picture of help
Cross-border logistics

Navigating Cross-Border Logistics with Ease: The Wicker Park Way

Nathan McGuire
white calendaly
February 12, 2024
Homedivider breadcrumsBlogdivider breadcrums
Navigating Cross-Border Logistics with Ease: The Wicker Park Way
Table of Contents

For many companies, trade within North America presents a terrific opportunity for expanding their business to these vibrant markets. Underlying that is a dynamic, complex world of cross-border logistics that empowers such trade. It’s an intricate, involved dance of carriers, trucks, and trains — and a wide cast of supporting characters.

Of the nearly $11 trillion in trade that crosses U.S. borders annually, according to Customs and Border Protection (CBP), $2.1 trillion goes to buyers in Canada and Mexico. Our largest trading partners also represent the U.S.’s biggest export markets, at 17.5% and 15.8% of the total, respectively.

Trade and investment have grown across North America since The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) was signed in June 2020. As of 2022, according to the Brookings Institution, trade volume with Canada and Mexico was 44% higher than with China, with whom the U.S. has a delicate and difficult relationship. The U.S.-China trade deficit remains significant, although it was slightly smaller than projected in November 2023, the last month for which figures are available.  

Behind the sheer scale of North American trade is the considerable block-and-tackle work each company needs to either embrace or hand off to facilitate cross-border logistics. This includes booking freight with a carrier, tracking a shipment’s progress – and sharing data for operations and inventory management – managing customs clearance, and coordinating handoffs between modes.

Companies often lack the internal resources or experience to handle the nuances of cross-border trade efficiently, leading many to seek an expert partner. Wicker Park Logistics, a services provider well-versed in all aspects of facilitating cross-border transportation, helps simplify the complex process for shippers.

The Maze of Customs – A Simplified Path Forward

Navigating customs paperwork for cross-border shipping is highly complex and one of the main challenges companies face. It involves preparing and submitting a host of necessary documents for carriers, partners, and customs officials, as well as managing compliance with each country’s regulatory requirements.

Errors or inconsistencies in customs documentation can lead to delays, fines, or even the seizure of goods by customs officials. Ensuring that all necessary paperwork is accurate and complete is vital.

Specifically, when exporting to Canada, it’s helpful for companies to apply for Non-Resident Importer (NRI) status to help expedite the cross-border process. They also must complete a Canada Customs Invoice (CCI) for each shipment detailing shipper and consignee info and merchandise value.  

For exporting to Mexico, the required documents include a bill of lading and a complementary document providing additional information, a Document of Operations for Customs Clearance (DODA), a commercial invoice, a carrier code, and a certificate of origin.

Import and export declarations include information about the goods being shipped, their value, origin, classification, and intended use. Proper classification based on the Harmonized System (HS), a standardized code for identifying goods in international commerce, is required for customs officials to accurately determine valuation and properly assess duties and taxes.

Import tariffs vary depending on the product type and the nature of the trade agreement between countries. It’s critical that customs paperwork accurately assigns a tariff classification for customs officials to assess the tariff fee.

Different countries have their own specific regulations governing cross-border trade. These include health and safety standards, environmental regulations, intellectual property rights, and trade sanctions. Ensuring regulatory compliance requires a deep understanding of the specific requirements for each type of product in each country.

Wicker Park Logistics provides both a “map” and a “compass” to help shippers navigate through this maze of customs clearance and paperwork. AI/ML-enabled customs clearance capabilities from Wicker Park streamline and optimize cross-border shipping, creating a more efficient customs process.

Speaking the Global Language of Shipping

Understanding the range of international taxes, duties, and taxes involved in cross-border logistics is a labyrinthine challenge for any shipper.  

These charges vary widely from country to country, each with its own laws and regulations. Making sense of this web calls for in-depth knowledge of the rules and procedures. While the USMCA has greatly reduced trade barriers within North America, customs, duties, and tax regulations are updated, and diligent monitoring is required.

Wicker Park Logistics acts as your “universal translator,” ensuring clear communication with North American customs officials and transmission of all required paperwork. This significantly reduces the risk of overpayment on cross-border fees or being cited for penalties and costs due to non-compliance.

Visibility in the Voyage

Supply chain visibility continues to be one of the most important aspects of cross-border freight logistics and the most challenging to accomplish. Without real-time data on a shipment’s location and status, companies have difficulty keeping commitments with B2B and B2C customers and managing inventory and order flow.

Advanced technology tools from Wicker Park Logistics update shippers on their cargo's cross-border journey. Its innovative transportation control tower system offers end-to-end visibility from door to door. Customized portals with full carrier integration provide companies with a dashboard view of all shipments, including updated delivery times, and the ability to optimize carrier capacity and improve spend efficiency.

Beyond that, Wicker Park Logistics provides personalized service and attention to detail across every aspect of cross-border logistics, from freight booking through documentation and customs clearance to final delivery and beyond.

A Great Business Expansion Opportunity, Made Simpler

Especially with the USMCA in place, the timing has never been better for companies to pursue business growth opportunities in Canada and Mexico. According to the Brookings Institute’s analysis, the agreement “is key to building a more competitive, sustainable, and inclusive North American economy.” However, having a trusted cross-border logistics partner is vital to success.

Wicker Park Logistics combines deep expertise with a technology platform that connects via API with your data sources, applications, and trading partners. Cross-border transportation is managed across a range of modes, including LTL and FTL, expedited, reefer, flatbed, dry van, intermodal, and warehousing and distribution services are available as well. Speak to an expert today.

back to blog
Go Back to Blog
Contact us