Documentation Requirements for Air Shipments
Importing air shipments into Canada is the fastest way to bring goods from overseas. Compared to shipping by ocean, the freight cost is higher. It makes sense to ship by air if the goods are time sensitive. With air shipments, the storage charges start quickly (compared to other modes of transport) so it is important to provide documents to your broker in advance. The documentation needed vary based on the type of goods being imported, however here are the general requirements.
The air waybill is the shipping document that details where the cargo originates and where it is destined. It contains the information required for tracing the air shipment’s movements from origin to destination. Each air shipment is assigned an 11 digit unique air waybill number. The first 3 digits of this number are called the carrier code. These 3 digits identify which airline is the carrier. The remaining 8 digits are generated by the airline and are unique to that shipment. Even if the goods end up being shipped in different planes, they will all travel under the same air waybill number. The air waybill also contains a brief description of the goods, the piece count, weight, and measurements of the cargo.
Another required document is the commercial invoice. The invoice is required for declaration of the contents of the cargo to Canada Customs. It should contain a full description of the goods, quantity in pieces and weight, along with unit and total price. The currency does not have to be Canadian dollars. If the currency on the invoice is not in Canadian dollars, the exchange used to calculate duties and taxes is the rate on the date of shipping.
The information on the packing list can sometimes be included on the commercial invoice, which removes the need for a packing list. However, it never hurts to have this document. The list should detail what is in each package of the shipment, along with the net and gross weight of each item. This information is also helpful when calculating local delivery rates.
Certificate of Origin
Finally, depending on the origin of the goods, a certificate of origin could be important. If Canada has a trade agreement in place with the country of manufacture and export, then a certificate of origin could help in saving some duties on the shipment. Each trade agreement specifies the requirements to prove the origin of the goods, so contact your Customs Broker to find out what the requirements are.
Certain goods require import permits, or advance approval prior to shipping so please confirm with your customs broker before shipping items. If goods ship without having the proper permits in place, the shipment could be rejected and sent back to origin.
With the right customs broker in place, there should be no problems importing air shipments into Canada. Although original documents generally travel with the cargo, it is important to send copies of all the above documentation to your customs broker in advance to ensure all requirements are taken care of prior to shipping. This also allows your customs broker to monitor the movement of the shipment to ensure the cargo does not arrive without notice. For more information on the requirements of shipping cargo by air, please feel free to Contact Us. For a free quote, please click here.