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10 Tips for Moving Cross-Border Freight

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According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the value of truck freight between the U.S. and Mexico totaled $460 billion in 2021, a 20% year-over-year increase. For shippers with freight headed across the border by truck, here are 10 recommendations that can help the process run smoothly.

1. Hire a carrier that can handle everything.

Hiring one carrier that has the knowledge and experience in handling each step from both sides of the border can minimize the chances of errors and miscommunication leading to supply chain disruptions.  

Landstar has more than 20 years of proven know-how in moving freight across the U.S.-Mexico border, moving more than 170,000 loads annually through 11 gateways. Let Landstar make your cross-border experience simple.

2. Verify that safety and security is top of mind for all cross-border shipments.

A qualified cross-border carrier practices a safety-first culture, is CTPAT (Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism) compliant, and has highly secure facilities at the U.S.-Mexico border.

3. Be aware of changing regulations for U.S.-Mexico trade.

Working with a transportation provider that is knowledgeable in government cross-border policies may help avoid interruptions between the shipment’s origin and destination.

4. Determine the best mode of transportation for the cargo.

Truckload often is the most efficient transportation option for freight coming out of Mexico and into the U.S. If the freight is not time-sensitive and is traveling a distance of more than 500 miles, intermodal could be a great alternate source of capacity.

5. Always maintain visibility of both the tractor and trailer.

Shippers should work with motor carriers that offer tracking systems of both the tractor and the trailer, and that work on both sides of the border, to never lose sight of the freight.

6. Be conscientious of the freight imbalance.

More loads coming into the U.S. than going into Mexico can tighten capacity. Shippers should be mindful of the imbalance when creating a timeline and determining the best gateway for their cargo.

7. Consider using transload and cross-dock services at the border.

Transloading allows for optimization of tractor and trailer capacity while cross-docks allow for increased trailer asset and capacity utilization. The combination can speed up the transition between modes and may get the shipment across the border quicker.

8. Consider LTL consolidation services.

Using less-than-truckload (LTL) services to consolidate southbound freight before it crosses the border is a cost effective way to transport a shipment from the U.S. and into Mexico.

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9. Have a good plan in place for time-sensitive freight.

A cross-border shipment typically requires multiple legs and hand-offs to other entities. When dealing with time-sensitive freight, it is in a shipper’s interest to work with a transportation company that has the experience to help develop a well-coordinated plan, making the transition between each entity as seamless as possible.

10. Prepare customs documentation in advance.

To avoid delays at the border, shippers should thoroughly review the required customs paperwork, submit all files at least 24 hours in advance and double-check that loads are properly documented. Check with the carrier to see if it has customs experts who can offer support in this area.


Click below to request a quote or for more information about Landstar's cross-border services.

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Landstar's U.S. - Mexico Cross-Border Facility




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