Getting Indonesian Goods to Canada

Choosing the right shipping method, or combination of methods, is vital to export success—Indonesian exporters should ensure that the product gets to Canada on time and at the lowest cost.

By Ocean

Most products being exported from Indonesia to Canada are transported by ocean. It is ideal for large items, bulk commodities, and non-urgent or non-expensive goods. Canada has 4 major container ports: Vancouver, Montreal, Price Rupert, and Halifax.

By Air

It is not very common for Indonesian exporters to ship by air freight because of the very high cost. Air freight is typically only used when the product is in urgent need, is small, or has a high value. Canada has 13 international airports. Shipping from Indonesia to Canada by air usually takes 2–4 days.

Canada is larger than you think!

As the 2nd largest landmass in the world, Canada encompasses nearly 10 million square kilometers. Be aware of travel time and transportation costs across the regions of Canada. It takes up to eight hours to fly across the country, and travelling by road or train takes several days.

By Train and Truck

Most goods from Indonesia enter Canada by air or ocean shipping and are further transported across the country on land by rail or highway truck freight.

Canadian Port of Entry

Most Indonesian shipments arriving by sea enter at Port Metro Vancouver on Canada’s west coast, however, the Port of Halifax on Canada’s east coast is not uncommon and can sometimes be a more suitable choice.

Distribution Within Canada

Given the large size of Canada, it is common practice for Indonesian exporters to consolidate shipments to the country’s three primary consumer markets—Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal. Goods are typically shipped to these three cities by rail. Delays in transporting your goods across Canada are not uncommon, especially between November to April, when snow and bad weather can slow things down.

Transportation Intermediaries

Indonesian exporters (or Canadian importers) will need to deal with a lot of documents and logistics when sending or bringing products to Canada. For this reason, most Indonesian exporters use freight forwarders and customs brokers.

Freight Forwarders

Freight forwarders can arrange for the transportation and delivery of goods in Canada. They can help select the best shipping routes to improve delivery times and negotiate carrier rates on behalf of the Indonesian exporter. Many specialize in arranging shipments to certain countries, while others concentrate on particular types of products. Their services can also include preparing, translating,

certifying and presenting shipping and customs documents, booking transportation space, obtaining

and claiming insurance, handling payments, securing charters, and arranging inland transportation

(air forwarders). Contacts can be found through the Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association (


Indonesian exporters of smaller shipments should consider using the services of a freight forwarder who offers the option of consolidating the shipment instead of shipping independently. Consolidation can result in lower shipping costs. It can also provide the convenience of a single billing and tracing service. Indonesian exporters should check the reliability, capability, and experience of the freight forwarder to find one best suited to their needs. One of the biggest challenges for Indonesian SME exporters is high shipping cost. Consolidating shipments can help reduce this cost.

Customs Brokers

Customs Brokers can help an Indonesian exporter clear goods through Canadian customs, prepare customs documentation, and help with payment of all import duties. They are also a good source of information on recent tariff changes and other customs-related developments. Lists of Customs Brokers can be found through the Canadian Society of Customs Brokers ( and CBSA: List of Licensed Customs Brokers (

Packing the Goods

Assume the products will have a bumpy ride, particularly if they are being shipped overseas.

Indonesian products should be packed to survive rough cargo handlers and poor roads. During transit, handling, and storage, goods may have to endure bad weather and extreme temperatures. If they need special temperature controls or other protective measures, the Indonesian exporter should be sure their products receive these. The type of shipping may determine the kind of packing used. For example, if the goods are carried by ship, it is important to know whether they will be placed above or below deck.

Proper outer packaging is vital. Sub-standard packaging may damage the product during shipping and create problems for the importer in clearing and marketing the goods. The importer may then refuse to do further business.

Outer Packaging

There should be consistency of packaging and package sizes, an orderly loading of containers, shipping marks on the master pack, and article numbers on the inner packs. Shipping containers must be clearly stamped or stenciled on a minimum of two sides, with all code markings in waterproof ink. Since buyers generally use this packaging to ship products out of warehouses, the packages should be sturdy enough for multiple handling. Reusable rather than disposable packaging also addresses environmental concerns.

Wooden Crates

All non-manufactured wood used as dunnage, pallets, crating, or other packaging material must be treated by heat, fumigation, or chemical preservatives before being allowed into Canada. Similar restrictions apply to packaging material consisting of straw and hay. All shipments containing solid wood

crating must be accompanied by an official phytosanitary or treatment certificate from Indonesia’s National Plant Protection Agency (NPPO) from the Indonesian Ministry of Agriculture. Shipments containing solid wood crating must be accompanied by an official phytosanitary or treatment certificate. Shipments not containing solid wood crating must carry a statement that it does not contain this on accompanying documents. Shipments not meeting these requirements may be seized or denied entry into Canada, with incurred costs being the importer’s responsibility.

Labels and marks

Exported products may not clear customs if labels do not conform to Canadian requirements, such as product weight or electrical standards. Marking distinguishes an Indonesian exporter’s goods from those of other shippers. Marks shown on the shipping container must agree with those on the bill of lading or other shipping documents, and may include some or all of the following:

  • Buyer’s name, or some other form of agreed identification
  • Point/port of entry into Canada
  • Gross and net weight of the product in kilograms and pounds
  • Identification of the country of origin, e.g. “Made in Indonesia”
  • Number of packages
  • Appropriate warnings or cautionary markings