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August 15, 2019
Jon Michael

A Guide on Shipping Freight to Mexico

With $300 billion in goods and services exported by the United States to Mexico in 2018, shipping freight to Mexico is worth a lot of money. It’s possible you don’t have much experience in shipping freight to Mexico or want to make sure the process works when the time comes.

Knowing about shipping freight to Mexico is important and following the proper steps for freight shipping will lead to success. Compliance with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is mandatory, and you’ll want to join the voluntary Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (CTPAT) program or partner with a shipper who is a member. Being aware of this will make shipping to Mexico less of a headache.  

Notable Statistics on U.S. Trade With Mexico

Trade between the U.S. and Mexico has steadily increased over time since the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement. 

The U.S. exported $265 billion in goods in 2018, with an additional $346.5 billion in imports for the U.S. from Mexico. The top categories exported to Mexico were machinery ($46 billion), electrical machinery ($43 billion), mineral fuels ($34 billion), vehicles ($22 billion), and plastics ($18 billion). Crops sent from the U.S. to Mexico totaled an additional $20 billion. 

A good deal of that trade goes through Laredo, Texas and its Mexican sister city of Nuevo Laredo: three bridges and a rail bridge connect the cities and give both sides access to ship their products.

Crossing the Border With FreightCrossing the Border With Freight 

The door-to-door process to go from point A to point B is pretty straightforward. A customs broker isn’t a must but can help make shipments to Mexico easier.

First, the shipper picks up the shipment and moves it to the border terminal. Next, the shipper loads the product into a trailer and then transports it to the freight forwarder’s yard. 

Once the customs clearance entry has been filed, the freight forwarder carries out an inspection and prepares for the border crossing. An agent will then pick up the freight, clear customs and deliver the product to the shipping service’s terminal. Finally, the carrier will deliver the freight to its final destination.

Also, there will be two inspections for freight crossing the border from the U.S. to Mexico: an initial inspection by Mexican Customs Personnel and a second inspection by an independent third party.


Required Documents

The list of required documents is not daunting, but must be fully completed in order to avoid your freight transportation being delayed and missing its transit times. In fact, a shipping company will easily be able to help an interested shipper meet most of these requirements:

  • Packing List
  • Straight Bill of Lading and Commercial Invoice
  • Shipper’s Export Declaration
  • Import Pedimento
  • NAFTA Certificate of Origin (if applicable)

Impact of NAFTA

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is an agreement between the U.S., Mexico and Canada which was gradually implemented starting in 1994 through 2008. The accord ended most tariffs on items traded between the three countries. The three biggest industries boosted by the agreement were automobiles, agriculture and textiles.

The United States and Canada had previously entered into a free trade agreement in 1988, but NAFTA marked the first time two developed economies integrated with a developing one in Mexico. Overall, each country has seen benefits from its inclusion in NAFTA, according to most economists. But the net effect of NAFTA on the U.S. economy has been small. While Mexico and Canada are considered major trade partners of the U.S., the trade with Mexico and Canada makes up roughly 5 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The agreement has given the U.S. access to ship goods and services to a neighboring country with a developing economy. Another benefit comes in the form of lower-cost goods of a higher quality when importing products from Mexico. 


Choosing a Freight Company to Work WithChoosing a Freight Company to Work With

The importance of working with a company that can manage all aspects of the shipping process cannot be overstated. An experienced shipping company can handle most of the heavy lifting  along the way and give you a lot less to worry about. That includes working with a CTPAT certified company.

The CTPAT is a voluntary partnership program which the CBP offers to help strengthen border security. Best yet, there is no cost for joining the program, which touts more than 11,400 partners. To a company shipping its goods, the CTPAT offers the following benefits:

  • Reduced number of CBP examinations
  • Front of the line inspections
  • Possible exemption from Stratified Exams
  • Shorter wait times at the border
  • Assignment of a Supply Chain Security Specialist to the company
  • Access to the Free and Secure Trade (FAST) Lanes at the land borders
  • Access to the CTPAT web-based Portal system and a library of training materials
  • Possibility of enjoying additional benefits by being recognized as a trusted trade Partner by foreign Customs administrations that have signed Mutual Recognition with the United States
  • Eligibility for other U.S. Government pilot programs, such as the Food and Drug Administration’s Secure Supply Chain program
  • Business resumption priority following a natural disaster or terrorist attack
  • Importer eligibility to participate in the Importer Self-Assessment Program (ISA)
  • Priority consideration at CBP’s Centers of Excellence and Expertise

Freight Shipping to Mexico with R+L Global Logistics

When you’re ready to begin shipping freight from Mexico to the U.S., R+L Global Logistics is here to help. We have over 30 years of cross border freight knowledge and experience that we put to work for your manufacturing needs. With a 99.5% on-time delivery rate and real-time freight visibility, you can rest assured that your freight shipment will be handled properly.

Additionally, we offer other logistics services that support the supply chain of your freight. These services include:

  • Warehousing
  • Reverse Logistics
  • Kitting and Assembly
  • Pick and Pack
  • And More…

Contact us today to receive a quote for your cross border freight shipment and we’ll handle the rest.



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