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Shipping From Canada to the United States: Air, Sea & Container Freight

Shipping Cost from Canada to the United States

Many factors go into the cost of shipping from Canada to the United States, including location, size, and shipping mode: sea FCL, sea LCL, air, or express. This guide will give you pricing estimates for each shipping mode from popular ports in Canada to popular ports in the United States.

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Cheapest shipping from Canada to the US?

When you’re shipping from Canada to the United States, you can choose from one of four modes: FCL sea freight, LCL sea freight, air freight, or express. Here are key factors for each mode:.

FCL Sea Freight from Canada to the United States

FCL, or full container load, means your goods fill an entire container, either 20’ or 40’ long. If you are shipping at a high volume, you’ll save time and money by shipping FCL. Pricing for FCL is done as a flat rate, regardless of whether or not your container is completely full. Learn more about FCL here.

LCL Sea Freight from Canada to the United States

LCL, or less than a container load, means your goods do not fill an entire container, and will be shipped along with other boxes or pallets. Note that when you ship LCL, your goods will need to be consolidated at the origin port and deconsolidated at the destination port. That’s why LCL shipping takes a few days longer than FCL.

Air Freight from Canada to the United States

Shipping by air is generally faster but more expensive than shipping by sea. For help choosing which mode is right for your shipment, use our air vs. ocean comparison calculator.

Express from Canada to the United States

When you have a small shipment and need it delivered as quickly as possible, you might consider express.


What are incoterms and how do they affect freight prices from Canada to the United States?

When you’re comparing freight quotes, note the level of service the freight forwarder is offering.
For example, if you’re shipping from Vancouver, Canada to Los Angeles, United States, you’re going to want to ask your supplier about the cost difference between shipping from the supplier’s warehouse in Vancouver– which means using the EXW incoterm– and shipping from the port of Vancouver(CAVAN) – which means using the FOB incoterm.
Prices for FOB are typically lower, but shipping FOB doesn’t mean your total costs will necessarily be lower. You might make up the cost by paying your supplier to bring your goods to port. When comparing prices, take all your costs into account.
Note that some incoterms, including FOB, are used for sea shipping only.
Learn all about incoterms here.

What customs duties and taxes will I owe when shipping from Canada to the United States?

When importing from Canada to the US, you will need to pay Customs Duties before your goods are released into the country. These costs can be significant. Researching your costs early can keep you from getting caught by surprise.

How the Customs Process Works
When goods arrive at port, customs officials will first check to make sure all your paperwork is in order, and then calculate the amount of duties owed and collect payment. After payment, goods will be released.
To handle customs clearance, you can hire your own broker, or use the brokerage provided by your freight forwarder. If you book on Freightos, you can use our brokerage services as well.

Do I need insurance to ship from Canada to the United States?

When calculating your shipping costs, don’t forget to protect yourself in case your goods are damaged or lost. You can do this through your freight forwarder or a third party insurance agent. Insurance costs are typically around 0.3% – 0.5% of your Commercial Invoice Value, which is the amount you paid for the goods.

What paperwork do I need to ship from the UK to the United States?

When shipping freight from Canada to the United States, make sure to get all your paperwork, such as the Commercial Invoice and Bill of Lading, in order.
Use our paperwork checklist here to make sure all your paperwork is in order before you ship.

How do I ship from Canada to an Amazon FBA Warehouse in the United States?

As an Amazon shipper from Canada to the United States, you’ll need to consider issues of timing and storage, as well as choosing the right forwarder. Check out this guide to learn more.

Shipping ports in Canada

Your factory, supplier, or freight forwarder will likely advise you which port is best for your export from Canada, based on location, ease of customs clearance, transit time, port volume, and any relationships or agreements between the factory and the port.
If you’re choosing a port on your own, important factors to consider include location, cost, and transit time. Here are the top ports for exporting from Canada:
Port Name: Vancouver
Port code: CAVAN
Port Name: Montreal
Port code: CAMTR
Port Name: Toronto
Port code: CATOR

Shipping ports in the United States

These are the top ports for importing into the United States:
Port Name: Los Angeles
Port code: USLAX
Port Name: New York
Port code: USNYC
Port Name: Houston
Port code: USHOU

How long does it take to ship a container from Canada to the United States?

It depends on which shipping mode you use. Shipping express can take as few as ____days– but express is the most expensive mode, and is not suitable for large shipments. Air freight shipping will take about ____days. Sea freight shipping takes ____days, but is the most affordable if you can wait.

What’s the cheapest time of month to book from Canada to the United States?

Carriers can introduce increases to shipping charges, called General Rate Increases (GRIs) at the start of each month. But, toward the middle of the month as they try to fill supply on vessels, they often lower these prices. That means booking during the latter two weeks of the month can often save you money.

Tips for Keeping Down Costs and Shipping Time from Canada-the United States

  • Book in advance. Shipping by sea is the cheapest, but also takes the longest. Booking in advance when you can saves you money– and cuts out the stress if delays arise.
  • Ship off-peak. When carriers get busy, both shipping prices and transit times go up. Ship during off-peak seasons whenever you can.
  • Get your documentation in order. Having your documentation in order can make all the difference when it comes to clearing customs quickly.
  • Know your HS Codes. A lot of shippers are surprised by how much customs fees can affect business costs. Do your research so you can budget effectively.
  • Compare quotes from different providers. Quotes can vary, so check out offers from different providers before making a decision.
  • Understand what’s included in your quote. Is your quote port to port or door to door? What service does it include? Know what you’re paying for to avoid getting hit with surprise fees.

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