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Border Inspection


Your shipment is being held at the border by Customs officers for further inspection. This can happen for one of several reasons:

  • Random selection
  • FDA /CFIA inspection (food and legal drug)
  • Previous clearance issues with your company
  • Previous clearance issues with your type of commodity
  • Incomplete documentation
  • Imprecise commodity descriptions
  • Declaration inconsistencies (e.g., quantity, cost, country of origin)
  • Missing documentation (e.g., import permits)
  • Inconsistent documentation
  • Missing “country of origin” labelling
  • Rude driver
  • Nervous driver
  • Officer suspicions
  • Shipment-specific red flag (e.g., cargo x-ray image, sniffer dog alert)
  • Pre-planned investigation
  • Heightened enforcement
  • Security alerts


  1. The carrier calls us to tell us your shipment is being held for inspection.
  2. We pass this information on to you. Because the specific reason for an individual inspection is rarely initially revealed, there is no way to estimate the length of time the inspection will take. There is also no way to predict how detailed the inspection will be, or whether the freight will have to be removed (devanned) from the truck to facilitate the inspection. If the freight is to be removed, this will be performed by a separate contractor under the inspection officer’s direction.
  3. When the inspection has been completed, Customs will report the results to the carrier, and to you if necessary. Possible results include:
    • All clear
    • Additional paperwork required
    • Held for further investigation
    • Shipment rejected, turned back
    • Shipment seized
  4. The carrier will tells us the results, and we will tell you. We will also tell you if there are specific actions, e.g., submission of additional paperwork, for you to take.
  5. Once the inspection has been completed, including any follow-up activities, we will provide you an estimate of the costs, possibly including waiting time, de-vanning (unloading and re-loading at an inspection dock), and diversion.


A quick inspection will produce only minimal delays. A detailed inspection could result in the shipment being rejected, held, or seized. Delivery of the shipment will be delayed by 1 – 3 days.
There will be additional charges, the nature and extent of which will depend on the extent and outcome of the inspection.


Every individual, vehicle and shipment that crosses an international border is subject to the fullest inspection possible. In the case of highway freight, this inspection can include unloading the freight from the truck, unpacking the freight from its containers, and submitting samples of the freight to scientific testing. As an integral part of the process, an inspection can also include investigations of the shipper, the exporter, the importer the receiver, and any third party that may have prepared supporting documentation, such as content or quality certifications. While most inspections are completed in a few hours, the entire process can take days or weeks.

Border inspections, albeit infrequent, are just one part of conducting international business, and the cost of the border inspections are to the account of the customer ordering the shipment.


Delivery of your shipment is delayed by half a day to a day.
Additional charges are in the $200 to $800 range.