How to Ship Equipment to Mexico

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Francisca Olive / June 2023

Trade between the US and Mexico exponentially increased after the North American Free Trading agreement was signed. This agreement allows for free trade between the countries and greatly benefits businesses. However, shipping equipment to Mexico can be complicated, especially if you don’t know what you are doing. The processes require proper planning, documentation, and compliance with several regulations. If you don’t have the right information, you might experience some setbacks and frustrating limitations, causing delays and increased shipping costs. We’ll walk you through the basics and requirements you need to adhere to when shipping equipment to Mexico.

Required Documents

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Every country has special shipping regulations, and it’s important to familiarize yourself with these before transporting equipment to Mexico. Ensure you have a bill of lading filled out by the buyer and carrier. This document can either be in Spanish or English and should contain details like the type of equipment, quantity of goods, and their place of origin. The shipper must also submit a commercial invoice showing the buyer’s and seller’s business addresses and the seller’s Tax ID number.

Mexican law requires that you declare the equipment’s value. Note that inaccurate declaration could lead to penalization. The shipper also needs to submit a copy of the NAFTA certificate of origin to certify the eligibility of the freight for preferential tariff. Have a professional translator translate the paperwork into Spanish for better communication throughout logistics.

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Contact Customs Broker

If you want to ship commercial equipment to Mexico, you will benefit from the help of a customs broker. They help prepare documents, calculate taxes, and trade duties to help you cross the border quickly and avoid delays. A custom broker also keeps up with the changing regulations regarding the entry of goods into a country and can help you avoid penalties. While you can still clear your freight with customs alone, hiring a customs broker makes the shipping process much easier.

Choose the Right Shipping Service

You have two shipping options if you wish to transport equipment to Mexico. One option is the through-trail service, whereby you ship equipment from pick-up to the final destination in the same trailer. This doesn’t mean that only one driver handles your cargo. Mostly the shipping process may involve three drivers, one to pick up the load from the shipper, another one who takes the cargo through the border, and the last driver who makes the final delivery. This is the best shipping method for fragile, high-value equipment. Through-trail shipping protects your cargo from damage due to limited handling while in transition. However, the freight will still have to go through customs inspections. This is also the right shipping service for over-dimensional equipment or when you need to move the equipment urgently to an easily accessible area in Mexico.

The other option is transloading, where you transfer your freight from one truck to another during border crossing. For this option, a carrier picks up the equipment from the shipper, clears customs at the Mexico border, and then unloads the freight in a transload facility. Another driver will pick up the equipment and deliver it to the final destination. This option gives you more flexibility. However, transloading suits easily unloadable equipment. It’s also a great option when delivering equipment to remote parts of Mexico.

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Account for Handling Times and Delay

Just like shipping cargo to other international countries, you will experience customs delays in Mexico, so plan your delivery schedule accordingly. Freight handling time will depend on the carriers; therefore, pick a reliable company.

Keep in mind that Mexico has a very large geographical area. So shipping equipment in remote or hard-to-access areas will take longer and cost more. The delivery process is a bit faster in bigger cities with more infrastructure. Transit time varies based on the route, weather, holidays, and driver’s resting time.

Key Takeaway

The processes involved when shipping goods cross-border can be very intimidating. If it’s your first time shipping to Mexico, you must familiarize yourself with legal procedures and complete the required paperwork. Any single mistake could lead to penalties and delays. As such, partner with a reliable shipping company. Professionals will get all the hard work done, and you won’t have to worry whether your freight safely crossed the border or reached the final destination on time.

William Thomas

William Thomas

Heavy Transport Specialist

Being able to lead a team of such talented logistics agents has been a wonderful experience over the past ten years. If you would like to know anything more about the heavy equipment transport services we offer, don't hesitate to give us a call!