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4 Tips for Streamlining Your Canada/U.S. Border Crossing

4 Tips for Streamlining Your Canada/U.S. Border Crossing | The Road

The $2 billion worth of goods and services that cross the Canada/U.S. border every day are a testament to the strength of the economic relationship between Canada and the United States.* And while both countries are strong, cooperative trading partners, shipments between the two countries are still international transactions and subject to government entry and admissibility regulations.

Carriers and drivers hauling across the Canada/U.S. border must be well prepared before even getting to the border. Here are four ways to achieve a smoother border-crossing experience:

1. Carry necessary documentation—ensure it is complete.
Paperwork at the border is extremely important. There’s necessary paperwork regarding the load, like the carrier manifest and shipper documentation, along with driver information like a valid passport and a record-in-good-standing with the customs authority to consider.

If you routinely cross the border, consider creating a checklist to review before you arrive at the border. Also, be sure to closely examine that the paperwork is complete, as insufficient documentation can cost you precious time while your paperwork is completed, resubmitted, and reviewed by customs.

2. Build a relationship with a customs broker.
While typically hired by the shipper, establishing a relationship with a customs broker can come in handy for carriers, too. Working with a knowledgeable customs broker allows you to save time by submitting paperwork before you even arrive at the border. Pre-submitted paperwork helps expedite the process and reduces delays.

3. Check your clearance status online.
Many large shippers and third party logistics providers (3PLs) offer websites to check a specific shipment’s clearance status ahead of time. Rather than a time-consuming phone call, your shipment documentation should have everything you need to check for a green light.

C.H. Robinson offers two specific sites depending on which direction you’re traveling. For shipments traveling from Canada to the U.S., drivers can visit www.chrobinson.com/paps. And for loads headed in the opposite direction, from the U.S. to Canada, visit www.chrobinson.com/pars.

4. Always plan ahead.
Whether you’re up against hours of service (HOS) or tight receiver requirements, you want to as efficient as possible in every aspect of moving cross-border shipments. Try to align closely with the shipper or 3PL to ensure there is plenty of lead time and expectations are clearly explained—on both sides. And remember that cross-border shipments can be subject to long delays.

What has your experience with cross-border shipments been like? Looking for more Canada/U.S. load opportunities? Become a C.H. Robinson contract carrier and get access to thousands of loads a day.

* U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Canada “Fact Sheet: United States-Canada Relationship” Accessed November 15, 2017.

This post was originally written by Greg Cross, updated by Ben Bidwell.

- Director of U.S. Customs

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