What’s the Cheapest Way to Ship to Mexico from the US?

Return to all

Mexico is one of the United States’ largest trading partners, with nearly 35,000 trucks crossing the border from Mexico into the US daily. 

Given the shared land border, it may be no surprise that as much as 83% of cross-border freight is moved via truck

Despite the demand for cross-border shipping in both directions, shippers can face additional expenses in navigating this lane. It can be wise to familiarize yourself with what drives these costs

This article will explore how to get started shipping from Mexico to the US, factors that affect the shipping price you can expect, and how to ensure you’re getting the best rate for your cross-border shipment.  

How to get started shipping freight to Mexico from the US

There are typically a few extra steps that need to be taken when you’re shipping across a border – and shipping from Mexico to the US is no exception. 

Let’s explore what you’ll need to get started. 

Choose your freight provider and customs broker

The first step to successful cross-border shipping is setting yourself up with a freight provider and, optionally, a customs broker. 

The freight provider will typically handle the logistics of loading, transporting, delivering, and unloading your shipment, while a customs broker will take responsibility for clearing your shipment through customs. 

While it isn’t a legal requirement to hire a customs broker, and you’re entitled to file your own customs entries, many shippers choose to hire a licensed broker to handle this element of the process. Customs brokers are licensed by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and have the expertise to navigate the Mexico-US border with ease. 

If you’re lucky, the freight provider you opt for will offer a service that includes customs brokerage – saving you the need to work with multiple entities. To read more about the factors you’ll need to consider when choosing a cross-border freight company to work with, you can read our article “The Best Cross-Border Logistics Companies” here. 

Prepare all necessary paperwork

Once you’re set up with a freight provider and customs broker, the next step is ensuring you have all the requisite paperwork for a cross-border shipment. 

There’s quite a lot of info needed here, so it can pay to take your time making sure it’s correct – or your shipment could end up getting held up at the border. 

For most Mexico-US shipments, there are six key pieces of documentation that you’ll need (although some shipments may need others not mentioned here):

  • Bill of Lading (BOL) (this is called a Carta Porte in Mexico) 
  • Commercial invoice (the info here must match the BOL exactly)
  • Carrier identification (SCAC code in the US and CAAT code in Mexico)
  • Certification of Origin (this is required under NAFTA to certify preferential tariff treatment)
  • Document of Operations for Customs Clearance (DODA) (typically generated by the customs broker on behalf of the carrier through the Mexican Tax Administration website)
  • US customs declaration (an e-manifest, submitted before arrival in the US)

What’s the cheapest way to ship to Mexico from the US?

Cheapest Way to Ship to Mexico from the US
Photo by Angelique Downing from Burst

Despite the complex process of completing a cross-border shipment, there are still ways to ensure you’re getting your money’s worth – and not sacrificing on ensuring secure transport of your goods. 

Factors that affect the price of Mexico-US shipping

The cost per mile for cross-border shipping often exceeds the cost per mile for national shipping, and it’s worth understanding why this is the case – before balking at such high rates! 

Logistics performance

The Logistics Performance Index (LPI) – developed by the World Bank – provides a standardized metric for comparing logistics performance in different countries. In general, the better a country scores on the LPI, the cheaper that country is likely to be able to offer logistics services, largely due to higher quality infrastructure.

The United States ranked 14th worldwide on the LPI in 2018, while Mexico ranked 51st for the same period. The factors that the LPI assesses – road infrastructure, logistics competence, security, supply & demand, and diesel rates – all contribute to shipping costs. 

Taxes and fees

In addition, cross-border shipments can be subject to additional costs, including import or export taxes, tariffs, and duties. 

Rushing the process, making errors on paperwork, or not working with quality freight providers and brokers can all also contribute to delays at the border, leading to unfulfilled orders, unhappy customers, and ultimately money lost.

However, most of these costs can be mitigated by working with a logistics company with experience in cross-border shipping

Ultimately, when it comes to shipping from Mexico to the US, it can pay to invest in a freight provider and customs broker that understands Mexico-US shipping processes and can provide a secure – and delay-free – shipping service. 

Jansson takes the hassle out of cross-border shipping 

Shipping from Mexico to the US can be a complicated process. Thankfully, this doesn’t need to mean abandoning the Mexico-US shipping lane! 

Jansson has experts on hand to take the hassle out of shipping goods across the Mexico-US border by providing freight transportation and custom brokerage services. 

As an independent agent of Landstar, Jansson has access to a first-class network of carriers and innovative tools and technology that ensure the safety and security of your shipments. The Landstar US/Mexico Logistics Service Center in Laredo features a 30-bay cross-dock and transload facility to safely manage specialized and heavy haul loads. 

To find out more about how we can help facilitate the logistics of shipping from Mexico to the US, or to request a quote, reach out to Jansson today!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *