Export Process

Exporting First Steps

  • Set up an Export Account with Revenue Canada
    Phone: 1.800.959-5525 or visit www.businessregistration.gc.ca
  • Provide the following:
    • GST Number
    • Exporter Number
    • Full legal company name and address
    • Estimated volume (monetarily)
    • Type of goods
    • Countries the goods are being shipped to

Export Control List

The Export Control List identifies specific goods and technology that are controlled through Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs for export from Canada to other countries.

Exports of goods or technology on the Export Control List may be exempted from the requirement to obtain an export permit if they are being shipped to certain countries. For example, in most cases, controlled exports to final consignees in the United States are exempt from the permit requirement. Further information about the Export Control List is available in section C of the Export Controls Handbook.

Objectives of Export Controls

Among other goals, export controls seek to ensure that exports from Canada:

  • Are consistent with Canada's foreign and defense policies
  • Do not cause harm to Canada and its allies
  • Do not undermine national or international security
  • Do not contribute to national or regional conflicts or instability
  • Do not contribute to the development of nuclear, biological or chemical weapons of mass destruction, or of their delivery systems
  • Are not used to commit human rights violations and
  • Are consistent with existing economic sanctions' provisions

Export Sanctions

Exports Sanctions are economic sanctions, restricting or preventing exports to specific countries or regimes.

A complete list of Exports Sanctions and more information can be found at: Information about Canadian Economic Sanctions

If you are considering shipping to these countries, check with Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs International Trade.

Export Permits

An Export Permit describes, among other things, the quantity, description and nature of the items to be exported, as well as the final destination country and final consignee. It is a mechanism for the government to monitor and/or control exports of certain commodities to certain countries.

Factors such as the nature, characteristics, origin, or destination of the goods or technology being exported (also referred to in this document as "items"), affect export permit requirements. As such, certain situations require that an exporter first obtain an export permit from the Export Controls Division of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada before these items can be exported legally.

A Guide to Canada's Export Controls includes the Export Control List.

Import Controls

Canada has a range of goods over which it imposes import controls. These goods are listed in
the Import Control List (ICL) of the Export and Import Permits Act.

Similar to Canada, most countries you might be planning to export to will have some sort of Import Controls in place as well.

To learn more about the admissibility of shipping your goods into a specific country, contact one of our logistics specialists today.

Contact Us Ask a Question

Freight Forwarding

International Freight Forwarders plan the transportation of your goods overseas. A professional freight forwarding service is a critical link in the supply chain, and will assist your company in determining all costs included in a sales contract. Freight forwarders in Canada have partnerships and agency agreements with other freight forwarders worldwide. They can help you navigate the world of international shipping and have the right relationships to negotiate favourable pricing to transport your goods.

Role of a Freight Forwarder

  • Arrange the movement of cargo - "3PL"
  • Provide logistical expertise
  • Network with agents or offices globally

Pacific Customs Brokers freight forwarding division has become a major North American link to many trans-ocean shippers and freight forwarders. It is a single point of contact for international freight movements providing freight and logistic solutions to freight forwarders and shippers worldwide.

We are known for special project handling, earning us the reputation as a world-class company. Our elite team of logistics professionals will manage large and small cargo while ensuring the goods will arrive at their destination. Collectively with our worldwide network of premium freight agents and our in-house customs brokers, we provide our clients with a high caliber of freight logistics services.

Freight & Logistical Services

Managed Freight Programs

  • Sea/ Air Programs
  • Vessel and Air Charters
  • Industrial Project Logistics
  • Vehicle Shipping
  • Energy/ Engineering Procurement

Proudly served as the Designated Freight Forwarder for the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

Contact Us Ask a Question

Incoterms® - International Commercial Terms

International commerce terms, more commonly known as Incoterms®, are a set of international rules for the interpretation of the most commonly used trade terms in foreign trade. These terms are published by the International Chamber of Commerce, and are used to help traders avoid costly misunderstandings by clarifying the tasks, costs and risks involved in the delivery of goods from sellers to buyers.

Benefits of Incoterms®

  • Incoterms® help determine how prices and risks are designated between the importing buyer and the exporting seller with respect to shipping of products.
  • It lets shippers take shipment transport cost and risk responsibility in hand when it benefits them most.
  • They help improve supply chain performance by avoiding the confusion created by varied interpretations of the rules in different countries.
  • The understanding and the proper use of applicable Terms of Sale may make the difference between future success and failure.
  • Understanding Incoterms® and their implications to your business transactions is crucial, especially with regard to import or exports of goods.
  • You determine your financial and commercial fate when you manage your Terms of Sale.

To learn how to use Terms of Sale advantageously for your business, contact one of our logistics specialists today.

Contact Us Ask a Question

Letters of Credit

A Letter of Credit (LC) also referred to as a documentary credit, is a common method for payment of goods in international transactions. It is a commitment by a bank on behalf of the importer (foreign buyer) that payment will be made to the beneficiary (exporter) provided that the terms and conditions stated in the LC have been met. It acts as security for the exporter.

The primary issue in an international transaction is the seller's assurance that he/she is going to get paid. Establishing an Irrevocable Letter of Credit solves this issue by introducing the buyer's and seller's banks into the transaction. The buyer instructs his bank, the issuing bank, to open a Letter of Credit in favor of the seller, the beneficiary. The issuing bank substitutes its credit standing in place of the buyer, thereby lessening the risk of non-payment to the seller. The issuing bank then forwards the Letter of Credit to the seller's bank, the advising bank. This advising bank can either forward the Letter of Credit to the seller or it can add its confirmation, meaning the advising bank assumes the obligation to pay if all of the conditions are met.

Revocable and Irrevocable Letters of Credit

Letters of Credit can either be Revocable or Irrevocable.

  • A Revocable Letter of Credit can be modified or canceled by the issuing bank at any time for any reason without notification to anyone.
  • An Irrevocable Letter of Credit cannot be canceled or modified without the agreement of the issuing bank, the confirming or advising bank and the beneficiary.

Either way, a Letter of Credit must state on its face whether it is Irrevocable or Revocable.

Contact Us Ask a Question


The seller faces the risk of cancellation of a Revocable Letter of Credit until he/she presents the proper documents, meets the required conditions and the advising bank honors the draft. After this time, the Revocable Letter of Credit cannot be modified or canceled.

With an Irrevocable Letter of Credit, the seller protects himself/herself since he/she has the time available until the stated expiration date of the Letter of Credit to make the shipment and present the necessary documentation.


Most Letters of Credit are Irrevocable because the seller is usually not willing to accept the uncertainty of receiving payment for his merchandise. Even though a bank issues a Letter of Credit, it is usually in a foreign country, and the seller will more than likely not be familiar with the foreign bank. In such cases, the seller will request that a bank in his/her country confirm the Letter of Credit. This confirmation reduces the risk of non-payment to the seller. An Irrevocable Letter of Credit can be confirmed, whereas a Revocable Letter of Credit cannot be confirmed.

Shipping Methods

Transportation of Goods and Commodities

The following parameters determine the optimal transportation selection

  • Transit time
  • Freight cost
  • Origin - address and accessibility
  • Destination - address and accessibility
  • Mode of Transport - Air, Ocean, Ground, Courier, Other
  • Schedule - Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Seasonally, Yearly
  • Specific Commodity - if hazardous
  • Shipped - Bulk, Crated, Palletized, Loose
  • Specific Weight, Dimensions, Piece Count
  • Type of packaging - wood, ISPM 15 stamped wood

Packaging and Labeling

Overseas shipping involves modes of transportation, packaging requirements and documentation, all of which are very different from the requirements for domestic shipping. Packaging and labeling serve several purposes in exporting including physical protection, containment, preservation, security, information transmission as well as aid in the handling of goods and final presentation.

The overseas buyer usually specifies which export marks should appear on the cargo for easy identification by receivers. Products can require many markings for shipment. For example, exporters need to put the following markings on cartons to be shipped:

  • Shipper's mark
  • Country of origin (i.e. U.S.A.)
  • Weight marking (in pounds and in kilograms)
  • Number of packages and size of cases (in inches and centimeters)
  • Handling marks (international pictorial symbols)
  • Cautionary markings, such as "This Side Up" or "Use No Hooks" (in English and in the language of the country of destination)
  • Port of entry
  • Labels for hazardous materials (universal symbols adapted by the International Air Transport Association and the International Maritime Organization)
  • Ingredients (if applicable, also included in the language of the destination country)
  • Packages should be clearly marked to prevent misunderstandings and delays in shipping. Letters are generally stenciled onto packages and containers in waterproof ink. Markings should appear on three faces of the container, preferably on the top and on the two ends or the two sides. Any old markings must be completely removed from previously used packaging.

Wood Packaging

A lot of suppliers use wood packing products to ship goods. It is used for bracing or securing a load while in transit so not to get damaged in transit. Wood packing can include crates, pallets, drums, dunnage and skids.

Wood Packaging ISPM 15

International Standards For Phytosanitary Measures No. 15 (ISPM 15) is an International Phytosanitary Measure developed by the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC). The IPPC is an international treaty to secure action to prevent the spread and introduction of pests of plants and plant products, and to promote appropriate measures for their control. ISPM15 is a standard on which many countries Wood Packaging Material regulations are based upon.

ISPM 15 affects all wood used for packaging, crating, pallets, dunnages, etc. of your international imports and exports shipments must be ISPM 15 Wood with the IPPC ISPM 15 stamp clearly shown on the wood products being used.

Pacific Customs Brokers can help advise you on how to better your chances of success with Wood Packaging Materials compliance. We can provide you with helpful information to avoid delays and refusals and manage the entire Customs process seamlessly.

Request a Freight Quote Ask a Question

Cargo/Shipping Insurance

It is strongly recommended, and makes for good commercial sense, to ensure that shipping insurance adequately covers your shipment. Never assume that your goods are covered by insurance, either by yourself or your customer. Remembering that your customer insurance is meant to cover them and may not offer you any coverage or protection.

Many customers assume that their corporate insurance may cover your goods while it is being shipped. This again may not be the case. Or, even if there is coverage, it may not be adequate.

It is crucial that you ensure that your goods are adequately covered for any and all contingencies prior to shipment - be it an export or import. Insurance must be in place prior to the shipment of the goods in order to offer it full protection.

Pacific Customs Brokers offers Freight and Shipment Insurance solutions. To find out more speak with our logistics specialists today.

Most exporters rely on an international freight forwarder to perform these services because of the multitude of considerations involved in physically exporting goods.

Request a Freight Quote Ask a Question

Shipping Documents

Shipping documents allow the shipment to pass through Customs, to be loaded onto a carrier and transported to its destination. You or your freight forwarder can prepare shipping documents.

Key shipping documents include:

  • A commercial invoice
  • A special packing or marking list
  • A certificate of origin
  • A certificate of insurance
  • A bill of lading

Bill of Lading

A written receipt issued by a carrier, a transport company, that it has taken possession and received an item of property. It usually also confirms the details of delivery (such as method, time, place or to whom), and serves as the carrier's title for the purpose of transportation. It is commonly used for land and ocean freight. An air waybill is used for air freight.

Note: The ocean bill of lading can be a negotiable instrument that passes title to the goods. Other types of bills pass title to the consignee as soon as the goods are delivered.

Tip: Goods shipped by all modes are typically insured for 110% of their CIF value. Cargo insurance is written with a 10% loading or policy advance. This additional 10% of the value is not necessarily intended to cover loss of profit but to cover costs overlooked in the original calculations, as well as unexpected costs like losses due to currency fluctuation.

Purpose of shipping documents

  • Allow for legal export from Canada
  • Required for the freight to be accepted by the carrier and transported through to the destination
  • Allow the shipment to enter the foreign country through their customs agency


  • B13A Export Declaration
  • Commercial Invoice
  • Packing Slip
  • Certificate of Origin
  • Free Trade Certificates
  • Bill of Lading
  • Certificate of Insurance

A Freight Forwarder can assist in the completion of shipping documents. But the Shipper signs the paperwork and attests to its accuracy and is ultimately held responsible.

Pacific Customs Broker can assist you in completing the required shipping documents. Contact our logistics specialists for assistance with your shipping documents.

Request a Freight Quote Ask a Question

For more information on shipping documents visit the Export Documentation section of our website.