Why You May See Additional Fees on Your Shipment Invoice
Although some imports may be duty-free, this doesn’t mean they’re free of all associated fees. Two small taxes, Harbor Maintenance Fees and Merchandise Processing Fees, are often overlooked and may come as a surprise when you receive your invoice. Though small, it’s important to include these values when running calculations and preparing for shipments. Read on to learn more about what exactly these fees are and how they apply to your products.
Harbor Maintenance Fee
Established in 1987, the Harbor Maintenance Fee (HMF) is assessed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection and is used for exactly what its name suggests: port and harbor maintenance. As such, these fees are applicable only to ocean imports and are equal to 1/800 of the value, or .125 percent of the shipment. There are no exclusions – all imports will be subject to HMF, even if they are part of a trade agreement like USMCA.
The full list of ports and harbors with HMF can be found here.
Merchandise Processing Fee
Unlike the Harbor Maintenance Fee, the Merchandise Processing Fee applies to both air and ocean imports. At .3464 percent, it also has a minimum and maximum: $27.23 and $528.33, respectively. It’s important to note that these two values are accurate as of October 2020 and change annually – SiShips ensures the current values are always used for calculation. Further, be sure to only calculate MPF on the declared value of the shipment. The value of any cargo insurance or additional duty should not be included.
MPF also differs from HMF in that there may be some exceptions. Certain Free Trade Agreements may see these fees waived. Sheltered International is available to help you understand whether the MPF will apply to your shipment.
How SiShips Can Help
Take the worry out of calculating fees for your shipments and let our software do it for you. Built on years of experience in the freight forwarding industry, SiShips streamlines your shipping process at every step. With shipment management, tracking, quoting, and other services, our software saves you valuable time and lets you focus more on growing your business.