Melton truck parked next to some hills

Cross Border Shipping from US to Mexico/Mexico to US

In today’s dynamic world of global trade and international shipping, cross-border freight shipping plays a pivotal role in connecting markets. Moving freight into and out of Mexico, one of the United States’ largest trading partners, holds its own unique set of challenges. If you aren’t sure where to begin when shipping from the United States to Mexico or vice versa, you’re not alone! Here are all the basics you’ll need to know before you get started with cross-border shipping.

The Importance of Customs Brokers

The first step, and probably one of the most important ones, is getting into contact and setting up a relationship with a Customs Broker. These individuals are employed by the shipper and are charged with the responsibility of getting your freight over the border- following all governmental rules and regulations- and ensuring it gets to its final destination with minimal delays or problems.

Documents Required for Shipping from US to Mexico/Mexico to US

Something your customs broker will work with you on is obtaining all the proper documentation needed to pass through the US/Mexico border.

Bill of Lading (BOL) – The Bill of Lading is an essential document that will contain a lot of information pertaining to your freight, such as the goods being transported, its destination, and the shipper and consignee’s information; it also serves as a contract between shipper and carrier.

Shipper’s Letter of Instruction (SLI) – The Shipper’s Letter of Instruction details to a carrier how their freight should be transported and handled during the shipping process.

Complemento Carta Porte (CCP) – This is a supplement to your Bill of Lading that is required on freight moving in, out, and within Mexico. It needs to include basic information about your freight and is meant to reduce illegal shipping activity in Mexico.

Commercial Invoice – Your Commercial Invoice will serve as a customs document for any freight traveling internationally and will be used by customs officials to determine import duties and taxes.

Packing List – The Packing List will need to be created by the shipper as a detailed record of everything that is contained in the shipment, including the total number of packages/pallets and what is contained within.

Certification of Origin (CO) – A Certificate of Origin is a document that states where a shipment originated from.

Depending on the type of freight and method of shipment, you could require more documents to complete your international shipment. Double-check with your customs broker or another international shipping professional!

A Melton truck parked with a sunset in the background
Melton trucks parked in the sunset

The next step to tackling these obstacles is to determine the type of cross-border service your situation requires. You’ll likely be choosing between through-trailer services and transload border services:

What is Through-Trailer Service?

A through-trailer service moves your freight across the border and leaves it resting on the same trailer it was initially loaded on. This can be an excellent way to make sure your freight remains intact and prevents damage in the loading/unloading process of a transload border service. It’s best to use a through-trailer service if you’ve got time-sensitive freight that can’t take on transfer delays, or if the freight is of a particularly high value that cannot risk potential damage that might come with a transload.

What is Transload Border Service?

With a transload border service, your freight will be transferred from one trailer to another after crossing the border. This is typically done in a secure facility near the border dedicated to transloading services. This kind of service is great for those with pallet-based freight, or other items that are easily unloadable and on a looser timeline. This may also be a more viable option financially, as there are smaller companies that specifically deal in this type of freight that operate with lower costs.

With all these boxes checked, cross-border shipping into Mexico can still be a complex but rewarding market to enter. If you’re looking for a carrier to transport your freight, Melton Truck Lines is ready to help! Our facilities in Laredo and El Paso, experienced cross-border shipping professionals, and decades of experience shipping in Mexico make us a great choice for your international flatbed freight. Seeking a different mode of transportation? Our sister company, Melton Logistics, can take care of it.

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