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Without cross-border logistics, international shipping quickly becomes a major headache for smaller businesses. Luckily, your logistics partner has remedies to help facilitate the movement of products from country to country.

It would be fair to say the international trading landscape is becoming more complex. But considering global transportation and supply chain industries are constantly evolving, a more appropriate statement recognizes that the nature of cross-border shipping has never stopped changing to begin with.

Let’s have a look at how logistics fits within the global supply chain, and possible solutions to effectively managing international shipping.

What is Cross-Border Logistics?

Cross-border logistics is an integral section of the supply chain that focuses the efficient flow of products as they pass from country to country. Along with providing transportation services, its purpose is to facilitate compliance with legal and tax regulations as products are shipped across international borders.

Types of Cross Border Freight Shipping

Cross-Border TL/LTL

Whether you have full truckload or less-than-truckload cargo to import into and export out of Canada, we have the logistics expertise to expedite freight shipments and reduce the risk of costly border delays. We can even help expedite imports into Canada valued at $3,300 or less.

International Freight Forwarding

We can help manage the import of goods into and export of goods out of North America and facilitate delivery into the Canadian market. We pick up shipments offshore and load containers onto ocean liners for delivery into Canada.

What are the Challenges to Cross-Border Logistics?

The problem is: how to seamlessly manage courier, freight, freight forwarding, air cargo and associated international supply chain needs. The solution is: through cross-border logistics.

The very nature of logistics involves the handling and tracking of goods as they move through your supply chain. When your products need to move through another country, cross-border shipping multiplies the complexity of getting your products to their destinations. Additional paperwork, the potential for customs delays and multi-carrier handoffs are just a few of the issues that make moving products across borders much more complicated than is reasonable for smaller business.

Every business wants to main a competitive edge in the marketplace. A firm can help improve its operational position by maximizing logistics strategies that affect the movement of products as they navigate across borders.

Logistics partners with experience in cross-border freight management must have professional people, systems and processes in place to help facilitate the transition of goods from one country to another.

Without help from a third party logistics professional, critical tasks quickly wind up outside a small company’s capabilities. Some of these tasks include:

  • Shipping
  • Order tracking
  • Tracing
  • Liabilities
  • Carrier handoffs
  • Meeting expected delivery times
  • Returns and Reverse Logistics
  • Customs paperwork and clearance

Cross Border Logistics Customs Control ZoneCross-Border Shipping vs Local Shipping

The need to move products across borders arises from one of two conditions: products on their way to final destination or, materials are being transported to facilitate the manufacturing process. For example, one shipping path would be a smart phone on its way from the manufacturer to the distributor or retailer, whereas the other would be the import or export of components and raw materials that constitute the smart phone itself.

Anyone who’s run an inventory-based business knows that, when bringing in significant quantities of supplies from another country, duties become a serious consideration when budgeting and projecting costs. It’s usually more cost effective to try and source local fulfilment for the products you need. Drawing from inventory that is stocked regionally gets around a host of cross-border complications in that duties, customs, trade tariffs, shipping and associated international paperwork has already been taken care of.

Not only can a business leverage the current trend of “locally sourced”, there’s the added benefits of supporting local economies and keeping working capital within the region itself. But as much as it may be preferred to find sources locally within your own borders, this isn’t always possible.

Still, the flow of goods across borders shows no signs of any serious degradation. If anything, international shipping and logistics is booming:

“”Overall, the value of global trade reached a record level of $28.5 trillion in 2021,” the report says. That’s an increase of 25% on 2020 and 13% higher compared to 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic struck.”

source: UNCTAD’s Global Trade Update

Global trade trends

Logistics Shipping and Technology

In today’s business world, particularly with the rise of e-commerce, the mere thought of trying to manage shipping without the aid of technology is a non-starter. Technology effectively helps provide end-to-end supply chain visibility and reduce operating costs. On the international front, electronic data solutions provide easier management of logistics functions such as:

  • Route planning
  • Warehouse management
  • Coordinating shipping partners
  • Freight preparation
  • International commercial terms management
  • Other required import and export documentation

For businesses on the receiving end of cross-border shipping, implementing a system that allows products to arrive Delivered Duty Paid (DDP) helps to reduce friction from unexpected charges at end points. But capabilities such as this depend on improvements derived from actionable data provided by digital operations.

Additionally, being able to respond effectively to customer demands also requires international logistics networks to have transparent systems in place. Better logistics providers incorporate international tracking systems to monitor basic shipping needs such as end-to-end order tracking and in-flight delivery changes.

Problems Facing International Trade

Due to the sheer number of globally recognized borders, the challenges facing international logistics are immense. Inherent roadblocks arise from how each country administers their own international customs and border management.

To try to make importing and exporting processes as seamless as possible, efforts are constantly being made to harmonize, simplify and standardize cross-border trade procedures. One solution is to lessen restrictions on border controls by shifting certain responsibilities to suppliers and end users through supply chain security. But these same efforts would also have to incorporate contingencies that curb the ability of less scrupulous entities looking for ways to manipulate the system by way of loopholes. Without proper governance, these unintended consequences carry the possibility of undermining public safety and economic security.

Ultimately, the goal of smooth cross-border logistics operations should minimize the regulatory burdens placed on businesses. For government controlled agencies, efficient border management implies the best use of inspection resources and encourages good compliance behaviour. The downstream benefits resulting in a healthier business environment and wider range of social and economic benefits.

Additionally, relying on cost-effective outsourcing from other countries depends on a consistent cross-border supply chain. But over time, this consistency occasionally gets disrupted as laws governing international trade change. Let’s say for example, you manufacture types of wooden furniture from a certain species of tree that, through regulatory change, becomes internationally protected. Suddenly your source is an endangered species.This is what happened with various flora and fauna species that fell under the CITES treaty in 1975 and was ratified by over 180 countries:

The objective of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is to control the trade in species of wild animals and plants that are, or may be, threatened with extinction as a result of international trade.

Furthermore, as we’ve seen in the news, geopolitical landscapes affect trade regularly, which winds up compromising existing trade capabilities. Take for example the recent conflict between Russia and Ukraine. With Ukraine being one of the world’s largest grain producers, its ability to export the commodity was seriously hobbled when Russia restricted access to Black Sea ports.

Unfortunately, regional and bilateral trade regimes continue to become normalized, particularly in emerging markets. This results in a host of tariff and non-tariff conditions, varying degrees of shipping standards, complicated rules of origin and regulatory compliance issues which make it difficult and costly for businesses to navigate. Since it began life in 1995, The World Trade Organization (WTO) continues to struggle with equalizing multilateral trade efforts due to differing political policies.

How Can Brimich Logistics Help?

Today’s cross-border shipping is facing higher demand and expectations for fast, seamless delivery. Your business deserves the capacity it needs to operate, flexible transportation models, and the expertise needed to navigate regulations and processes without delays.

If timing is critical and your budget is under fire, trust Brimich Logistics and Packaging to help you navigate the complexity of shipping between countries.