If you are a commercial trucking company based in the United States that hauls cross-border freight to Mexico, it is important that you understand the insurance considerations of cross-border shipping as well as compliance with international law.
This article is not an exhaustive or complete list of the legal and insurance requirements to ship freight across the United States & Mexico border, which is why we recommend seeking the expertise of an insurance agency that specializes in transportation compliance.
United States & Mexico Customs Compliance
Certain goods are prohibited or restricted from entering Mexico.
Moreover, cross-border freight is subject to customs, an international legal process that requires several pieces of necessary documentation.
Preparing the necessary paperwork in advance will streamline the customs process and ultimately help you avoid costly oversights and delays. A customs broker will further streamline the process, as their job and function is to facilitate the process of ensuring that shipments are cleared by customs, submitting the paperwork and payment of fees required by regulations that may change at any time. The United States Customs and Border Protection has a database that can be used to search for customs brokers by each port.
The documents required to clear shipments through customs across the United States & Mexico border include (but are not limited to) the commercial invoice, bill of lading, certificate of origin, and Document of Operations for Customs Clearance (DODA).
The commercial invoice provides several pieces of important information, including the exporter’s legal contact information, date of shipment, as well as the description, weight, price, and currency of each item.
The bill of lading is generated by the exporter with their contact information as well as the description, price, and weight of goods, sent to either you or your customs broker. The bill of lading proves that there is a contract between the exporter and your business, the shipping service provider.
The certificate of origin is required for any claim that the goods are qualified for preferential tariff treatment under the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Mexico Operating Compliance for American-Owned Trucking Fleets
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) states on its website: “The Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Transportes (SCT) regulates truck traffic in Mexico and it has established a program to allow U.S. motor carriers to provide long haul trucking services. The requirements for registering and contact information may be found on the SCT web site.”
The FMCSA has insurance requirements for commercial trucking companies to obtain operating authority. However, it is imperative to know that the insurance issued to motor carriers in the United States are not valid in Mexico, which renders you fully liable for the cargo upon entering Mexico.
To navigate the customs process and manage the risk of cross-border shipping, it is best to work with a United States customs broker who facilitates clearance alongside a Mexico-based customs broker, as well as a Mexico-based carrier to forward the freight with transloading or through-trailer.
If you operate commercial trucking services between or along the United States and Mexico border, SWAN Insurance understands that you need to fulfill cross-border shipments, avoid penalties or downtime through customs, and protect your business from risks like damage and theft.
If you have questions about compliance or insurance for United States & Mexico cross-border shipping, our agents would love to speak to you and see how we can help.
Call Us Today: 858-381-3108