[Video] How do I ship freight across the Mexico-U.S. border? – The only guide you need

 In Business, Carriers, Freight, FTL, infographic, Transporte de Carga, Trucking, Trucking

What is unique about Mexico-US freight shipping? 

The Mexico -U.S. land border crossing is one of the busiest in the world. Its geopolitical position, the type of goods that are transported, and the high cross-border control, make freight transportation across the border of Mexico and the US complex. 

Mexico-U.S. cross-border freight shipping process in brief:


  • Preparation of the shipment and paperwork
  • Freight transport from the origin to the US-Mexico border.
  • Cargo inspection on the US-Mexico border
  • Border-crossing: freight transport between the two borders, which is a movement made by the “transfer”
  • Freight transport from the US-Mexico border to the final destination.

What is the border-crossing transportation? 

When shipping freight from the US to Mexico, once the freight has arrived at the  US border crossing, your freight transport provider (Mexicom Group) arranges for a drayage carrier to move the shipment from the US side of the border to the Mexican side of the border.  This movement is called the border-crossing process.

Three essential things you need to  ship goods across the Mexico-US border



Shipping freight across the Mexico-US border is a complex process. It is important to count on a transportation company that has experience in cross-border freight shipping and can guide you through the process.


There are two options when choosing the transportation company that will help you with your freight shipments to Mexico: you can hire either a Carrier or a Freight Forwarder. 

A freight forwarder is a company in charge of organizing and managing the storage and transport of goods of a third party (the shipper), through the selection and contracting of the services of the carrier that will offer the real transport service of the load.

Mexicom USA is the Grupo Mexicom company, based in Laredo, focused on offering logistics solutions on the border between Mexico and the United States. We have our own fleet to help you transport your goods across the Mexico-US border crossing. 


It is important to make sure that the company receiving or sending goods from/to Mexico is registered as an exporter/importer for the specific product that is going to be transported across the Mexico-USA border crossing. The importer/exporter must be registered with the Mexican Tax Authority (SAT).


The use of a customs broker is compulsory when shipping freight to or from Mexico. A Mexican customs broker facilitates the paperwork, inspection, and cross-docking and follows through until your merchandise is fully cleared through customs. The Mexican Customs Broker has to have a comprehensive understanding of the Mexican importation and exportation process. 

Laredo: the international logistics hub to North America.

Known as “Los dos Laredos”, Laredo-Nuevo Laredo is a transborder city along the U.S.-Mexico border that has become the international logistics hub in North America. With over 4 million commercial trucks crossing through Port Laredo every year, the Port has become THE point connecting the Canada-U.S.- Mexico trade route. 

Through June, Laredo Port was the Top 1  among the U.S.  airports, seaports, and border crossings. This port is responsible for 37%  of U.S. trade with Mexico. which is the US’s No. 2 trade partner. Through June, the latest data available from the U.S. Census Bureau,   U.S. trade with No. 1 Port Laredo rose 19.68 percent to $141.4 billion.

On a year-to-date basis, trade at Port Laredo was valued at $145.1 billion, an increase of 20.21 percent through June.

Also, tends to rank either first or second nationally for the value of its exports.

Mexicom USA  has 3 warehouses available in Laredo, TX.  to offer to its customers the following services: 

  • Cross-docking
  • Load consolidation and deconsolidation
  • Local freight movements
  • Short-term storage
  • Bridge crossing for imports and exports

Document checklist  for cross-border freight transportation at the Mexico-US border 

Bill of lading. As described above, also called BL or BoL, is a document signed by the Shipper and the Transportation company, as well as by the receiver when it receives the goods. The bill of lading includes:

  • The details of the goods (weight, pallets, description,etc)
  • The quantity
  • The origin of the goods
  • The destination of the goods
  • Freight charge terms, among other information.

The Letter of Instructions. As mentioned above, the Letter of instructions is a document that needs to be provided by the freight forwarder and filled up by the shipper. This document instructs the freight forwarder on how and where to handle the export shipment. It contains:

  • Shipper’s information
  • Customs broker information
  • Consignee’s information
  • Merchandise description (pick-up number, type of merchandise, weight, number of pallets, type of equipment)
  • Billing information, among other information.


DODA. The DODA is an acronym for Documento de Operación para el Despacho Aduanero, in Spanish, and is the new document for customs clearance, effective since April 2018. It replaces the need for other customs documents, such as the Pedimento and is generated through the MX Customs portal or through the designated Customs broker web service.

The DODA includes the following information:

  • Customs and section (Customs office).
  • CAAT number (carrier alphanumeric code).
  • Transport identification number (plates).
  • The information of the pedimentos that are validated and paid among other information.

Cargo Manifest is a document prepared by a licensed U.S. customs broker. The manifest gives the commercial details of the goods, such as:

  • Transport document numbers
  • Shipper, consignee
  • Bill of Lading No.
  • Marks and numbers
  • Number and kind of package
  • Number and kind of packages, description of goods, unit No
  • Gross weight
  • Freight details, charges, among other information.

Canceled bond. The bond is sent to the customs broker to be canceled. Once the bond has been canceled, the trailer is then transported to cross the US-Mexico border.

The Carta porte is a legal document that proves the existence of a transport contract between the shipper and the carrier. It is issued by the carrier and it informs about the terms in which the transportation agreement was made and attributes rights over the transported goods.The carta porte includes the following information:

  • Carrier’s information
  • Shipper’s information
  • Consignee’s information
  • Description of the goods
  • Observations
  • Truck plate
  • Value of the goods
  • Payment conditions

CFDI with Complemento Carta Porte  The issuance of the Complemento Carta Porte or Bill of Lading Supplement became mandatory as of January 1, 2022. However, it will be until January 1st, 2023, when there will be sanctions if the Bill of Lading Supplement is not issued correctly; or if it contains errors or omissions of information.

The carrier in charge of the transportation of the goods is in charge of issuing an invoice with Complemento Carta Porte or Bill of Lading Supplement. While the logistics company, such as Mexicom Logistics, will only issue an invoice without the Complemento Carta Porte or Bill of Lading, under the concept of “Logistic Services”.

Proof of delivery. The Carta Porte becomes the Proof of Delivery when it is signed by the consignee at the reception of the load. The proof of delivery proves that the cargo was shipped. If the freight is damaged or there are missing pieces at the moment of the delivery, the Consignee has to mention it in the Proof of delivery.




In the context of ground transportation across the Mexico-US border,  transloading is the process of transferring goods and materials from one trailer  to another trailer, at the border. This means that during the border-crossing process,  the drayage company will take the trailer across the border to a transload facility, where the load is going to be transferred from the American trailer to a Mexican trailer. The Mexican truck will complete the transportation of the goods until the final destination.

Be aware that in the logistics and supply chain world, the word transloading can refer also to the process of “transferring a shipment from one mode of transportation to another”. For example when a shipment requires to be transported by truck to an airport, then by plane overseas.



Through-trailer or “direct shipment” occurs when the load is transported in the same trailer from the pick-up point to the final destination. During the border-crossing process,  the drayage company will take the trailer from the American carrier’s yard to a partner’s yard in  Mexico, so the load will remain in the same trailer during the whole border-crossing process.

Marben Acosta Teran oversees the overall international B2B marketing strategy for Mexicom Logistics. She is passionate about building a solid brand while creating useful content for its audience. Marben loves learning more about the industry and being part of the Mexicom family.
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