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Choosing a Heavy Haul Carrier for Cross-Border Freight

Nov 9, 2023 | Shippers, Werner Blog

Cross-border freight is on the rise, growing by 19.1% from 2021 to 2022 across all modes of transportation in North America. Choosing a carrier to transport your goods across borders is essential for successful, damage-free, on-time shipments.

Moving domestic freight comes with logistical challenges, such as weather, local and state regulations, and labor shortages. Cross-border freight has additional obstacles like international regulation and foreign transportation infrastructure; however, it’s a great solution for companies looking to establish their supply chains closer to home.

Benefits of Cross-Border Freight
There are plenty of options for shipping goods to and from anywhere in the world. The pandemic, however, highlighted the benefits of cross-border shipping with Mexico, including a shorter supply chain and therefore increased speed to market. Because no large bodies of water are involved, products reach shelves faster when traveling within North America. As a result, there’s less need to keep a heavy backstock of products in a warehouse as you can frequently receive new shipments. Because you regularly receive replenishments, you’ve likely sold those products by the time the pay-term period is up.

In addition, same-day communication is much more feasible as Mexico and Canada have the same time zones as the U.S.  By the same token, traveling for site visits is much easier. Proximity to the U.S. market makes it easier for teams to communicate in person and avoid potential language barriers.

The benefits of cross-border are clear and present opportunities to improve shipping and build better relationships with carrier partners. Of course, making sure you have the right partner for your needs is critical for success.

Questions to Ask When Selecting a Carrier Partner
When choosing a carrier partner for your cross-border shipping needs, there are a lot of factors to consider, so, what questions should you ask? Below, we’ve outlined a few of the most critical questions to consider.

1. What is your carrier’s experience level?
Experience is always an important factor when selecting a carrier, but certain factors are especially important for cross-border shipping. Their answers should address the following:

  • Infrastructure – Be sure to understand what offices, personnel and services a carrier has on both sides of the border. Do they offer cross-dock facilities? Do they have maintenance facilities at or near border crossing points? Even if you’re looking for a smaller solution right now, you want to pick a partner who can grow with you as your business scales.
  • Partner relationships – The success of your shipments once across the border relies on the partnerships your carrier has in Mexico and/or Canada. Make sure that any carrier you work with on cross-border freight has alliances with quality foreign carriers and fosters a strong relationship with their teams, treating them as an extension of their own. The best experience will feel seamless no matter where your freight is.
  • Supporting services – No matter the size or scale of your shipments, finding a carrier that can provide alternative solutions is important. Check if they can deliver both dry and refrigerated goods and what alternative logistics solutions they offer, such as intermodal, trans-loading or brokerage.
  • Regulatory Compliance – Crossing international borders brings into play a variety of different regulations to ensure compliance. Find a partner who is well-versed in these regulations on both sides of the border and can provide guidance on what is needed to meet them, including customs documentation, permits and other necessary documents or legal steps that are required.

2. What safety policies and procedures does your carrier have in place?
Finding a carrier partner committed to safety on the road is critical. Make sure to research your potential partner’s safety record, including their accident history and insurance coverage. Ask them questions about what training their drivers receive. How do they factor in these policies when selecting alliance carriers in other countries? Is your carrier C-PAT validated by U.S. Homeland Security?

A carrier with a strong commitment to safety will reduce the risk of accidents and cargo damage.

3. What measures does your carrier do you have in place for security?
Cargo theft is an unfortunate reality. When evaluating carriers, inquire about their security protocols for protecting cargo in transit. What measures do they take to prevent theft, tampering and damage? What type of GPS tracking do they utilize? What type of relationship do they have with law enforcement officials?

In addition, look for a carrier with technology in place that allows for easy tracking of shipments in real-time. Then, you have the peace of mind knowing you can check in on your shipment at any moment.

Why Choose Werner for Cross-Border Freight?
With nearly 25 years of experience, Werner is a highly trusted leader in cross-border freight. From our cross-dock facilities to our large teams in Mexico, Canada and the U.S. to our border terminals to our strong relationships with our Mexican and Canadian carrier partners, we offer multiple solutions and options to quickly and efficiently move freight throughout North America.

Our delivery solutions are:

  • Customized for customers to meet business needs
  • End-to-end with Full Truckload, Dedicated, Intermodal, Temperature-Controlled, Cross-Docking and Final Mile services
  • Technology-forward with real-time access to freight status for routing and visibility
  • Sustainability-driven, with solutions that help reduce the carbon footprint of the industry

Want to learn more about our freight solutions? Request a freight quote today.

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