Shipping into United States

1. Before you Ship

Documentation is a critical part of trans border shipping; any error can result in costly delays at the border. Following documentations are needed to ensure safe and timely movement of cargo into the United States.


Shipper's Bill of Lading

A properly completed shipper’s Bill of Lading should have following information:

  • Shipper’s name and address
  • Country of Origin
  • Consignee’s name
  • Destination full address
  • Shipper’s or Consignee’s order number
  • Shipment gross weight
  • Number of pieces in the consignment
  • Proper description of the product being shipped



Commercial Invoice

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) requires a completed invoice, necessary for assessing duty. It must be accurate and include: supplier's name and address, a detailed description of the merchandise including quantity, weights and measurements as well as the purchase price and terms of sale. The Commercial Invoice should show the country of origin, consignee’s IRS number and the name of the custom broker. (Note it is very important that the quantity/number of pieces and weight match exactly the information on the Bill of Lading)



Export Declaration

  • Generally, an Export Declaration (Can. form B-13) is no longer required for shipments to the United States unless the value of the goods is over $2,000 (Canadian) and will be in transit through the U.S. or are being stored in the U.S. for ultimate re-export to another country

Exporter's Certificate of Origin

Under the NAFTA (North America Free Trade Agreement), Duties or Taxes on certain goods made in the U.S.A. or Canada have been, or soon will be, reduced or eliminated. To benefit from this agreement, exporters/manufacturers must determine whether their goods qualify under the Rules of Origin. These agreed upon Rules of Origin define those goods and materials which are entitled to Free Trade Agreement benefits. The exporter must complete a U.S./Canada FTA Exporter's Certificate of Origin and send a copy of it to the importer. This is not a transportation document and is not required to accompany the shipment. However, to claim benefits under the FTA at the time of entry, the importer must possess the Exporter's Certificate of Origin. It must be available if requested by customs. Customs officials in both Canada and the U.S. will accept either country's certificates. But, if the certificate is not available, the FTA benefits will not be applied and the appropriate Most Favored Nation tariff will be applied. If you have any questions about the Free Trade Agreement or the use of the Certificate of Origin, contact your local Vitran service centre or your customs broker.


2. After you call for Pickup

  • Vitran driver picks up your shipment and takes it to our service centre
  • Shipments will be billed into Vitran system and you can start tracing the shipment
  • Customs Documents will be faxed to the designated Customs Broker for PAPS clearance
  • We verify the Custom Broker has filed an entry with the CBP before putting your shipment into our truck
  • In compliance with the ACE program, we send your shipments along with all the other shipments in the truck to CBP electronically through EDI
  • We forward your original paperwork to cross the border with your shipment

3. When your shipment arrives at the border

  • CBP will clear your shipment immediately through the ACE program


4. When your shipment arrives at Vitran Service Centre

  • Your shipment will be delivered to the final destination through the Vitran network.