Canadian custom brokerage companies


We own a small bead and jewelry supply store in Northern Canada, in
which we have to rely on shipping to get product. Frankly shipping
from the States is killing us. While there are many good wholesalers
in Canada there are deals that can be found in the States that could
make a difference to our success. Most wholesalers use UPS and for us
using them with their high brokerage fees is a killer.

We understand that we can use other custom brokerage companies that
charge far less. Does anyone know of a good firm that they can

Chris and Kate
Topaz Bead Gallery

Hi Chris

Have them send items by US post then Canada Post will pick it up. If
its expensive then add insurance.

The whole thing about paying brokerage fees is a huge rip off.

If you live near the border then open a US box account with the UPS
store and drive over to collect the items yourself. Declare the
items and pay the duty.

Happy New Ears to all


I don’t have any good suggestions but I do have a lot of sympathy for
your dilemma. I have found that UPS and others are inconsistent in
how they charge for border broker fees. I generally make small orders
(couple of hundred dollars) from the USA. UPS used to charge me a $40
broker fee on these small orders. Several months ago I made an order
with Rio Grande for $250, they shipped with UPS and this time UPS
only collected GST from me and did not charge any border broker fee.
I have had similar experiences with Fedex.

Given that I order from the USA only a couple of times a year, I
have not worked real hard at trying to solve the problem. I wish you
success at solving your issue.


Hi Chris & Co.

I recently worked for a glass specialty company where we shipped
things out regularly, and we used FedEx. Once you have established
an account with them, they start to give price breaks on all your
shipping, and they have a ton of brokerage companies that they use
for their customs.

Typical FedEx fees are ridiculous, I know, but you can talk them
down to good prices. We had one of their reps come in, reviewed our
account, and they actually cut the international shipping fees down
to our company by more than 75%. If you do any kind of volume with
your shipping, it is worthwhile to talk to them, as they will be
competitive to keep your business.

Not exactly an answer, but worth a try to at least get a dilog going
with them.


I use Peninsula Custom Brokers in Fort Erie. They were recommended
to me by a glassworker several years ago.


Anything coming in by UPS or whoever gets handled by Peninsula.


Hi Chris & Kate

I moved to southern BC about a year ago from Calgary, Alberta. My
husband just finished making me a new studio in one of the out
buildings on the property. To celebrate I treated myself to a new
goldsmith bench and rolling mill from Rio.

Because we are close to the border we have arrangements to pick up
things in northern Washington and pick them up ourselves and bring
them across ourselves. To my surprise (and delight) I found that I
could have my bench and roller delivered to our door for $100 less
that picking up in Washington. For 3 boxes (Bench, Rolling Mill and
misc. Tools) it cost only $368 and some change for shipping. This
was large and heavy so had to come by Truck Freight.

I have been using UPS on air shipping of silver and findings as the
broker as well. Turns out we have a guy right here in town who works
for World Wide Customs Brokers LTD. He was quite diligent and I
think he looked for the best (cheapest) way to clear each item. I
have found some items can be classified under more than one number.
For an order that with shipping came to over $5000 USD it cost only
$111 CAD plus Duties/GST $250 CAD. Following his instructions for the
labeling also meant that it came through the border without a hitch
even just before Christmas.

If you have questions you can email me.

Karen Bahr - Karen’s Artworx

You might check out the cost of UPS (or Fedex) air service vs their
ground service. Both include brokerage as part of their USA -> Canada
service when it’s air but not ground.

I share your experience with UPS Ground Service and we are close
enough to the border that we ship to the nearest border town and
twice a month pick up there. However ours are usually in the 50-100
lb range and this would be impractical by air.

Alternately UPS has a brokerage service you can sign up for that is
$15.00 per shipment plus a fixed fee per line on the customs invoice
(which can add up fast if it’s a varied shipment)

I definitely envy the US UPS cost structure - they charge a lot more
cross border to the extent that it is a definite barrier to doing
business in the US. We have had a number of US customers accusing us
of cheating them when shipping from Vancouver and it’s simply what
UPS charges. They’re great within the USA and great within Canada
but put the border between and it’s sheer hell.