Shipping to and from Canada: What to expect at the border

Many first time shippers are a little overwhelmed when they have to deal with customs and clearance for the first time. It is a good idea to employ a customs broker right away and they can help alleviate some of the stress of shipping. It really doesn’t have to be a source of stress and hopefully we can help make the process smoother for you as well.
The first thing is to find out the value of your shipment if you aren’t already aware of that. When importing or exporting there is a process for Low Value shipping that you can follow. If your shipment is worth less than $2500 CAD you will qualify to go this route and not require a broker.
With this, all you need is an invoice with all the pertinent information on it in regards to your load. This includes information on where your items originated from, any serial numbers and a value associated with your full shipment. You will also need a copy of the BOL (bill of lading) for the carrier to produce at customs. If your load is more than $2500 CAD then you will have to clear it with a customs broker. They do not have to be pricey and there are several good brokers you can choose from starting as low as $30 USD. They will help you gather all the paperwork necessary to clear your load at the border.
  • Canada/US Customs Invoice, or a Commercial Invoice also called a PROFORMA
  • BOL (Bill of Lading)
  • Certificate of origin 
  • Shipper

Avoiding Extra Charges for Specialty Freight

When it comes to shipping, few products have seen more changes than beer, wine, tobacco and alcohol. Regulations are often changing, along with shipping rates…so how do winemakers and beer brewers keep up with the ever-changing market? These constant changes make the process of getting products into the hands of customers that much more complex.
Traditionally, wineries, breweries and distributors would start their research into shipping by getting quotes for Full Truckload (FTL) and Less Than truckload (LTL) shipments from carriers which can take several hours or days on hold, not to mention, and not guaranteeing great rates as a direct customer. Luckily, however, today


The Ever Evolving World of Freight Brokerage

They say the only thing constant is change and technology in the lead! There are several emerging technologies that may frighten brokers; however, if we change our perspective, we can use these new technologies to our advantage! 
Drones are a concept that is being investigated for moving packages and have been tested in some instances; however, currently they are predominately used commercially for real estate and photography (Hollingsead, 2017). Companies are working towards using them to deliver to remote locations that cannot be reached by vehicle (Hollingsead, 2017). 
Although drones will not be capable to deliver around the world, they can be used to deliver local and the final mile (Hollingsead, 2017). I understand many 3PLs do not work with the final mile; however, maybe they should if drones begin to make an appearance!
Transportation management systems are another transforming technology and they are a broker’s best friend due to them being hassle free, efficient, and producing important process documentation (Hollingsead, 2017). The more advanced TMS allow carriers to self invoice, self update brokers about arrivals, departures as well as status updates along the way in real time! Go123 Logistics offers clients a personalized portal and QUICK QUOTING system that enables customers to save, manage and even book their own shipments. This tool is not only a time saver, but a technological advancement for small companies looking to get a handle on today’s shipping market. 
“Establish electronic relationships that lock you into your customers and carriers. The more you automate, the easier it will be to ensure a better future!” (Hollingsead, 2017). Shipping does not need to be so scary, and using tools like TMS can propel any company, small or large into the confidence level above and beyond waiting on a broker to send them a quote.  Our TMS allows the customer freedom to have access to immediate rates, instant booking and bill of ladings.  
Ready to try out TMS for your company? Contact me now to learn more. 
Hollingsead, B. (2017). Opinion: Emerging evolution of freight brokerage. Transport Topics (November 3, 2017). Retrieved from

What is Considered LIMITED ACCESS?

In the world of LTL freight shipping, a term Limited Access is applied when the carrier views either a pick up location or a delivery location to be just that – Limited Access. When carrier makes a pickup or delivery at a location with limited access, there is usually, but not limited to an extra charge of $100.
Best practice is to always disclose the location to your Logistics Team beforehand to avoid extra variance fees.

Limited Access Locations include but are not limited to the following:

  • Construction sites
  • Mines, Quarries, Natural Gas or Oil
  • Fields (the site of any pit, excavation shaft, shaft or deposit at which coal, ore or minerals is, has been or will be extracted. Such site or

LTL ETA’s – Nothing is Guaranteed Unless You Pay

LTL shipments are the fastest and most economical way to move a shipment larger than a parcel, but smaller than a truckload consisting of as little as 1 pallet, crate or bundle and as many as 10 standard pallets (L48″ x W40″ x H48″).  The time in which it takes an LTL shipment to make its destination seems to be one of the biggest questions and misunderstood expectations with our customers. So let’s lay it out for you.

  • Your LTL shipment is picked up by the carrier in a city truck, provided it is properly prepared for shipping
  • It is then taken to the origin terminal where it is checked through dimensional scanners for size, weight, density and class
  • The shipment is then loaded onto a Linehaul trailer. A Linehaul trailer is a full semi-trailer. 
  • There, your shipment sits in that trailer with other shipments waiting for that Linehaul trailer to fill. 
  • Once that Linehaul trailer is full, it hits the road. 
  • Depending on the destination, there could be several terminal stops along the way, where shipments, along with yours are unloaded and new shipments are loaded at each terminal stop. This is where delays may occur. If the Linehaul trailer does not fill, then that trailer will sit an extra day until it is full and ready to make the next terminal. 
  • Ultimately, the Linehaul truck arrives at the destination terminal where your shipment is unloaded and then loaded on city trucks once again to be delivered to your destination. 


*CROSS COUNTRY – 7-10 DAYS, and everything in between

What other Factors can Cause Delays?

Weather, traffic, terminal back-ups, breakdowns, holidays and human error can all delay your shipment. If you are going cross country on long distances, the LTL carrier can chose to put your shipment on rail. 

Got a Time Sensitive Delivery?

If your shipment must meet a deadline, then there are guaranteed, express options and you can even overnight by air. These accessorial charges can be arranged with us. 
Though we have focused on what could delay your shipment, it is only in an effort to under-promise and over-deliver. Most LTL carriers, some better than others, are consistent with their estimated time of arrivals, but nothing is guaranteed unless you pay. 
Please contact us to move your next LTL shipment – Go123 Land, Air, Sea, your full service logistics experts!

NMFC Codes

The National Motor Freight Classification


How to Class LTL Freight

For Example: Freight class: concrete furnishings, benches, balusters, ashtrays, tables, etc.
After much research and some trial and error, we have landed on the following info for the LTL freight class of concrete furnishings. This includes things like concrete balusters, concrete tables, concrete bases, and similar products usually are classed at class 60, and use an NMFC# of 78820. Sometimes these are referred to as concrete furbishing as well. It is made up of pre-cast concrete items.  Here


LTL 101 – Less than Truckload

LTL is the transportation of relatively small freight, but larger than regular parcel mail like what would normally ship via FedEx Ground, or UPS or U.S. Mail parcel services (about 150 pounds) to just under what would usually be considered a Truck Load at about 20,000 pounds or more than 14 pallets. LTL common carriers are also more likely to accept loose (non-palletized) cargo than the other cargos. LTL shipments typically weigh between 151 and 20,000 lb (68 and 9,072 kg).

While routes tend to be more casual, the main advantage to using an LTL carrier is that a shipment may be transported for a fraction of the cost of hiring an entire truck and trailer for an exclusive shipment. Also, a number of accessory services are available from LTL carriers, which are not typically offered by FTL carriers. These optional services include liftgate service at pickup or delivery, residential (also known as “non-commercial”) service at pickup or delivery, inside delivery, notification prior to delivery, freeze protection, and others.


LTL Partners

Central to the idea of moving freight with confidence, we are teaming up with initiatives and organizations that are strengthening our global entrepreneurial infrastructure. Check out some of our LTL partners leading the charge with innovation, efficiency and technology.