Many of the cross-border shipping hold-ups at the Canadian-U.S. border are easily avoidable.

Let me repeat that:

Many of the cross-border shipping hold-ups at the Canadian-U.S. border are easily avoidable.

And it all comes down to paperwork.

I have heard time and time again, people getting upset with the border agents for pulling their shipments in for inspection, or for lengthy processes that cause long lines to form for cargo-carrying trucks trying to get across the border.

I can assure you… This doesn’t happen to us at Way-Bri Express.

The reason is that we are meticulous – and I will stress, meticulous – about making sure we have the correct paperwork for every parcel or pallet that we carry across the border in either direction.

One thing that people don’t spend much time thinking about is that the border agents clearing shipments into the country have a job to do, and that’s to protect the nation they represent from harm – which includes economic harm.

That means, not only enforcing the rules, but consistently watching for abnormalities, to help them do so.

Shippers and carriers who follow the rules consistently are going to have a much easier time getting their parcels across the border.

It is, indeed, possible to earn a reputation at the border for being a “good” shipper or carrier.

That happens by understanding the process, and consistently ensuring that your paperwork is ready, complete and accurate.

New Shippers Can’t Know Everything

Of course, new shippers can’t know everything they need to know.

The great thing about the U.S. market for Canadians, or the Canadian market for U.S. shippers, is that they’re accessible and fruitful.

Learning how to ship across the border opens up a world of growth opportunity for companies willing to do their due diligence.

And it’s about as easy as it gets.

Think about the Buffalo Niagara cross-border region, where by expanding across the border, you can become an importer or exporter with clients that you can visit their plant, take them to lunch, and be home in time for dinner.

Honestly, why would you look elsewhere in the world to get started in international?

But… If you want things to go smoothly, you need to do your homework.

That means understanding the process, and building a team – either in-house or with partners – that know what they’re doing:

  • Who’s in charge of international within your company?
  • Who’s your carrier?
  • Who’s your customs broker, who will understand compliance with your products?
  • Who’s your main contact on the other end, to ensure that once your stuff gets into a warehouse, your supply chain processes and customer interaction are set in motion?

Interestingly enough, many companies don’t go through this process before starting to work across the border.

And guess what happens? Hold-ups. Delays. Frustration.

Unfortunately, many who try get so frustrated, that they just wave their hands at the idea, and end up missing out on enormous market expansion opportunities.

We say don’t let that happen. Let’s get your processes and your paperwork right, and let’s get it figured out.

CROSS-BORDER SHIPPING By the Book for the Best Results

Did you ever buy a piece of furniture from a department store, computer desk or what-not, that you have to assemble?

When you look at the instructions for any of these things, what’s the first step in every single one of them?

It’s to read the instructions all the way through before starting.

How many of us actually do that? Probably very few.

We’re guilty of it ourselves… Just dive right in.

And I think that any of us will admit that it’s a smart move to do, even if we don’t do it.

It’s amazing how many things in life we could save time on, and get things right, and even better, by learning about things before doing them:

  • Have you ever, two years into owning your car, unveiled a feature that you didn’t know existed, because you didn’t read the manual at the outset?
  • How many golf tournaments have you duffed your way through before thinking that a couple lessons to get better might create a better image and actually help your business?
  • There’s a great story from the ‘80s and ‘90s… Many people didn’t realize that in Microsoft Windows, you could hold down the Alt key and hit the Tab key to cycle through your open windows… Instructions to do so were literally on page three of the guide that came with the software.

Even if you’re the big thinker type, with admittedly zero attention to detail – it happens – someone in your organization is a process person, and grasps the importance of doing things by the book.

Put this person in charge of organizing your international process, and have them create the checklist – before you ship anything.

Then, surround yourself with knowledgeable people who can help (1) create your processes, (2) advise on border best practices, and (3) make them seamless.

Showing up to the border with your processes and paperwork fine-tuned and ready-to-go will save you time, money and frustration.

And like any other process out there… Once you do it once, you can then do it again and again and again to grow your business.

For more than 20 years, Way-Bri Express has been helping Canadian and U.S. companies optimize their import/export processes, and get their stuff reliably across the border. Want to talk (no strings attached) about your company’s cross-border frustrations? Set up a 15-minute Zoom call with us.


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