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Trucking to Canada

Written by Nick Webster

Published on Dec. 11, 2023, 5:22 p.m.


Here are some tips for trucking to Canada:

  • Become familiar with Canada's road rules and regulations.
  • Ensure you are current on the proper paperwork, including any additional documentation required for crossing the border.
  • Plan your route ahead of time, looking into weigh stations, rest areas, and tolls along the way.
  • Familiarize yourself with Canadian currency before entering Canada.
  • Understand that some commodities may require special permits or additional proof of identity when crossing the border.
  • Have updated maps on hand to help navigate unfamiliar roads and highways as needed. Also, visit the link.
  • Check weather forecasts in advance and plan accordingly; mountain passes may need more time than expected due to bad weather conditions.
  • Research potential delays at customs. Read here about Starting a Trucking Company Correctly.

Secure a CBSA Carrier Code

Your company must obtain a Carrier Code from the Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA) before transporting freight into Canada. This four-character unique identifier is used to identify you as a carrier, and it will be required for the PARS (Pre-arrival Review System). You must also have printed barcodes available that can be attached to each bill of ladings (BOLs). With these in place, you’ll be ready to move your cargo across the border. How To Request the DOT PIN Number?

The first step to applying for a carrier code is to decide whether you need a non-bonded or bonded code. If you are looking to transport in-bond goods beyond the initial point of arrival in Canada and between points within Canada, then you may require a bonded highway carrier code. Must visit FMCSA Hours of Service Suspended topics.

Enroll in Canada’s Free and Secure Trade (FAST) Program

Carriers can use Free and Secure Trade (FAST), a commercial clearance program that prioritizes safety, security,
and expedited customs and immigration processing when crossing the Canada-United States border. With FAST clearance, carriers can seamlessly pass through the border with less hassle. Also, visit the link.

In addition to a faster passage at the border, FAST also provides access to other benefits, such as advance electronic filing of information related to goods entering the U.S., continued security checks for carriers in both countries, joint inspections by authorities from both countries, and more. These advantages make it an attractive option for businesses looking to simplify their cross-border trade journeys. Importance of The FMCSA 30-Minute Break Rule.

Canadian Trucking Insurance & Registration Requirements

U.S.-based carriers looking to grow their business and increase load opportunities may consider obtaining a Canadian trucking authority. However, they may be unsure of what requirements must be met to comply with Canada's regulations.

Generally speaking, freight liability coverage must meet the minimum of $1,000,000 instead of FMCSA’s minimum of $750,000. Cargo coverage will depend on the Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW). Also, compliance and insurance requirements vary between provinces and territories. So, it is important for U.S. carriers to contact local authorities prior to entering the Canadian market. Must visit the link.

If your truck's Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) is up to 27,998 lbs, you must get a minimum of $15,000 cargo coverage. If your GVW is between 27,999 lbs and 46,296 lbs, the minimum amount increases to $20,000. For trucks with GVWs between 46,297 lbs and 81,570 lbs, the required amount of coverage goes up to $27000. If it exceeds 81 570 lbs, the minimum cargo insurance should be no less than $32,000. Visit the DOT Authority Package, Tips to prepare for 2022 DOT Week filings in minutes. How do you get an Oregon Trip And Fuel Permit?

What Does a US Driver Need To Cross into Canada?

To enter Canada, drivers must be in possession of a valid passport, Social Security Card, and a clean CDL. Those with FAST membership cards may also need to present them at the border. Most regulations governing hours of service, equipment weight, and length are uniform across both countries. Also, take a look at the Drug and Alcohol Program policy.

US-compliant equipment and loads should adhere to Canadian laws as well. In some cases, permits may be required for tractors pulling 53-ft trailers with long wheelbases. Be sure you have all the necessary documentation before crossing into Canada! What is DOT Clearinghouse Enforcement?

Who Must Serve as the Importer of Record?

When it comes to cross-border freight, and you are less experienced, allowing a customer on the other side of the border to be the importer of record is often the way to go. This practice is quite common and beneficial as their customs broker can manage tariffs upfront and send an invoice your way. It is also much simpler for someone at a destination to take on this role. What is Unified Carrier Registration?

What Is the Bill of Lading (BOL)?

Before you can fill out a Bill of Lading contract between the freight carrier and the shipper, it's essential to have a customs broker present. They will provide the driver and transporter with all the necessary information to process the shipment and create an accurate invoice effectively. This includes the shipper's contact details and data on what is being transported—such as size, weight, and description. Read about Texas DOT Numbers and USDOT Numbers. Learn here How to Prepare for a Compliance DOT Audit.

What Are Some Common Mistakes Related to Cross-border Canada Truckload Shipping?

It's easy to overlook certain details when shipping, but overlooking them can get your shipment stuck at the border and delay it, and incur extra fees. To avoid this, make sure you.

  • Establish a customs broker in good time - don’t wait until the last minute!
  • Check that all information on the commercial invoice and bill of lading are consistent.
  • Double-check that you're following all instructions your customs broker gives before dispatching anything. Take a look at the Driver Qualification Files.
  • Make sure you've got the necessary contact information for after-hours support.
  • Accurately estimate transit times so you know how long it'll take to arrive at its destination.

Summary: Tips for Moving Truckload Freight Across the Canada-U.S. Border

  • Obtain a license as an international carrier, or partner with one for the trip.
  • Ensure you have all of your documentation in order, including bills of lading, waybills, invoices, and other paperwork customs officials require. Visit the BOC-3 filing.
  • Ensure that the driver is familiar with any relevant regulations and laws.
  • Have at least two copies of insurance documents on board.
  • Schedule pickup times to avoid peak border crossing periods when possible.
  • Bring plenty of food, water, and other supplies for drivers in case of delays or traffic backups. Also, visit the link.
  • Allow extra time on each side to account for unexpected delays.
  • Notify customs ahead of time if anything changes regarding the contents.
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