Skip to content Logo

4 Ways to Speed Up Cross-Border Transport

The United States and Canada have a bilateral trade relationship worth a lot of money. To say cross border transport is important to the relationship between these two nations is an understatement. However, when it comes to crossing the border, there’s no such thing as “one-size fits all”. Cross-border trade has evolved over the past few decades and it will continue to accelerate in the future. Despite the shared patriotism, there are a lot of hoops to jump through when crossing the US/Canada border. Being prepared is half the battle. If you're hauling across the border, there are four ways to get ahead of the game and streamline the cross-border process:Black & Yellow Modern Digital Marketing Agency Facebook Post (4)Prepare Your Documents Early 

Time is money—and when you're trying to get things across the border, it's even more important to choose your service providers wisely. While you can’t control traffic or weather changes, one important factor you can control is documents. If a truck is inspected or it is peak season, the border process can take upwards of 8 hours, but sometimes you can be through in 30 minutes if you know what you're doing. If you want to stay on the quicker side, being prepared ahead of time and having all the required documents filled out correctly is essential to cross-border transport.

A major portion of the clearance process is paperwork submission, so any errors here will cost time and money. Creating a checklist of documents needed to cross the border can make the process a lot simpler. Pre-submitted documents expedite the border crossing process and ensure things keep moving smoothly. Keep in mind that the driver also needs their own checklist, including their valid passport, license and good standing with customs authority, legally.

Once the cross-border shipping process is over, you still need to keep record of the payments, shipments and process in between, in cause of audits or issues. Store documents for at least six years, as a standard practice, for each transportation process.

Understand Carrier Responsibility

The key to the cross-border process is hiring the right partners. Carriers have an important task in the cross-border transport process, and that is to get the freight from point A to point B safely. This involves communicating with customs brokers, submitting paperwork to relevant parties and transporting the freight. When choosing carriers, a business will often strive for added value, meaning a carrier who can utilize technology and communication efficiently, and can cut out extra hands or parties being involved with the freight, as more parties means more room for error.

You want to avoid using carriers who have little experience with your type of freight, especially if the freight requires special clearance. Technology has made the vetting process easy. You can access a trucking companies database to find information on U.S. and Canadian companies as part of your search. Using these types of Web resources available, you can vet potential transportation partners, in order to understand if they can carry the specific type of cargo you may need or what their capacity is.

Cross-border trucking is a complex job, with a lot of steps involved. Most often mistakes occur when freight is transported without confirming with the broker, or when the driver is not made aware of which documents they need in order to cross. Don’t forget that the PARS/PAPS labels are essential and drivers will be delayed without them. Communication between carriers and drivers, or carriers and brokers, is essential to a smooth transportation process.

Correctly Identify and Prepare Freight

Freight has to be correctly identified in order to be cleared to cross the border. There are categories for different types of goods and some goods have special restrictions, such as food or hazardous materials.. Cargo needs to be classified so that customs can determine which goods are allowed to enter the country. The process of classifying freight is important, because it ensures that the importer can actually legally bring the cargo into the country.

A customs broker can help determine if goods can legally cross and how to do so. A broker’s job is to keep updated on regulatory norms and guidelines, and maintain them for each shipment. Certain goods do require special clearance by numerous government agencies, and the broker would be aware of this and handle it. You want to be careful with the brokers you choose, and avoid costly mistakes of choosing inexperienced or non-licensed brokers, as there are consequences to misclassifying freight. Somebody with expertise in the type of goods you are transporting will be able to handle them efficiently and safely.

The other significant part to freight classification would be the tariff. A tariff is the tax governments impose on specific goods in the import process, meaning the tariff number is used in determining cost of importing. 

Understanding duties and taxes is complicated, because it is measured through a percentage, combining the tariff number or HS code, with the cost of shipment and trade agreement of the countries. Luckily, you can expedite this process by using technology to streamline the process. has adopted AI technology to automatically generate a tariff when creating a customs invoice form, simplifying the shipping process. If you need to find tariff classification quickly, you can use the customs invoice forms provided to automatically generate your data.


To determine the duties and taxes on the shipment, you’d need to correctly identify and classify freight, making this an important part of the cross-border process. If you misclassify your freight, you may face hefty fines or penalties. 

Find a Reliable PARS/PAPS Provider

Technology is the biggest asset to cutting time in cross-border work. When you check your customs clearance status online, you save time and can face any problems head on, rather than deal with border delays or long phone calls.

An essential component to border crossing in this technological age is the PARS and PAPS systems, which are pre-arrival review systems that allow customs to see and anticipate the goods coming in, ahead of time. The system also allows drivers and companies to see if the shipment is cleared before it even arrives at the border, minimizing delay.

Often, drivers may not be made aware that they need their PARS/PAPS labels, or they run out last minute and are left scrambling for a way to cross the border. Other times, companies PARS/PAPS tracking systems malfunction or won't load properly. One way to face this issue is to find a reliable platform to buy or track your PARS/PAPS for your shipments.

A highly recommended platform is Zipments, as the real-time tracking and label process is more efficient and affordable. Zipments is also a unique platform in that it provides emergency emailed labels, for instant use, in the case of miscommunication or scheduling issues. Minimizing your risk of forgetting or getting stuck at the border, is the most effective way to speed up the process each time. 


A good way to treat the cross-border process is to view every set of hands on the freight or cargo, as business partners. The more people involved, the more chance for mistakes to occur. The key to unlocking the full potential of cross-border is hiring partners who know the market, the complexities and have experience in cross-border hauling.

While you can’t control delays or the timing in cross-border, there are ways to streamline and speed up the process. Make sure you have a comprehensive understanding of customs regulations, before starting the journey. The better the plan, the quicker the process. Cross border trade has changed: from a time of paper-based documents, to an age of smartphones and technology, which is why when dealing with cross-border shipments; efficiency and accuracy are key.

Blog comments