Orbit Brokers

It’s All in the Details for Commercial Shipments

Customs clearance can be complex, especially if you’re not used to the process.  With so many rules, regulations and restrictions in place, it can be difficult knowing what exactly is required when it comes to shipping your commercial products.

Getting together the proper shipment documentation isn’t something that most people look forward to doing. But let’s face it, there’s no getting around it. Without putting in the time and effort beforehand to gather the correct information, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. A Canadian customs broker at Orbit Brokers can help prevent this disappointment by guiding you through this process step-by-step.

What Is Considered a Commercial Shipment?

Before shipping, one of the first things to determine is whether you need to declare your goods as personal or commercial. It may seem like a straightforward distinction, but you’d be surprised how many people make errors at this stage.

Items that are “intended for sale or for any commercial, industrial, occupational, institutional or similar use” are deemed to be commercial importations. Certain factors will indicate to the Canada Border Services Agency that your shipment is commercial in nature, including a large quantity of the same product, or very high-value items. Industrial products, or domestic products destined to be used in a business context, will also most likely be expected to be declared as a commercial.

If after reading this you decide that your import doesn’t constitute a commercial shipment, you might like to review our information on personal shipments.

What Documents Do You Need to Prepare?

Various documents are required to be sourced, completed and presented when sending international commercial shipments. These include the following:

1) Commercial Invoice

This is one of the most important shipping documents you must prepare, even if goods are shipped free of charge. The exact information required to be included will depend on what you are importing, but it will generally display information on currency, country of origin, proper valuations and contain a complete description of the goods being shipped.

2) Certificate of Origin

Whenever you are entitled to pay a lower duty rate by claiming preferential tariff treatment under a Free Trade Agreement, you must have a Certificate of Origin. This certifies that the goods being exported meet the agreement’s rules of origin and therefore qualify as originating in Canada. Failing to produce a properly completed Certificate of Origin when declaring goods at a lower duty rate can attract heavy consequences.

3) Bill of Lading

For imports via truck or sea, a bill of lading is required. This evidences the contract of carriage and must clearly show the consignee’s name and address (and contact details of your Canadian customs broker), contain a complete and accurate description of the goods, and be consistent with the information listed on the Commercial Invoice.

4) Air Waybill

For all intents and purposes, this is a bill of lading – but one that’s specifically required for all airfreight shipments. Unlike a bill of lading, however, air waybills don’t specify when your shipment will reach its destination or on which flight it will be sent.

5) All Appropriate Permits, Licenses, and Certificates

Certain goods are subject to the requirements of various different federal government departments and may need permits, licenses and health certificates. Meat and dairy products are one example, but there are many more.

Orbit Brokers are Canadian customs brokers who help thousands of clients every year ensure that their commercial goods are entering Canada legally, with the correct duties and taxes paid and all necessary documentation properly accounted for. To find out more about our wide range of broker services and competitive rates, call us at (905) 673-8798.

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