What to know about your cargo before cross-border shipping?

Cross-border shipping is a complex process that can be overwhelming, especially if it is your first rodeo. Not all shipments are the same, and depending on your specific needs, you might have to choose a particular carrier, truck type, unit, etc.

Here are some of the main questions that you should have answered before any cross-border shipment:

What type of cargo needs to be shipped?

Due to differences in internal policies, not all carriers move the same type of merchandise (for example, if it is considered at high risk of theft, hazardous material, or if it requires a different set of permits, etc.).

How will it be transported?

Shippers should have a clear sense of the way in which their cargo is going to be transported, such as palletized, in bulk (which takes more time to load/unload), etc. Based on this information, you can better estimate loading and pick-up times.

What conditions must the trailers be in?

Depending on the merchandise to be shipped, boxes will be required to meet certain conditions. Some common examples include: the box must not have holes or leaks, due to the risk of rain that could damage or rust the merchandise; the box must be fumigated, or must not have stains or odors, which is pertinent when material for consumption will be moved, among others.

What is the gross weight of the merchandise?

Different types of units have specific weight limits, which if not respected, could result in damage to the merchandise, the unit itself, and even the risk of hefty fines by the authorities.

These limits vary by state. You can find a full list here.

What are the dimensions of the merchandise?

This is a key piece of information in order to ensure that the load fits correctly and the type of unit is chosen accordingly, which will help avoid fines and accidents. There are circumstances in which the merchandise is too long, requiring the shipper/consignee to rent a crane for loading/unloading.

What are the warehouse requirements?

Depending on the warehouse, there will be several internal policies to consider, including very specific requirements for the operators (use of vest, helmet, boots, shaving, etc.) and for the units (fire extinguisher, spark extinguisher, reverse alarm, etc.)

Additional requirements?

Remember that you might need additional services depending on the type of merchandise that you are shipping, such as restraint equipment or custodial service.

What's the difference between an LTL and an FTL?
LTL and FTL are modes of cargo transport, but as their name suggests there's a key difference between the two: quantity of goods shipped.
When to choose through-trailer vs. transloading?
There are pros and cons to both options, however transloading has become the preferred one due to increased capacity and competitive prices.
Who are the main actors involved in a cross-border shipment?
It's important to know each actor involved in a cross-border operation and the role each one plays to ensure its success.

Didn't find what you were looking for?

If there is something specific that you want to know more about, or have any questions that we haven't covered, please get in touch. We will try to get to it as soon as possible.