How Much Does It Cost To Ship From Canada To The Us?

Shipping items from Canada to the United States can vary widely in cost depending on several key factors. The main elements that influence shipping costs from Canada to the US include the weight and dimensions of the package, the shipping speed and level of service, the distance and route for shipping, any special services like insurance or tracking, and additional fees like customs charges or fuel surcharges.

Understanding how each of these components contributes to the total shipping cost is important when selecting the right carrier and service level for your needs. Smaller and lighter packages obviously cost less than heavy, oversized items. Faster transit times and more delivery guarantees mean higher rates. Cross-border shipments incur additional duties, taxes, and administrative fees. And extras like insurance can add further costs as well.

With many carriers and service levels to choose from, comparing all the options enables finding the optimal balance of speed and affordability. This guide examines the typical range of shipping costs from Canada to the US across the most common couriers and methods. It also provides tips on how to keep cross-border shipping costs low without sacrificing delivery reliability.

Basic Shipping Options

There are a few main options for shipping packages from Canada to the US:

Air vs Ground Shipping: Air shipping via couriers like FedEx or UPS is faster but more expensive. It can deliver packages overnight to 2-3 days. Ground shipping takes longer (4-7 days) but costs less. Canada Post’s regular parcel service uses trucks and is the cheapest ground option.

Courier Services vs Postal Service: Major couriers like FedEx, UPS, DHL provide faster, trackable service for a premium. Canada Post is slower, no tracking, but significantly cheaper especially for lightweight packages under 1kg. Private courier services like Sendle provide more customizable service.

Tracking and Insurance: Couriers like FedEx and UPS provide tracking numbers and status updates. Tracking costs extra with Canada Post. Private couriers and postal services offer shipment insurance for added fees in case of damages or losses.

Package Weight and Size

The weight of a package is one of the main factors that determines shipping cost from Canada to the US. In general, heavier packages will cost more to ship than lighter packages (Source). This is because it costs carriers more in fuel and resources to transport heavier items.

Most carriers also calculate charges based on dimensional weight, which considers the size and dimensions of a package, not just its actual weight (Source). Larger and bulkier packages can cost more to ship even if they don’t weigh much. Dimensional weight is calculated using a formula that multiplies length x width x height in inches divided by a dimensional factor, which varies by carrier.

Oversized packages that exceed common carrier size restrictions often incur extra surcharges or require freight shipping. The maximum size varies, but packages over 130 inches combined length and girth or heavier than 150 lbs may face additional fees or restrictions when shipping to the US from Canada.

Distance and Route

The distance between the origin and destination is one of the biggest factors affecting shipping costs from Canada to the US. Shipping companies calculate rates based on mileage, so shipments going longer distances generally cost more.

There are significant regional differences within Canada that impact shipping costs. It costs less to ship from cities closer to the US border like Toronto or Vancouver than remote locations further north. For example, shipping a 10 lb package from Vancouver to Seattle (140 miles) costs around $20, while shipping that same package from Yellowknife to Seattle (1,500 miles) costs $60 or more.

The route through the US also affects cost. Shipping companies optimize routes to balance distance with accessibility. Routes through major transportation hubs like Chicago often cost less even if mileage is slightly higher. Shipping to remote US destinations usually costs more regardless of where in Canada the package originates. Companies also factor in tolls, fuel costs, and driver wages which vary by route.

According to Factors That Affect Canada To US Shipping Costs – ShipShop, distance is one of the most significant factors that determine final shipping costs from Canada to the US.

Customs Charges

When shipping items from Canada to the U.S., you will likely need to pay customs duties and taxes. According to Purolator International, shipments valued at $800 or less are usually duty-free under Section 321 informal entry. However, shipments over $800 will incur duties and taxes.

The amount of customs duties owed depends on the harmonized tariff code of the items being shipped. Duty rates can range from 0% to over 20%. You can estimate duties and taxes using the CBP Duty Calculator. Be aware that customs brokers also charge fees for clearing shipments through customs.

In terms of paperwork, you will need to provide a commercial invoice and packing list describing the contents of the package. For shipments over $2,500, you may need to provide additional documents like a certificate of origin.

Fuel Surcharges

Fuel prices have a significant impact on shipping costs from Canada to the US. As fuel costs rise, carriers like UPS, FedEx and Canada Post apply surcharges to account for the increased expenses. According to UPS, “On an annual basis, fuel costs represent approximately 10% of UPS’s operating expenses.”

Fuel surcharges are typically shown as a percentage applied on top of the base shipping rates. For example, UPS has a current fuel surcharge of 15.5% for ground shipments from Canada to the US (UPS). Canada Post applies a fuel surcharge percentage based on a fuel price index, with the current rate at 9.75% (Canada Post).

fuel surcharges from carriers like ups and canada post increase shipping costs when fuel prices rise

Fuel surcharges fluctuate regularly based on the market price of jet fuel and diesel. Surcharges are typically adjusted on a weekly or monthly basis. Shippers should expect to pay higher total shipping costs when fuel prices rise, and lower costs when fuel prices decline.

Time of Year

The time of year can significantly impact the cost to ship from Canada to the US. During peak holiday shipping seasons like before Christmas and Black Friday, major carriers like UPS, FedEx and USPS implement additional surcharges on top of their standard rates.

According to Flowspace, the holiday peak surcharge for Amazon FBA sellers in the US and Canada averages around $0.35 per item sold. Fedex and UPS also typically add peak season surcharges from October through January for air and ground shipments.

According to Jillamy, 2023 UPS Air Freight rates between the US, Canada and Puerto Rico will increase 6.3% starting December 3rd. Peak surcharges can significantly drive up the cost to ship from Canada to the US during the holidays.

The slowest shipping seasons with the lowest rates tend to be in the summer months of June through August. Planning shipments strategically around peak surcharge periods can help minimize costs.

Negotiated Rates

Shipping companies often offer negotiated rates or discounts for high volume shippers through customer loyalty programs. These programs allow shippers who frequently use a carrier’s services to get reduced rates. For example, Canada Post offers volume-based incentives like their Solutions for Small Business program which provides discounts up to 40% for customers exceeding certain shipment volumes per year.

Other carriers like UPS and FedEx also have account-based discounts where frequent shippers can get reduced rates. According to UPS, discounts apply for shipments above 150 packages or parcels per week and can amount to 15-70% off standard list prices depending on volume. For FedEx, discounts start at 20 shipments per week and offers up to 30% off regular prices.

The key to obtaining negotiated rates is having consistent, high-volume shipments between Canada and the US. By partnering with a carrier and committing to regular shipments, businesses can realize significant cost savings compared to standard shipping rates.

Shipping Insurance

Shipping insurance provides coverage in the event a package is lost, damaged, or stolen during transit. When shipping from Canada to the US, there are a few options for insurance:

  • USPS offers up to $5,000 of coverage for Priority Mail Express International and Priority Mail International, with the fee based on the declared value of the package. Rates start at $2.05 for values up to $100 (
  • UPS offers insurance for up to $50,000 on shipments from Canada to the US. Rates range from 1.85% to 2.55% of the declared value depending on the UPS service used (
  • Third party insurance providers like Easyship offer up to $10,000 of coverage for as low as $2.19 for a $100 shipment value (

To file an insurance claim, you must submit a claim form and documentation like receipts and photos within a set timeframe after the loss or damage occurs. Each carrier or provider has specific claim procedures to follow.

Tips for Savings

There are a few ways to lower your shipping costs when sending packages from Canada to the United States:

Consolidating packages – Consolidating multiple smaller packages into one larger shipment can lead to significant cost savings. Most carriers offer discounts for larger shipments, so combining everything into one box is an easy way to save.

Using discounts – Look for coupons and promo codes offered by shipping carriers. Canada Post, UPS, FedEx and others run frequent promotions that can help lower your rates. Signing up for a carrier’s membership program can also provide discounts.

Comparing carriers – Get quotes from multiple carriers before booking to find the best price. Rates can vary significantly between Canada Post, UPS, FedEx, Purolator and others. Using a shipping broker like Chit Chats which finds the cheapest option can simplify comparisons.

Negotiating rates – High volume shippers can often negotiate custom discounts and incentives from carriers. Lower shipping rates may be available for businesses frequently shipping to the US.

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