When moving products across the border, selecting a knowledgeable carrier with the right expertise and resources is essential to making the process as smooth as possible. As your company goes through the process of vetting potential vendors, keep these five things in mind:
1. Pay attention to experience.
Moving freight internationally is incredibly complicated, and a simple mistake can lead to long delays, fines, and even denied entry. From carriers to 3PLs, all transport parties must know the rules and regulations for crossing into the destination country. Additionally, regulations vary depending on the type of cargo. Not only do you need a carrier experienced in cross-border freight, but they also need experience with your specific industry and/or product type.
2. Bilingual staff is a must.
If your carrier doesn’t speak the native language where they’re headed, your cargo could have a much higher chance of delay due to miscommunication. Border agents aren’t the only employees they will be interacting with. Warehouse staff and other laborers will also need to communicate with the team.
3. Ask about cross-docking facilities.
Cross-docking is a lean supply chain approach, where cargo is handed off directly between legs of transport versus placing it in storage and waiting for pick-up. This method is more efficient, less expensive, and simplifies the process for cross-border freight, where loads often need to be consolidated or distributed. A vendor with its own facilities has dedicated space to transfer the cargo and can ensure the next carrier is on-site and ready to go upon arrival.
4. Look for tech that tracks freight in real-time.
Tracking is a must-have for shipping, especially when crossing international borders. Research a vendor’s technical abilities and ask specific questions about their transport management system (TMS). Some carriers can only update their location data every few hours. Select a vendor that offers real-time tracking data for the best security and transparency.
5. Find a carrier that’s well-connected.
International freight requires several moving parts. To get cargo to its final destination, you need a vendor with connections and assets extending beyond the border. Ask vendors what businesses they are partnered with in the country you’re shipping to and how communications will continue as cargo changes hands.
At Werner, we’re built to navigate the dynamic truckload market in Mexico, Canada and across the U.S. To learn more about cross-border freight services and our international network of alliance carriers, visit https://www.werner.com/shippers/cross-border-freight/.