Thunder Bay company launches service to retrieve packages stranded in United States
James Foulds is shifting the focus of his business from software development, to package retrieval
A new Thunder Bay, Ont., company has launched a service that will pick up packages that are stranded on the other side of the Canada-US border due to border closures brought on by COVID-19.
James Foulds founded Border Giant two years ago, he said, with the goal of creating software that would lower the cost of customs clearance – by automating the data entry process involved.
Registering the company as a commercial package delivery service was merely a means of testing his product, he said.
Since the border closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, Foulds' ability to cross the border as an essential service-provider has led to him being sought out by people desperate to get items from the other side.
Those include, "people who had wedding dresses stranded before their wedding, a gentleman who had a wheelchair for his son... and we got it for him the next day," he said. "There's a lady just last week who had a couple horses that they'd tried to get back to Thunder Bay, and they were denied a couple times at the border there."
About three weeks ago, Foulds made a formal decision to temporarily shift the focus of his business from software development to package retrieval, he said.
Already, he's had hundreds of inquiries.
"I think at this point it's fair to say that, yeah, we're going to be overwhelmed, and I'm letting everybody know yeah, there'll be a waiting list and all that," he added.
Foulds studied computer network engineering in school but worked in mining, international oil rigs and forest fire fighting with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry before turning to software and package delivery, he said.
He is not required to quarantine for 14 days after traveling to the US with his company, he explained.
He is charging $14.99 to retrieve parcels weighing under 40 pounds. The fees increase for heavier items.
At that price, shuttling items across the border won't make Foulds rich, he said, but he continues to focus on developing his customs software, and he views the pandemic package delivery service as an opportunity to develop it further, he said.
"So hopefully that will make me rich," he added laughing.