borders can sometimes become overwhelming. Leveraging our expertise within the industry, at LGI, we provide cross-border transportation services for our clients to relax and let us do the heavy lifting.
There are many aspects to consider when transporting goods across the border. This article will discuss the most critical steps to consider that will allow you to have a stress-free and seamless process.
Cross border transportation services
For this type of transportation, it’s vital to count on an experienced logistics partner that understands the industry and can help you figure out any issues along the way.
At LGI, we can take care of international freight transport services throughout the United States, Mexico, and Canada. We have a network of over 11,000 certified carriers with bilingual logisticians that can manage every detail of the process. We’ll ensure fast, safe, and secure transport of your cargo across borders with our team.
Steps to cross border transportation
There are many elements to consider when transporting freight across borders. Let’s discuss the basic steps you must take to ensure your shipment gets to its destination without issues or delays.
Identify the freight you’re shipping.
Correctly identifying the cargo, you’re going to ship is an essential part of the process. This means obtaining as much information as possible about your freight. The information you require may include detailed descriptions, samples, pictures, and other relevant data about your cargo. It’s vital to have this information since it will help you classify your goods appropriately, allowing you to determine the tariff classification properly.
Additionally, knowing the specifics of your goods will help you determine the category they fall under, which will then let you know what regulations you need to consider when transporting that specific type of freight.
Hire a customs broker.
Customs brokers will become your number one ally when it comes to shipping freight across the border. Even though you could take care of these tasks, it requires time and expertise to handle them correctly. Not having the documentation needed for shipping your goods will result in delays and additional fees.
Hiring a customs broker will take the burden off your shoulders, allowing a dedicated professional to help you streamline the cross-border shipping process by taking care of essential tasks (link to 4 things to consider for cross-border cargo shipment). It’s important to note that if you’re shipping to the U.S., you’ll need a U.S. customs broker, and if you’re shipping to Canada, you’ll need a Canadian customs broker, and so on.
Understand the duties and taxes.
Here’s where correctly identifying your goods comes in handy. For this step, you’ll need to know precisely what your freight is and the category it falls under. Some goods are not allowed to enter the country (U.S., Canada, or Mexico) (link to 4 things to consider…), or if they are, they may have certain restrictions. It’s essential to check out each country’s government website to know these restrictions.
Some examples of restricted categories for shipping to Canada are:
Minerals and metals.
With this in mind, you’ll be able to determine the tariff classification number or HS number (Harmonized System). This number and the country from which the freight originates are the two elements that will help you determine the cost of duties.
You can find the tariff or HS number in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule Search.
Understanding and knowing your duties can become complex since it is measured by a percentage that combines the HS code or tariff number, the actual cost of your shipment, and the trade agreements for each country. A customs broker is vital since experienced professionals understand how the system works and specialize in obtaining this information.
They will also know if your freight is eligible for free or reduced duty rates. This ultimately depends on the country of origin, such as the Caribbean, sub-Saharan African countries, or Israel, Chile, and others.
Additionally, it would be best to consider federal, state, and local taxes that your shipment may be subject to.
With all the documentation in place, the shipping process can start. Here’s where you place an order with your carrier and begin the transportation process.
Having an alliance and a strong work bond with your carrier is vital since they’ll be in charge of transporting your goods and keeping them safe until they arrive at their destination. You must find the right partner, a company with years of experience in this specific type of transportation, who’s reliable and who will help you feel safe.
Carriers will take care of the following tasks:
Communication with brokers.
Submitting paperwork to required entities.
Transport the freight.
Data entry and record keeping.
As discussed before, documentation is everything when it comes to cross-border transportation services. But it’s not only before and during the transportation process; it’s also after the cycle ends and the goods are delivered. You need to maintain records of your shipments, payments, and everything in between.
Having everything stored or in a digital presentation will come in handy if your company undergoes audits or if you require any information for transportation entities. Ensure all your documentation is stored for at least six to seven years after each one of your transportation processes.
Even though cross-border transportation services may sound complex, the key that unlocks the effectiveness of the process is hiring the right partners. At LGI, we understand the importance of being experts in the transportation industry to get the job done. With our years of experience, our vast carrier network, and our team of bilingual logisticians, we’ll be able to take your freight to its destination, whether it be U.S., Canada, or Mexico; we have the infrastructure and the capacity to do so.
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