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

How much does shipping cost from the United States to Canada?

Many factors go into the cost of shipping from the United States to Canada, 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 the United States to popular ports in Canada.

Air Freight from the United States to Canada

Air Freight

Shipping rates from the United States to Canada: Air Freight

Shipping from Los AngelesShipping from New YorkShipping from Houston
Shipping to Vancouver$1,327$1,240$1,308
Shipping to Montreal$1,327$1,235$1,308
Shipping to Toronto$1,327$1,235$1,308

These rates are door-to-door shipping averages for a load of 200 kg/1 cbm

Air Freight Costs per KG

When you’re shipping air, the price per kg decreases the larger your shipment’s weight:

Chargeable weight300 kg
Price per kg$4.99

 

Want to learn more about how chargeable weight affects the price of your shipment? Check out our free universal chargeable and volumetric weight calculator.

Express Shipping

Shipping Rates from the United States to Canada: Express

Avg price for door-to-door shipping for a load of 50 kg/0.2 cbm: $326

Shipping freight under 100 kg from the United States to Canada is cheaper– and faster– by express. Around the 100 kg mark, air freight becomes the cheaper option:

United States to Canada Shipping Time

How long will it take to ship from the United States to Canada? Your shipment’s transit time will be impacted by location, shipment size, and season. Use the following table for timing estimates for each shipping mode from the United States to Canada.

Ocean/Sea freight time from the United States to Canada

Port to PortDoor to Door
Sea Freight (FCL)11-34 days––
Sea Freight (LCL)14-37 days––
Air Freight2 days8-13 days
Express*––6-4 days

* Express freight is always door to door

How to Ship from the United States to Canada

If you have questions about shipping from the United States to Canada, you’ve come to the right place. This guide will cover:


  1. Freight from the United States to Canada: How to choose the fastest and cheapest way to ship

  2. When are the cheapest times to ship from the United States to Canada?

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

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

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

  6. What paperwork do I need to ship from the United States to Canada?

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

  8. Busiest Shipping Ports in the United States

  9. Busiest Canada Shipping Ports


Freight from the United States to Canada: How to choose the fastest and cheapest way to ship

When you’re shipping from the United States to Canada, 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 the United States to Canada

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 the United States to Canada

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 the United States to Canada

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 the United States to Canada

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

 

Want instant freight quotes now?
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When are the cheapest times to ship from the United States to Canada?

Freight rates, especially FCL sea freight and air freight rates, are affected by seasonal factors. When shipping from the United States to Canada, remember to take into account peak seasons in both the United States and Canada.

Peak seasons for shipping from the United States to Canada

EventEffects on ShippingWhen
Holiday Shopping SeasonPrices rise as businesses prepare for holiday shoppingFall months

Use these tips to stay on track when shipping during peak season.

To see in-depth research on how pricing fluctuates throughout the year, check out the Freightos Baltic Index.

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

When you’re comparing freight quotes, note the level of service the freight forwarder is offering.

For example, if you’re shipping from Los Angeles, United States to Vancouver, Canada, you’re going to want to ask your supplier about the cost difference between shipping from the supplier’s warehouse in Los Angeles– which means using the EXW incoterm– and shipping from the port of Los Angeles(USLAX) – 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.

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

When importing from the United States to Canada, you will need to pay Customs Duty and GST 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.

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

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.

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

When shipping freight from the United States to Canada, 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.

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

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

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Shipping ports in the United States

Your factory, supplier, or freight forwarder will likely advise you which port is best for your export from the United States, 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 the United States:

Port Name: Los Angeles

Port code: USLAX

Port Name: New York

Port code: USNYC

Port Name: Houston

Port code: USHOU

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Shipping ports in Canada

These are the top ports for importing into Canada:

Port Name: Vancouver

Port code: CAVAN

Port Name: Montreal

Port code: CAMTR

Port Name: Toronto

Port code: CATOR

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Key Information for Freight Shipping from the United States to Canada

Average price for air freight (load of 200 kg/1 cbm): $1,290

Average price for express (load of 50 kg/0.2 cbm): $326

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

  • 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.

FAQ for Shipping from the United States to Canada

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

It depends on which shipping mode you use. Shipping express can take as few as 6-4 days – but express is the most expensive mode, and is not suitable for large shipments. Air freight shipping will take about 8-13 days. Sea freight shipping takes 1-2 months, but is the most affordable if you can wait.

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

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.

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