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Holy jumping borders, Batman
Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Last Friday, I ordered a new ThinkPad X60s from

(FYI, the same model in's site is roughly $1,500 more, i.e., $2,999.00 CAD + 15% TAX compared to $1,700.00 US + 7% GST + exchange rate--who says our strong dollar is bad news?)

Anyway, I like ordering things online, however, I hate waiting for them because I can keep track of where my shipment is at all times.

For example, my laptop is in "Clearance in progress" status--I keep checking FedEx's tracking system every 5 minutes, as they promise (well, I don't know about promise) to deliver my new toy on May 23, 2006 at 12:00 PM, and it is 11:33 AM already and there is no sign of cleared clearance (all I want to know is where is my computer?)

Three things should come out as benefits to you from this post.

First, have you ever noticed that FedEx's logo has an arrow pointing to the right? Weird, how we don't notice things, isn't it? Can you see it between the E and x?

Second, you will now know that any shipment from the US has to make quite a few jumps between borders. Check out my computer's routing so far (it looks like it has jumped the border thrice in one day):

Does anyone know why it is jumping all over the place?

And third, FedEx's "Subscribe to tracking updates" option doesn't work.

11:25 AM | 2 comment(s) |


The border back and forth action might be due to the fact that the laptop's customs clearance does not actually involve the physical machine i.e FedEx clears the laptop for you while it is still in transit.

In your case, clearance happens in Canada, not in the US.

So, if a customs related event occurs while the laptop is still in transit in the US, since FedEx shows its events ordered chronologically, it will seem be jumping back and forth.

Check out this theorectical example (times/places are not realistic, they are just to illustrate the point).

11:00am Miami, FL, US - Machine loaded on truck at say Miami
11:30pm Toronto, ON, Canada - Fedex lodges customs docs with Customs Canada> This shows up as a event at a location in Canada.
12:00noon Atlanta, GA, US - Machine is loaded in a different truck, shows up a US event, the laptop seems to have crossed back into the US
12:30 Toronto, ON, Canada - Customs acknowledges lodging of customs docs (Laptop seems to cross border again).
1:00pm Buffalo, NY, US - Machine loaded into another truck (seems to cross back into the US)
1:30pm Toronto, ON, Canada - Customs informs Fedex of amount due for duty (laptop goes to Canada again)
2:00pm Buffalo, NY, US - Laptop actually crosses

See what I mean?
By Anonymous Ntwiga, at 1:18 AM

Thanks Ntwiga.

That makes sense.

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