Shipping from the U.S. to Canada

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Canada is a great market to target for your ecommerce company. With a world-leading economy, Canada offers a high-income economy with customers who are willing to purchase new products. 

With the rise of ecommerce, more customers than ever before are making purchases online. And since Canada shares a border with the US, many US companies often include Canada in their marketing.

Even better, shipping from the US to Canada is made even easier because of NAFTA. Both countries can freely ship products between their borders (with some exceptions that most ecommerce companies don’t have to worry about). 

In this guide to shipping from the US to Canada, you’ll learn about the delivery options, rules, transit times and services that can help you expand your business into Canada and start selling internationally.

Shipping to Canada: USPS vs. UPS. vs. FedEx vs. DHL

USPS, UPS, FedEx and DHL are all great options for shipping to Canada. Below we break down the price and transit times for these carriers when shipping a package to Canada.

Service Price* Delivery Time
USPS Priority Mail Express International  ~$47 2-5 business days
USPS Priority Mail International ~$33 6-10 business days
USPS First-Class International Service ~$15 11-20 business days
UPS Worldwide Expedited ~$67 2-5 business days
UPS Worldwide Saver ~$73 6-10 business days
FedEx International Priority ~$72 2-5 business days
FedEx International Economy  ~$65 6-10 business days

 

*Only USPS offers flat rates to ship from the US to Canada. All other prices were calculated using the respective carrier’s pricing calculators for a 2 kg package in December 2019. Exact prices are subject to change.

Source: https://www.stamps.com/whitepapers/how-to-ship-to-canada-with-usps-guide.pdf

1. USPS

USPS is a good shipping option because of its flat-rate shipping options. Unlike the other carriers, you will only have to pay a flat rate depending on the mail class and package weight.  

The USPS also has many locations in the US for dropping off packages. You can go to local post office locations or just drop packages off at a mailbox. If you want to save money on shipping and delivery time isn’t a big priority for your customers, USPS is a great option for shipping. 

However, one major drawback to using USPS for Canadian shipping is that the packages are transferred to Canada Post once they arrive in Canada. This can add on a few extra delivery days due to customs clearance and needing a new tracking number supplied by the Canada Post system.

International options

  • Priority Mail Express International 
  • Priority Mail International
  • First-Class International Service

[Read more: USPS Mail Types]

When you should ship with USPS

You want the lowest cost and a quick delivery time isn’t a high priority.

2. UPS

UPS is a great option for Canadian shipping because of their vast logistics network. They can pick up packages in the US and deliver them to Canada overnight. As an ecommerce business, you likely won’t do too much overnight shipping, so UPS is a great option because they can get most packages delivery within 2-3 at an affordable rate. 

Unlike USPS, the packages are tracked from pickup to delivery through UPS’ tracking system so you don’t have to worry about any packages being transferred to Canada Post. 

However, UPS can pricey if you’re sending heavier items that are over 10 pounds. 

International options

  • Worldwide Expedited
  • Worldwide Saver

When you should ship with UPS

  • You want tracking
  • You want quicker delivery 

3. FedEx

FedEx is another great option for Canadian shipping because of their vast logistics network. They can pick up packages in the US and deliver them to Canada overnight or within a few days. Because of their heavy competition with UPS, the shipping prices can be pretty competitive, which means more money saved for your ecommerce business.

Like UPS, FedEx can pricey if you’re shipping heavy items over 10 pounds. If your customers aren’t expecting 2-day shipping, USPS could be a more affordable option. 

International options

  • International Priority
  • International Economy 

When you should ship with FedEx

  • You want tracking
  • You want quicker delivery 

4. DHL

DHL is considered the leading carrier for air and overseas shipments because of their competitive pricing on shipping worldwide. Because the US and Canada share a land border, you likely won’t use DHL too much because they can be pricier than the other carriers for transportation. 

When you should ship with DHL

If you’re sending packages overseas, DHL is a great option. But for US to Canada shipping, FedEx, UPS and USPS can offer the same transit options at a cheaper price point. 

Factoring in taxes and customs

Even with NAFTA in place, there are a few taxes and customs rules that take effect when shipping packages to Canada. Take note to notify your customers that custom taxes may be placed on their items and that it is not the sellers responsibility to pay these fees (unless you offer DDP shipping). 

Duty and customs taxes

This will be a percentage charged for any goods that are worth over $20 CAN.

Handling fees

Handling fees can be around $10 charged from Canadian customs. 

Slow-downs and environmental factors when shipping to Canada

Canada has a great delivery infrastructure due to its many highways, paved roads and bridges. Most slow-downs will occur due to winter weather and customs. 

Customs handling times

In general, customs may only take a few days to a week. However, customs can sometimes hold packages up to a few weeks or a month! Keep this in mind when your customers place orders. They have to know that customs can delay their packages from the expected delivery date.

Canada Post

If you’re shipping with USPS, your package will be handed over to Canada Post. This can delay delivery times because handling can take a few extra days. If you’re shipping with UPS or FedEx, you won’t have to worry about Canada Post. 

Snow, sleet, and other weather conditions

Winters are brutal in Canada. If you’re shipping to Canada in the winter, be prepared for slow downs caused by snow and sleet on the road. Let your customers know ahead of time that package delivery might be delayed because of weather conditions. 

Consider a 3PL for commercial shipping

If you run an ecommerce business that wants to ship to Canada (or is already shipping to Canada) and need expert guidance on Canadian shipping, consider working with a 3PL with multiple locations to make the process even easier. 

3PLs are used by many growing ecommerce businesses to turn logistics and fulfillment operations from a cost center to a revenue driver. 3PLs store your inventory, fulfill your ecommerce orders, offer substantial shipping discounts, provide easier infrastructure for customs forms and taxes, and connect you with other international partners. 

So with a 3PL fulfillment logistics for packages going to Canada, you won’t have to worry about picking and packing orders, warehouse management, labor, training and more. Your 3PL handles all of that for you, so you can focus on other areas of your ecommerce business.  

Here’s why you should leave Canadian shipping to ShipBob:

Offer shipping to Canadian customers

Many growing ecommerce companies don’t know the rules and requirements for shipping to Canada. It may seem easy because of NAFTA, but there’s still a few rules you have to keep in mind. Otherwise your packages won’t be delivered..

ShipBob provides great and discounted shipping services that your in-house may lack. We can ship orders out from the US to locations in Canada (as well as from Canada to Canadian customers), all while providing order updates and tracking numbers. You can track every order from the ShipBob dashboard.

As BAKblade expanded their online presence into Canada, they knew they needed a trusted fulfillment partner with a physical presence in Canada.

“We have seen that Canadian customers order more when they know the order ships from within Canada and they do not need to worry about additional taxes if the order comes from the US. From our history through the years with ShipBob in the US, it was a no-brainer to expand into other markets with them knowing that they have done their due diligence to meet the ShipBob standard.”

Marc Fontanetta, Logistics Manager at BAKblade

Save time and money

By working with ShipBob, you won’t need to manage expensive warehouses, complicated logistics operations, or hire and train labor. Working with ShipBob turns logistics and ecommerce warehousing into a revenue driver because you can increase sales and offer the shipping options, transit times, and delivery speeds that customers want. Want to offer 2-day shipping so you can compete with Amazon? ShipBob makes it happen. 

ShipBob handles order fulfillment too. You don’t have to pack boxes, wait for package pickups, or spend time finding and building out warehouse space. Working with ShipBob gives you time back to focus on other growth areas like marketing, customer service and product development.

Take Canada-based bath company Bathorium who partnered with ShipBob to scale up operations. They saw a 70% reduction in shipping costs and even a spike in conversions. Speeding up deliveries and keeping them affordable for customers is a top concern for Bathorium. With ShipBob, they can comfortably assign a shipping cost to each order by pinpointing the product weight and destination zip code.

“In comparison to shipping products to the US from Canada, which can be extremely variable in cost, fulfillment by ShipBob is much easier to estimate because we know the true fulfillment cost. It makes it a lot easier to spend marketing dollars when we know exactly what shipping costs are going to be.” – Greg MacDonald, CEO & Founder of Bathorium

Work with 3PL experts

Ecommerce businesses are complicated. You don’t have the time to become a certified expert in every aspect of warehousing and logistics. That’s why ShipBob exists — we’re staffed by ecommerce professionals who are knowledgeable and up-to-date with the latest industry trends and complexities so you don’t have to be. By partnering with ShipBob, you’re adding expert warehousing and logistics to your team.

ShipBob also has the technical resources and partner network — including carrier partnerships, custom packaging providers, and more — that allows us to constantly improve and bring optimizations to the supply chain to ultimately drive ecommerce success.

Conclusion

Shipping to Canada from the US doesn’t have to be a hassle. Keep in mind that while free trade is easy between both countries, there are a few rules and customs you have to keep in mind. Partnering with a 3PL like ShipBob with locations in the USA and Canada can make Canadian shipping even easier for your business.

If you want to learn more about how ShipBob can help with Canadian shipping, fill out the form below to learn more about how ecommerce merchants are partnering with ShipBob to turn logistics into a revenue driver.

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