Which is the cheapest courier from Canada to the USA?

Which is the cheapest courier from Canada to the USA?

The cheapest courier from Canada to the USA depends on many factors, such as the parcel’s billable weight and size, how far it travels, and the speediness of its journey.

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by Paul Bourque

Mar 11, 2024

Key Points

  • Factors affect courier costs - weight, size, distance, and service levels.
  • Parcel costs based on size, pack efficiently for smaller bills.
  • Fuel surcharge, oversize fee, residential delivery, Saturday service, and insurance.
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Which is the cheapest courier from Canada to the USA?

The cheapest courier from Canada to the USA depends on many factors, such as the parcel’s billable weight and size, how far it travels, and the speediness of its journey. As well, couriers offer different levels of service and the rates fluctuate based on seasons (think of the Christmas holiday period when shipping volumes surge).

Shipping could also include other costs from fuel surcharges, oversize fees, residential delivery, Saturday services, and insurance. Finally, duties and taxes are also very likely to be applied to your shipment. So, shipping may not be as simple as you first thought; however, help is available from Secureship, a Canadian shipping broker whose easy-to-use online platform will help you find the cheapest way to ship to the USA.

Table of Contents

  • A Parcel’s Billable Weight
  • Beyond Billable Weight
  • Duties and Taxes
  • Conclusion

A Parcel’s Billable Weight

Of course, heavier, larger packages cost more to ship than lighter, smaller ones. But you likely have little control over the parcel’s weight and therefore, over this price input; however, the parcel’s size is another matter.

Carriers base their shipping fees on a parcel’s billable weight, which is a calculated value using its dimensions. The volume of the box is determined from width x length x height, and then multiplied by 139 (if using Imperial measurements). The resultant value is compared to the parcel’s actual weight, and the bigger number is used for billing purposes. The message is: if possible, pack the goods in a smaller box.

However, using an irregularly shaped box, as shown below, may not be advantageous because length, width, and height will be measured at the maximum point for each. And that increases its calculated volume and billable weight.

irregularly shaped box

So depending on the circumstances, a smaller box may not be a price advantage.

Beyond Billable Weight

Once a parcel’s billable weight is established and the baseline shipping fee assessed, other service costs may add to your shipment’s final total transportation costs.

Fuel surcharge

This fee is calculated based on the price of oil, and so it is beyond anyone’s control, and it changes due to international political and economic events.

Oversize fee

As discussed, a larger package incurs a higher shipping fee, but if the parcel exceeds a certain size or weight, then an oversize fee will result.

For example, should you use UPS as your courier, a container heavier than 68 kg or longer than 2.74 m will be assessed a $1,100 surcharge (see p. 139 for details) during the regular shipping season. At peak shipping times, say the Christmas holiday period, this fee could be as high as $1,550.

Residential delivery

Though convenient for the recipient, residential delivery has a price. So, as a way of saving money, you could have the parcel delivered to the recipient’s workplace or to the courier’s local office.

Saturday pickup and delivery

Saturday services for pickup and delivery have a cost. So, unless absolutely necessary for your business or client’s needs, avoiding this choice will help keep your shipping costs in check.


Insurance is an optional expense to cover contingencies such as loss or damage to a parcel; though be advised that not all goods are insurable.

Included amongst the uninsurable items are:

  • Artwork and antiques
  • Breakables – televisions, glass and ceramic goods
  • Currencies
  • Hazardous materials
  • Liquids and perishable goods (e.g. foodstuffs)
  • Luggage and personal property (e.g. jewellery)

If you purchase insurance, you must package the items in bubble wrap or package peanuts, and sufficiently far from each other so that bangs and jars will be absorbed by the padding. Refer to ISTA 3A packaging standards for further details and specifications. Failure to abide by these standards could result in invalidated insurance should goods be damaged in transit.

Duties and Taxes

Duties and taxes are applied to imports for two main reasons: to protect national industries and raise revenues for the country, and the United States is no different. However, under the terms of the USMCA (the free trade agreement between the USA, Mexico, and Canada), many goods shipped to the USA from Canada have reduced or no duties. That said, certain products entering the USA have notable import duties – alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, chocolate and confectionery.

But unlike most nations, the USA does not have a value added tax (VAT or GST) though goods may be assessed a state sales tax up to 7.25% of the cost of the goods.


There is no simple answer to the question: Which is the cheapest courier from Canada to the USA? A lot depends on the parcel’s weight and size, how far it travels and how soon it arrives at its destination. And there are other fees that may apply to a shipment – fuel surcharge, oversize fee, residential delivery, Saturday services, and insurance. As well, the goods may incur duties and taxes, which typically are paid by the recipient, but are nonetheless a consideration for the sender.

But information, help, and huge savings (up to 50%) are available to you when you ship from Canada to the USA using Secureship.

About Secureship

About Secureship

Secureship® offers an online service that helps businesses and organizations ship more efficiently and affordably.

Providing instant price shopping across multiple carriers, Secureship is the best choice for reduced rate shipping. In addition, Secureship offers benefits such as a consolidated shipping system regardless of the carrier you choose, built-in address book, convenient invoicing and shipment management.

Visit our shipping estimate tool to see how much you can reduce your shipping expenses.