Canadians can now pick up packages waiting for them for two years in U.S.

OGDENSBURG, N.Y. — With land borders now reopened, Canadian residents can finally cross over to pick up packages sitting in border towns like Ogdensburg, New York.

One Ottawa man made it his mission to be one of the first people over Monday morning, so he could grab items that have been waiting for him since 2019.

“I’m very exited about it,” said Metcalfe resident Wolfgang Schulz. “Don’t tell the wife, but I think I’ve got 35 or 40 packages!”

Schulz continued to order items online throughout the pandemic, getting them shipped to the UPS Store in Ogdensburg, directly across the St. Lawrence River from Johnstown, Ont.

The items include NASCAR die cast cars, model trains, and even a guitar.

The two hours it took him to cross the border were not a problem.

“It was quite busy this morning but it was less busy than I thought,” he said. “I was planning for four hours, so I guess that a plus.”

Wolfgang Schulz

Many Canadians use services like this near border towns says UPS Store manager Orin Wing.

“It saves them thousands of dollars to pick the merchandise up versus shipping it,” he said, “and it’s great because a lot of companies in the States will do free shipping, especially if it’s domestic.”

His small warehouse is filled to the roof with items such as paddleboards and bicycles.

Wing says there are approximately 15,000 packages waiting for Canadians to pick them up.

“We’ve still got everybody’s stuff from 2019, from Christmas, and ready for them to come back and get their merchandise again,” Wing said. “Some customers have 500 packages here.

“We waived the holding fees for everything. We knew that for Canadians, it wasn’t anybody’s fault that they couldn’t cross the border, so we decided to keep everything here in the meantime, keep the business open and keep shipping open for people that did want to ship,” Wing said.

“We went from, pre-pandemic, receiving 500 packages a day, and we would have anywhere from two to three hundred customers that would pick them up every single day.”

Orin Wing

With news of the border reopening, Wing says shipments have started to tick up over the last few weeks as Canadian customers starting buying again.

But the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) also reminds people that duty still needs to be paid on goods coming back into the county, no matter how long they’ve been sitting in the U.S.

“Just give us the total amount and we will be able to take it from there,” says CBSA superintendent Valérie Chevrier, adding that keeping all your receipts will save you time at the border.

“So that whenever the officer does ask you for your declaration, you have it set and ready to go and then the officer can make their appropriate calculations as per the taxes and duties possibly owing on those goods,” Chevrier said.

Wing says he’s happy to see the border reopen, giving a much needed boost to upstate New York businesses.

“We’ve been waiting a long time. The Canadians are such a crucial part of business for northern New York, and pretty much the entire northern part of the United States,” Wing said, adding some advice for customers.

“If you’ve got more than five packages, give us a call ahead of time, one to two days ahead, before you come over and we can pull them for you and set them all aside,” Wing said. “So, when they come in, they come up, we’ve already got them pre-counted for them, we know how many are there, we can charge you, it saves an absolutely ton of time for the customer.”

Wolfgang Schulz

Schulz is planning to spend some time in the U.S., heading down to Charlotte, North Carolina on a mini vacation.

“This was my plan. Everybody at work knew about it, because I’m taking my holidays when the border opens. The border opens, I took my holidays so I’m here, absolutely,” Schulz laughed, saying he thought this day would never come.

“I was worried that it would never open again at some point and I was trying to figure out how I going to do some stuff,” he laughed looking over his packages.

“I feel like a kid at Christmas! All my Christmas presents!” he said.

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