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Choosing the Best Method for Shipping Goods in Canada: A Simplified Guide

Transporting cargo in Canada is fairly simple once you’ve decided which method is best for your specific needs. Make sure you familiarise yourself with the options before you plan your shipment.
By · April 2, 2024
Choosing the Best Method for Shipping Goods in Canada: A Simplified Guide

Moving goods around Canada can feel daunting, especially because the country is so big and there are so many options and companies to choose from.

It’s important to consider crucial factors such as cargo type, size, weight and your time frame before deciding which option will be best for you. Luckily there are many options in Canada, and this article is all about exploring Canada’s transportation services. Keep reading and you will feel more confident in how to move forward with transporting your cargo, even if it's your first time doing it.

There are 5 main ways to move cargo within Canada

Road and truck cargo transport in Canada

Road and truck transport Canada

Truck transport is the most common way to move goods and cargo in Canada. This is partially due to Canada’s extensive system of roads and highways. It’s also the main way of moving things from the United States into Canada. Canada has 146 international border crossings, 120 of which are roadways and the other 26 being rail lines.

The system is effective but far from perfect. Rules and regulations differ province-to-province, and also across the border to the United States. Additionally, Canada is experiencing a trucker shortage which is causing issues with getting cargo delivered on schedule. Despite these challenges, road transport is still a decent way to move your stuff within the country.

How to transport cargo, animals and vehicles by land in Canada

Here are details on how to transport common items, animals and vehicles within Canada:

  • Personal items - You can easily move your possessions from A to B within Canada is by working with a moving company. Moving experts handle everything from packing to transportation. Their efficiency and expertise lead to quicker and less stressful moves compared to attempting to do it yourself, and they help to minimise delays or mishaps on the road. Professional movers are trained to handle household items safely, and their insurance coverage provides financial protection in the event of an incident. Top Move can connect you with the best moving companies to move your items efficiently, at the lowest cost.

  • Pets - The best way to transport your pet is to work with a professional pet-moving company, as regular moving companies aren’t allowed to transport pets. It’s important to choose the right carrier for your pet. The carrier should be big enough for your pet to move comfortably, and have proper ventilation. Get your pet used to being in the carrier by lining it with familiar bedding and favourite toys or items. This helps reduce stress during the journey, whether by air or car, as most airlines permit dogs, cats, birds, and fish in air freight under specific guidelines. Top Move can line you up with the right company so that your pet is in the best hands.

READ: Moving With Pets Made Easy: 7 Best Pet Carriers and Pet Transporters

  • Livestock - There are many businesses in Canada providing livestock transport in Canada. Part XII of the Health of Animals Regulations covers requirements for livestock transportation of all animals into, within and out of Canada. Everyone involved in livestock transport either directly or indirectly must assess the animal(s) for fitness. Only animals that are fit for the journey are allowed to be transported.

  • Vehicles - The most cost-effective way to ship a vehicle within Canada is by working with a multi-car carrier. These carriers are capable of transporting four or more vehicles at a time, reducing costs and saving time for the vehicle owners. Opting for drop-off points instead of having the car delivered to your property can also make things more affordable. Reach out to Top Move and we can point you in the direction of the most efficient company to ship your car at the lowest price.

READ: How to Prepare Your Car For Transport

Air Cargo Transport in Canada

Air Transport Canada

Let’s not forget, Canada is massive. Air transport is the fastest way to ship cargo, especially across large distances. The are a bunch of steps involved in the process of shipping cargo by air:

  1. Assess your shipping needs by considering the type of goods, the shipment size, weight, destination and how fast you need the items shipped.

  2. Choose a reliable air cargo company.

  3. Gather the proper documents such as commercial invoices, insurance certificates, packing lists and any specific permits if needed.

  4. Make sure your packages are adequately packaged and labelled.

  5. Coordinate cargo pickup with the transport service.

Remember that air cargo in Canada also carries temperature-controlled and hazardous goods, each requiring specific handling procedures and safety measures as per Canadian regulations.

Railway cargo transport in Canada

Rail and Train Transport Canada

Benefits of transporting cargo by rail in Canada

One of the main advantages of rail transport is cost-effectiveness, especially if you are transporting large or regular shipments of cargo. Rail transport is more environmentally friendly than trucks or aeroplanes, as trains emit fewer greenhouse gases per ton of fright.

5 Steps to Prepare for Transporting Cargo by Rail in Canada

  1. Consider what kind of items you plan to transport. Make sure you are aware of any regulations for shipping hazardous materials.

  2. Understand rail shipping rates for your items.

  3. Compare your options to find the best rates and services for your individual needs.

  4. Find suitable containers for your cargo, and make sure they meet necessary hygiene standards.

  5. Get your documents in order including invoices and permits.

Marine Cargo Transport in Canada

Marine Cargo Transport in Canada

Benefits of transporting cargo by water in Canada

Canada has an extensive coastline and access to major waterways such as the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic oceans and the Great Lakes. If you are shipping a very large volume of cargo, marine transport can be very cost-effective. Maritime shipping can also provide access to remote and/or northern areas of Canada and contribute to the economy in these areas. It’s also environmentally friendly in comparison to air transport.

Multimodal and Intermodal Transport in Canada

Container Transport in Canada

Multimodal transport utilises multiple modes of transportation such as road, rail, sea or air within a single shipment. Goods are transferred seamlessly between different transport modes to make the shipment more efficient and cost-effective. This method of transporting cargo is often the most flexible, fast and scalable.

Intermodal transport is similar and uses standardised containers or trailers that can easily be transferred between modes without having to unpack and repack the cargo. This streamlines the whole process while reducing overall costs.

There are several Canadian companies that offer multimodal and intermodal transport services.

Understanding your specific transport needs is important so that you can save time and spend less. Leveraging services like Top Move to navigate cargo transportation ensures the smoothest process to get your things from A to B.

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