Shipping Crate to Canada

Posting this on behalf of Team 931 leader Frank Dressel. It would be nice if teams who plan on going to GTR next week could avoid the situation we encountered getting our crate to Waterloo.

We got our robot hung up in customs where in Mississauga, Ontario where FedEx brought it to clear customs enroute to Waterloo. So we will end up using Mendelssohn Livingston customs services to the tune of $640+.

In the weeks before shipping I called and spoke to FedEx twice at their 1-800 number to ask about the upcoming shipment. Both times they said the shipment should go door-to-door ok. I did include the Canadian customs invoice form with the Fedex shipping documents and declared the robot value as $5,000. I was also told that the robot needed to get to Waterloo by Monday the 19th which apparently is a goal, not a requirement. Since then, I’ve learned we should have held the robot in St. Louis until this Monday and declared its value as under $1,000 (probably realistic value). Seems that since the robot is in Canada over 5 days and maybe because it’s over $1,000 we fall into rules requiring greater customs requirements such as bonded agents.

We learned of our problems when I noticed our shipment delayed in Mississauga and then FedEx called saying they were handing our crate over to a customs agent to clear up “issues.” So Mario from Mendelssohn happily called to offer his help. Being now caught between a rock and a hard place, I had to approve them to get our robot to and from Waterloo. (I got to wonder if there aren’t friendly handshakes going on at this port.)

Oh well, wish I could have found out the rules of game before we put our money down on the table. Hope the US teams going to the upcoming Toronto Regional can avoid this expense.

See you in Waterloo
Frank Dressel
Team 931
St. Louis, MO

I am sorry to hear of your issues. I guess because we travel to the US all the time we have learned the best ways. There are times when it has cost us. We did however ship to the US for $300 - $400 to FLR. I know a team shipped from Mississauga to, I believe, SVR and it was done on a next day for about $600.00. All in Canadian money. Any team wishing to come to Canada should contact Vance Scott. You can find contact info at
We love to have US teams and really any teams that would like to attend, have a good experience in Canada. If you ask other US teams that have come you also may be able to pick up pointers. Team 48 I believe has come every year, I am sure that they could help.
I have just talked to Vance and we will try to email all non Canadian teams with shipping helpers when they sign up for future events.

Thanks, Steve.

Team 48 is always happy to assist any US teams shipping to Canada. Please PM me if you need anything.

You know, we actually had some trouble shipping from Rochester to Waterloo. It seems that Customs couldn’t figure out how something made in Canada could be going from New York to Ontario; they decided to hold on to it for a while, as they pondered that question. Yellow Freight arranged for us to get it released, and it should be on it’s way now.