USA-Canada Cross-Border Freight Shipping: Documents

A depiction of the Canadian and US flags one next to the other

[Updated June 2023]

You’re a manufacturer in the USA looking to export your valuable cargo into Canada, or a Canadian getting your goods to the super-sized American market. You’re in good company; nearly $700 billion worth of goods get shipped across the USA-Canada border every year and every one of those shipments had paperwork. You’ve met 10,000 business challenges head-on before you ever got to this stage. The last thing you need is delays at the border over red tape.

The basic USA-Canada cross-border shipping documents you’ll need:

  • Bill of Lading (BOL)

    The Bill of Lading (BOL) is a contract between the shipper and the carrier that lists the goods that you’re shipping. Essentially, you enter the shipper’s and receiver’s addresses, pertinent specifications like the size and weight of your goods, and contact information as well as any other special instructions. Freightera’s innovative system generates 2 copies of the BOL (1 copy each for the shipper and one for the driver), with fields for both parties to sign.

  • Packing List (PL)

    The packing list is a document that details relevant information about your shipment such as the weight, dimensions,  packing type, volume per item shipped, and any notable markings per listed item.
    This document is often required by customs officials for identifying packages they’d like to inspect. With this document provided, they don’t have to inspect each piece shipped individually.

  • Commercial/Customs Invoice

    The commercial/customs invoice is effectively an invoice showing a full description of the shipped goods, including their value per item. As the name suggests, it’s used for cross-border freight shipping.

  • Certificate of Origin

    As you would expect, this document shows where the shipment is originally coming from. This document is required in order to ensure accurate collection of customs duties according to NAFTA regulations.

  • Proof of Delivery (POD)

    Essentially, the Proof of Delivery (POD) is the receipt portion of the BOL, which indicates whether the goods have been received in good order. The signature confirms the date and time of delivery. As soon as the carrier uploads a POD (proof of delivery) through Freightera, a notification is sent to the client that booked the shipment.

Dealing with regulations for USA-Canada shipping:

In a security-focused era, cross-border shipping regulations have become so complex that they require the expertise of a full-time professional. Fortunately, you don’t have to do all of this on your own. If you’re shipping across the border, you will likely use a customs broker. The broker should be well aware of regulations that may apply to specific kinds of shipments, helping facilitate this shipment with a minimum of red tape. As such, they may have certifications in some or all of these areas:

  • U.S. Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT)
  • Partners in Protection (PIP)
  • Free and Secure Trade (FAST)
  • Certified Drivers
  • Automated Commercial Environment (ACE)
  • Advanced Commercial Information (ACI)
  • Customs Self Assessment (CSA)

About Freightera

Freightera makes cross-border freight shipping from Canada to the USA, and from the USA to Canada simpler. Get up-to-date tracking information, instant all-inclusive freight rates, automatically generate shipping documentation, and speed up your order. Book now and make your next shipment stress-free with our game-changing platform!

Free Freight Quotes
For Businesses

Get Freight Quotes in 15 Seconds

Light Bulb Icon Choose if you’re shipping up to 10 pallets.
Light Bulb Icon Choose if you need a dedicated truck.
Light Bulb Icon Choose if you’re shipping heavy or oversized cargo.

or Sign Up | Login

Offer For Businesses Get Additional $25OFF Your Online Shipment
Thank you for reading our blog!

Ready to Ship?

Access the best freight rates from 100s of carriers in 15 seconds.
Compare prices and book online 24/7!

Sign Up Today

Looking for a Freight Shipping Solution?

Freightera is ideal for wholesalers, manufacturers & distributors,
shipping regularly in the USA & Canada, or cross-border between the two.

Get Quotes