How to Use Canadian Fulfillment Services to Save on Import Costs

There’s a good reason Canadian fulfillment services have risen to prominence in the import sector over the past decade: They save you money—on import duties and their related costs, which can be considerable. Let’s look at this money-saving tactic that’s changed the importing landscape.

Duty-free shipping made easy

We can thank Section 321 for duty-free shipping; the statute from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency allows merchandise valued at under $800 to enter the United States completely exempt from taxes and customs duties. That’s it. No catch.

You can bring your goods over the border and not pay a dime to the government for the privilege. Buy in bulk from anywhere in the world, break down the goods into smaller shipments, and take them directly into the U.S. market. Of course, doing that work yourself takes time, and more importantly, money. That’s why you rely on Canadian fulfillment services.


How much money can you save at the border?

That answer differs, as it depends on what you’re bringing into the United States. And how much. But one thing is certain—conventional importing isn’t cheap. Outside of Section 321-protected goods, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency collects taxes and fees for a host of other government agencies. Beyond tariffs and customs fees, state sales taxes can even get tacked on to some goods entering the United States. And it all adds up—the U.S. government collects tens of billions of dollars in import duties each year.

For the average importer, these border costs can sometimes go as high as 20% of the value of their shipments. So why lose a full fifth of the worth of your goods in transportation? You don’t have to; you can opt to pay considerably less with the help of Canadian fulfillment services.

How do Canadian fulfillment services work?

It’s right there in the name—Canada fulfills the shipment. Importers buy large quantities of goods overseas, oftentimes from China, and have them sent to a Canadian fulfillment center located near the U.S. border. Shipping experts at that center break down the goods into allotments worth $800 or less, and bring them into the United States. From there, importers can arrange to have the goods handed over to U.S. carriers for a wide range of delivery options.

The savings don’t stop at tariffs

While the prospect of bringing tariff-free goods into the United States is enough to entice most importers, the cost-saving considerations of using Canadian fulfillment services go well beyond there. As most people in the importing business know, warehousing costs can take big bites out of profits, from storage and packing to insurance and more.

But those expenses can be considerably mitigated by taking advantage of existing warehouse facilities with shippers who are expert at receiving goods for fast turnarounds. You can store goods and incrementally bring them into the United States for a fraction of the cost of trying to do it on your own.

A saving grace for e-commerce

While the brick-and-mortar retail sector has long enjoyed the benefits of Section 321, e-commerce has seen a boom with the recent surge in online shopping prompted by the pandemic. With e-commerce fulfillment, online businesses turn to on-the-ground shipping pros to handle their orders, from bulk shipments and inventory management to customer delivery, and even taking care of returns.

Are you ready to stop paying unnecessary costs at the U.S. border? Have you had enough of bearing the brunt of transportation expenses by yourself? If so, you can look to Canadian fulfillment services and the money they’ll save you.

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