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Three cross-border shipping insights from logistics experts

O Canada!, a cross-border shipping feature published by Inbound Logistics, provides shippers insights for moving freight between the U.S. and Canada from logistics professionals with expertise across the supply chain, including CSX Transportation (CSXT) Intermodal Assistant Vice President - Marketing, Ryan Houfek. The article offers practical advice on factors to consider when evaluating cross-border shipping opportunities and the associated business benefits of tapping into the healthy trade relationship between the U.S. and Canada.  

Trade between the countries is robust. The U.S. is Canada’s largest investor, and Canada is the fifth largest investor in the U.S. In addition, Canada is the U.S.’s largest trade partner with trade of goods between the two countries totaling $669 billion per year – exports representing $312 billion and imports accounting for $347 billion, according to U.S. Census Bureau, Foreign Trade data.[1] Top exports include vehicles, machinery, mineral fuel and oil and plastics; while top imports include mineral fuel and oil, vehicles, machines and plastic.[2]

The article highlights the advantages and opportunities when shipping between the largest trade border in the world. Below are three insights from the interviewed experts that shippers should consider when moving freight between the U.S. and Canada.

Healthy trade relationship provides access to new markets

Trade between the U.S. and Canada allows businesses on both sides of the border to access new consumer markets. Through infrastructure development and streamlined border crossing processes, U.S. businesses can cost efficiently reach 34 million Canadians, while Canadian shippers can access the U.S. consumption markets through a variety of modal options.

Cooperation between the two countries simplifies the process

The U.S. and Canada have partnered to streamline the border-crossing process. There are several programs and forms that shippers can apply for to increase efficiency with the release of their goods at customs. The Pre-Arrival Review System (PARS) allows importers and brokers to submit minimum documentation for review and processing before their goods arrive in Canada, and the Border Release Advanced Screening and Selectivity (BRASS) is designed to expedite the release of high-volume, highly-compliant cargo shipments, allowing the carrier to cross the border before the filing of a formal entry by the customs broker.

Infrastructure advancements deliver capacity options  

The new, state-of-the-art, $100-million, 89-acre CSX Intermodal Terminals’ facility in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, located about 40 miles outside Montreal, is strategically positioned to enable connectivity, capacity and efficiency for cross-border intermodal freight bound for locations across North America. Its unique on-site border clearance capabilities are facilitated by a 10,000 sq. ft. secure container processing facility and access to the Canadian government-owned full truck X-ray imaging and radiation scanning system, known as VACIS or Vehicle and Cargo Inspection System. The CSXT Intermodal service to/from the Valleyfield facility provides shippers a modal alternative to over-the-road shipping, a diversification strategy with short and long-term benefits. "Our mission is to help shippers understand how intermodal is an important part of a balanced supply chain portfolio," Houfek says. "Shippers are well served to introduce intermodal rail into their supply chain portfolio before capacity tightens to take advantage of short-term cost savings while securing longer-term capacity benefits.". 

Armed with the right information and partners, organizations can navigate the opportunities and challenges of shipping cross-border. CSXT Intermodal’s expansive network and available resources makes moving freight cross-border between the U.S. and Canada a convenient and efficient process. For additional cross-border insights, click here to download the full article.


[1] U.S. Census Bureau (2015). Trade in Goods with Canada. Retrieved from https://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/balance/c1220.html

[2] Office of the United States Trade Representative (2015). Retrieved from https://ustr.gov/countries-regions/americas/canada#sthash.p9USLT4p.dpuf



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