The Packaging Depot in Langley City has been ‘crazy busy’ since it started helping Metro Vancouver residents get purchases from the U.S. into Canada during the border shutdown (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

The Packaging Depot in Langley City has been ‘crazy busy’ since it started helping Metro Vancouver residents get purchases from the U.S. into Canada during the border shutdown (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

How a B.C. business is getting purchases from the U.S. to Canadian buyers

Agreement with U.S. business to cut shipping costs has quadrupled work load, owner says

An agreement between a Langley City package and shipping business with a counterpart in Blaine is getting purchases by Canadians from U.S. businesses across the border during the current shutdown.

It has meant a lot more business than usual for the Packaging Depot on 200 Street, owner Mike Melville related.

“We’re crazy busy,” Melville told the Langley Advance Times.

Melville estimates the amount of shipments arriving at the family-owned business has nearly quadrupled since they started working with Mail Boxes International in Blaine.

“We didn’t do a whole lot of import [until now],” Melville said.

It’s probably the busiest they’ve been in 23 years in business, but they have no plans to hire additional staff at the moment, Melville said, something that would require bringing someone into their coronavirus “bubble.”

READ MORE: Non-essential travel restrictions at Canada-U.S. border extended to at least Nov. 21

When the Canada-US border was closed to all but nonessential traffic during the pandemic, it was bad news for Canadians who made online purchases of items in the U.S. and had them shipped to U.S. businesses like Mail Boxes International for pickup, a short drive across the line.

“Auto parts, eBay collectibles, shoes, and a variety of everyday items are easily found in the U.S., but not as easily in Canada.” explained Brant Baron, owner of Mail Boxes International.

READ ALSO: U.S.-Canada border closure hurts Washington state town

Baron shipped hundreds of packages up to Canada by courier after the border was ordered closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, but shipping internationally was just too expensive for it to be worth it to most people, according to Baron.

By sending a pallet full of several items to the Langley depot, the cost of shipping and clearance fees is shared among several people for a fraction of the cost, Baron said.

This, Baron elaborated, “cuts costs by allowing us to create a shipment with only one commercial invoice, with one shipping cost, to one central location.”

The only drawback is a longer trip that the U.S. – Canada border trip for some purchasers to the Langley location, but most seem to feel it’s worth it, Baron said.



dan.ferguson@langleyadvancetimes.com

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