• Cross-Border Freight Shipping FAQs

    08/04/2014 — Matt Nagel

    Shipping to and from Canada can be intimidating for even the most experienced shippers. The good news is that cross-border shipping isn't as hard as you may think it is. The better news is that PartnerShip, your shipping connection, is here to help you every step of the way! Below are some frequently asked questions that we've compiled for your reference when you're gearing up to ship freight cross-border.

    What is PARS?

    The vast majority of LTL freight and truckload shipments to Canada clear at the border under a process referred to as Pre-Arrival Review System (PARS). PARS allows review with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) in advance of the freight's arrival. The PARS process speeds customs clearance and alleviates congestion at the border.

    What is a PARS number?          

    The PARS number is the common reference when setting up PARS clearance. The PARS number for all shipments will be the tracking number proceeded by the carrier's four digit carrier code.

    Can my shipment be PARS accepted and still be bonded or inspected at the border?

    Yes. Even though the shipment information has been sent via PARS and accepted by CBSA, Canada customs agents have the right to inspect a shipment.

    What is PAPS?

    The Pre-Arrival Processing System (PAPS) is the United States equivalent of PARS. PAPS allows customs paperwork for individual shipments to be processed before southbound freight reaches the Canada/U.S. border - facilitating the freight's entry into the U.S.

    Where will my shipment cross the border?

    Different carriers use different Canada/U.S. Custom gateway locations. Where your specific shipment crosses will depend on its origin and destination. Generally, carriers will list their gateway locations on their website and PartnerShip will use the most direct route for your shipment to meet your delivery expectations.

    How long can I expect the transit time to be on cross-border shipments?

    While there are occasional delays at the border, mostly caused by volume of traffic, transit times are rarely affected due to border crossings. So, based on the mileage, you can generally expect similar transit times as you would in the U.S. (i.e., <500 miles = 1-2 days, >500 miles = 2-3 days, >1,000 miles = 3-4 days, etc.)

    What forms and documentation will I need for my cross-border shipment?

    Getting your shipment across the border requires a bit more paperwork than your standard domestic shipping. Luckily, PartnerShip has compiled a list of documents you'll need when shipping from the U.S. to Canada. Those forms can be accessed on PartnerShip.com by logging in and visiting PartnerShip.com/ShippingForms.

    What is ACI?

    Advance Commercial Information (ACI) is a project of the CBSA. ACI requires that all commercial cargo entering Canada be electronically registered with the Agency prior to arrival at the border. The project's aim is to improve Canada border security and efficiency.

    What is ACE?

    ACE is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program that gives CBP and other participating government agencies the ability to access data throughout the international supply chain to anticipate, identify, track and intercept high-risk shipments at borders and ports. With ACE, carriers are able to file electronic manifests in advance of freight arrival at the customs check point for faster entry into the commerce of the U.S.

    How much do I pay shipping cross-border?

    As with shipping in the U.S., your actual freight charges will depend on many different variables, such as: commodity, weight, fuel, etc.

    The importer of record is normally billed by his/her broker for duties and taxes. The customs broker determines duty (if applicable) along with the appropriate taxes and reports those taxes to Customs on the client's behalf.

    Where can I get help to work out the details when shipping between the United States and Canada?

    PartnerShip is your shipping connection for U.S. as well as cross-border U.S./Canada shipping. Simply request a free freight quote on PartnerShip.com (click the button below) and our shipping experts will fill in the blanks and get your shipment where it needs to go.

    Get a free quote!

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