Freight Forwarding & Traversing the Red Tape

Moving freight across the U.S./Canadian border can be more problematic than most shippers realize. Our recent research study reveals the myriad complexities of the customs clearance process—and the downfalls of making the trip alone.

By Patrick Burnson · August 13, 2010

A gentle surge in U.S. manufacturing and more emphasis on “near shoring” indicates that trade with Canada will continue to grow this year, major forwarders say. This is a trend confirmed by economists at the Toronto-based CIBC World Markets who report that Canada will remain the biggest trading partner for the U.S. for years to come.

Demand for U.S. goods is surging, says CIBC, with wholesale trade inventories climbing 1.7 percent to $52.4 billion this past May—the largest percentage increase since January 2007. “The volume of cross-border growth is impressive,” says CIBC analyst Rob Shotte. “The inventory-tosales ratio is a measure of the time, in months, required to exhaust inventories if sales were to remain at their current level. Overall, 16 of the 25 wholesale trade industries reported higher inventory levels.”

The impact of the current environment for U.S. shippers has been significant, Shotte adds. U.S. wholesalers in construction, forestry, mining, industrial machinery, equipment, and supplies posted the biggest inventory gains in dollar terms, followed by agricultural wholesalers when shipping into Canada, CIBC notes in a recent report.

One of the world’s premier trade services companies concurs with this observation. “A combination of forces are at work when examining this uptick,” says Amy Magnus, district manager for A.N. Deringer. “Business has been good, and seems to be getting better. But U.S. exporters trying to go it alone may still find some unexpected barriers and choke points.” 

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About the Author

Patrick Burnson
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]

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Article Topics

Deringer · Exports · Freight · Inventory · All Topics
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