Shipping Costs to Canada: Why is Crossing the Border so Expensive?

Posted in International Shipments, Shipping Industry and tagged on

Shipping costs to Canada on a package mailed from the United States usually catch customers by surprise. Anyone who lives in the northeast, especially New York, Maine or Pennsylvania finds the idea of paying fifty dollars or more to ship a package to Montreal, just across the border, to be robbery. The entire trip for a shipment from New York to Montreal is on land. The cities are a short drive from one another. A comparable distance, say: New York to Boston would cost a quarter of the price or less to ship. However, as soon as international shipping is required so are additional fees.

When someone wants to ship internationally (and that includes US to Canada) they pay an automatic premium for International Shipping. When the package is destined for Canada, other fees also apply. Every package, regardless of size or destination that crosses the border is subject to: a brokerage fee, processing fees, and the GST or HST fee. With all three of these costs stacked onto the final shipment bill, most packages are relatively pricy.

Because the costs of shipping internationally are so much higher than from state to state, most people look for a way to avoid the fees. One choice people look to is using standard USPS ground delivery, but this method is dangerous. Shipping across the border with standard service requires a change in handler (and processing fees regardless). When the package changes hands, it is no longer insured either. So, though it may be marginally cheaper to use a standard service, the safety of a package is compromised.

In some cases, brokerage fees may be avoided. When a shipper schedules a shipment from the US to Canada, he or she may notice that standard Ground Delivery is cheaper. An agreement between FedEx and Canada allows for ground freight to cross more cheaply than any other route. For example, a three-pound package with any special delivery time will cost upwards of seventy dollars to ship, while standard ground shipping costs to Canada may be as cheap as twenty dollars. In August, FedEx did raise all shipments fees to Canada by six and three quarters percent, making the discrepancy between ground and airfreight even more noticeable.

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