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

SCAC Codes

Whether shipping internationally via ocean vessels or domestically OTR (Over-the-Road), each carrier uses a Standard Carrier Alpha Code, which is a 2 to 4 letter code to identify freight carriers in TMSs, common computer systems and BOLs (Bill of Ladings). These codes are also now used by EDIFACT, of the United Nations.
The main purpose is to end the codes in either a “U” for Containers, an “X” for privately owned rail cars and a “Z” for chassis commonly used in drayage for intermodal purposes. CBP (Customs Border Patrol) also uses the codes for electronic clearance of documents 24 hours prior to a vessel’s departure from the port of loading. 
These codes were developed by the National Motor Freight Traffic Association back in the 1960s to begin the automation of data and records in the transport industry. 
Below is a complete list of SCAC:
Carrier(s) SCAC code
Atlantic Container Line ACLU
Alianca ANRM
Alaska Marine Lines AKMR
Australia National Line ANNU
American President Lines APLU
Arkas Container Transport S.A. ARKU
Atlantic Ro-Ro Carriers Inc AROF
Bahri / National Shipping Company of Saudi Arabia NSAU
Bermuda Container Line BCLU
Central Gulf Lines, Inc CEGL
Compagnia Chilena de Navigacion Interoceanica SA CNIU
Chinese-Polish Joint Stock Shipping Company CPJQ
Compagnie Maritime CMDU
Cheng Lie Navigation Co.,Ltd 11DX
COSCO Container Lines COSU
Compania Sud Americana de Vapores CHIW
China Shipping Container Lines Co CHNJ
Delmas DAAE
Dole Ocean Cargo Express DOLQ
Ecuadorian Line EQLI
Emirates Shipping Line ESPU
Eukor EUKO
Evergreen Line EGLV
Far Eastern Shipping Company FESO
Galborg GFAL
Grieg Star Shipping ACSU
Grimaldi GRIU
Gold Star Line Ltd. GSLU
Great White Fleet UBCU
Great Eastern Shipping Inc. GESC
Hamburg Sud SUDU
Hapag Lloyd Container Line/A> HLCU
Hyundai Merchant Marine Co., Ltd. HDMU
Hoegh Autoliners HUAU
Horizon Lines HRZU
Hyde Shipping HYDU
Independent Container Line IILU
Industrial Maritime Carriers (Intermarine) IDMC
Interocean Lines INOC
Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Ltd. KKLU
King Ocean Sercies KOSL
Korea Marine Transport Co., Ltd. KMTU
Companhia Libra de Navegacao CLIB
Liberty Global Logistics, LLC LGLT
Linea Messina LMCU
Maersk Line MAEU
Marfret Compagnie Maritime MFTU
Maruba MRUB
Matson MATS
MCC Transport Pte. Ltd. MCCQ
Malaysia International Shipping Corporation Berhad MISC
Mediterranean Shipping Company MSCU
Nile Dutch Africa Line NIDU
Neptune Shipping Line NOSU
Nordana Line NODA
Ocean Network Express (ONE Line) ONEY
Orient Overseas Container Line Ltd. OOLU
Pasha Hawaii Transport Lines PSHI
Pacific International Lines PCIU
Polynesia Line PLLU
Rickmers Linie RCKI
Safmarine SAFM
Sallaum Lines SLAQ
Samskip, Inc. SKII
The Shipping Coporation of India Ltd. SCIU
Seaboard Marine SMLU
SeaFreight Line SEFN
Seago Line SEJJ
Siem Car Carriers AS SCYE
Sinokor Merchant Marine Co.,Ltd SKLU
Swire Shipping CHVW
Thorco Shipping THZS
TOHO Shipping Co., Ltd TOHO
TOTE Maritime TOTE
Turkon Line Inc TRKU
Universal Africa Lines UALC
West European Container Lines WECU
Westwood Shipping Lines WWSU
Wan Hai Lines 22AA
World Logistics Service (USA) Inc WDLS
Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics WLWH
Yang Ming Line YMLU
ZIM Integrated Shipping Services Ltd ZIMU
Bulk FR8 (Liquid Bulk) BKFB
Central Freight Lines CENF
Carolina Transportation Inc CNPC
Celadon CDNK
Chermak Cartage, LLC CHKA
CJR Trucking, Inc. CJRF
Cheeseman Transport CJRQ
China Ocean Shipping Lines COSU
Country Transport COTO
Ease Logistics ELOI
Cowan systems, LLC CWAS
DBO Bahnoperator DBGB
Diamond Logistics DMLI
Evergreen EGLV
Expeditors International Ocean EXPD
FedEx Custom Critical FDCC
FedEx Express (AIR) FDE
Fortune Transportation FTNA
FedEx Freight FXFE
FedEx LTL Freight East FXFE
FedEx LTL Freight West (formerly VIKN – Viking) FXFW
FedEx Freight National (formerly Watkins) FXNL
G & P Trucking, Inc. GPTC
J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc. HJBT
Knight Transportation KNIG
Logistic Dynamics, Inc. LDYN
LDI Trucking, Inc. LDYQ
Maersk Line MAEU
MCC Transport Singapore Pte Ltd. MCPU
Mediterranean Shipping Company S.A. MSCU
Marten Transport LTD. MTEN
North American Van Lines, Inc. NAVI
National Xpress Logistics NXPL
Orient Overseas Container Line OOLU
Precision Logistics Group PLGQ
Panalpina (Pantainer Express Line) PNEP
Prime Inc. PRIJ
Prime Logistics & Intermodal PRML
A. Duie Pyle PYLE
R and L Carriers GMLS
Radiant Global Logistics RGLN
Rowl Trucking ROWL
Rail Delivery Services, Inc. RDSS
Safmarine SAFM
Schneider National SCNN
Schneider National SNCY
Schneider National SNLU
Hamburg S


International Moves

Moving Overseas is a tad more daunting than moving across country. Keep in mind all your inventory will need to be manifested upon loading, whether you DIY or hire a professional packing company.  Before you begin, read our Guide to Packing for your International Move:
If you’ve moved overseas before then you’ve probably asked yourself, “How should I pack my household items?” It may seem trivial, but it’s a major component of any relocation if you’re packing yourself, especially if all your belongings will be at sea for several weeks.
A list of household goods packing tips could be a long checklist of criteria one might have to go over when considering moving personal goods overseas. Remember things like candles & houseplants are not allowed. Due to customs tariffs at each port, this list will need to be detailed and manifested upon loading. 
It goes without saying that improper packing is one of the major concerns when it comes to breakages and damage, so pack your goods with care. Based on our experience as international shipping logistics specialists, we’ve created a comprehensive list of tips for packing household goods to help with any move, no matter where your destination.

How to Pack Household Goods Safely for Your Move Overseas – Keeping an inventory in Mind for your Manifest

Following are some of the basic materials one should consider to use for household packing:

  • Always use strong boxes to pack fragile items
  • Make sure the bottom of the box has additional tape to prevent opening when lifted
  • Wrap all fragile items individually in bubble wrap or packing paper
  • Corrugated boxes that can be closed shut are highly recommended to secure your belongings
  • Plan on using lots of strong packaging tape, labels and markers to clearly identify the content being places in various boxes – this helps with your Manifest and at unloading
  • Try and use blank newspapers, plastics or bubble wraps to fill the empty spaces in the cartons

Following are some pointers to pack some of the commonly found household items:
Electronics – Remember to label outside of boxes well for your Manifest

  • Remember to unplug all electronics
  • Refrigerators should be unplugged 24 hrs prior to loading as they need to drain of excess water and ice
  • Remove the inner table in a microwave oven so it does not move inside and break the glass door
  • Check the device manuals for all appliances for any special instructions and place all manuals in a folder for Customs
  • Double pack electronics with glass screens safely to ensure they do not break

Kitchenware – Remember to label outside of boxes well for your Manifest

  • Fragile crystals, bone china and ceramic kitchenware needs to be packed in bubble wrap
  • Glass containers and sharp cutlery should be wrapped with extra packaging
  • Place paper between all plates/bowls/cups and dinnerware to prevent chipping and breaking
  • Wrap cutlery and utensils together in tight bundles and bubble wrap before putting in boxes
  • Wine glasses/ vases / crystal pieces etc, should all be double wrapped in paper and bubble wrap

Small Furniture Products

  • Ensure the edges are fully covered to prevent chipping
  • Remember to protect the surfaces with a bed sheet to prevent scratches
  • This furniture will probably be double stacked in the truck and container so all surfaces must be well protected

Other Items

  • Vehicle(s) will need to be carefully loaded, drained & disconnected and properly strapped with heavy duty straps
  • Books can be packed in corrugated boxes – don’t over pack large boxes as books are heavy. Pack in multiple small boxes
  • International sized bags could be used to pack clothes and shoes
  • Wardrobe boxes with hangers are available 
  • Photo frames can be packed by placing packaging paper between multiple frames
  • Lampshades are especially fragile and should be packed well to withstand the pressures of container moves
  • Fine art, pianos, and musical instruments all have unique requirements for packing

Remember, moving internationally is a three step process.

  1. Make sure you have all your household goods packed thoroughly, either by yourself or a professional moving crew
  2. Make sure you carefully manifest each and every box in detail while it is being loaded for smooth sailing through Customs at the Port(s)
  3. Carefully unpack the goods upon arrival at your new destination.

So what are you waiting for? Request a free overseas moving estimate by calling us today or by completing our Quote Request Form.

Specialty or Over-Dimensional Freight

Do you have a sailboat to move to Hawaii? We are not all so lucky to be in this bind, but some people are and there are many rules to consider when shipping freight of this magnitude.  Perhaps you have a large dozer or heavy piece of farm equipment to move and not quite sure how to get it from the auction to your ranch. Or maybe you are leading a special project requiring several loads for a company move or construction of a new facility.  No matter what your dilemma is, we consider it an opportunity to take care of you by helping you answer the many questions surrounding the logistics of your move. 

  • How will it be loaded and unloaded? 
  • Will it need special permits? 
  • Will it need escorts?
  • Is drayage included in the cost? What is drayage?
  • Can it go by rail, or does it need to move OTR – Over the Road? 
  • Can it go RORO, or is this a crane lift? 
  • Are there customs or border crossing agents needed? 
The good news is we are here to help. Go123 Logistics team members have led many special projects and our capabilities ensure your freight will be handled with care and 

For boats on a trailer, this is considered what we call RORO – or Roll On, Roll Off freight.  If it is a water delivery and not on a trailer, then it will be crane lifted and the client will need to provide a lifting diagram so we can accommodate a quote since the crane will be lifting the boat out of the water and onto the cradle, also provided by the client, along with blocks for support and security. 
For over-dimensional shipments – we are in a whole other world of over-width, over-weight, over-height and over-length permits and each permit cost varies from state to state. Police escorts also charge depending on how many lanes the road has, or if there is a bridge between point A & point B. Also there are tolls to consider along with traffic and border crossings. The client will also need to provide all the necessary paperwork for the customs agents at border crossings.  
Obviously when shipments this large move, time is another consideration. These things take more time to load and offload and the client needs to be aware of the ticktock of the clock.  Some crane rentals are by the hour or by the day, so the team needs to be on point from start to finish, which is just another nuance of our level of assistance here at Go123 Logistics. 
If you happen to be loading & unloading between 2 cities that offer rail service, this can be the most economical way to ship your items – but never the fastest, so make sure you have no time constraints when considering rail as an option.  This service can drop a trailer at your destination and add a fuel surcharge for the drayage – which is the time and miles to and from the ramp at the rail, whether it is going from a business, residence or port. 
Do you have questions about your special project? Need a logistics leader to spearhead an extraordinary shipment? We are here to help. Fill out our quote form now and we will contact you to discuss your needs. 

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