What are Harbor Maintenance Fees (HMF)?

You have just cleared your first ocean shipment into the United States, the process went smoothly and you are expecting to import more product into the U.S. from overseas; your business plan is coming together.

Upon receipt of your first invoice from your U.S. Customs Broker you notice an additional charge that does not equal the original expenses you had expected. When you phone them, they explain that every ocean shipment into the U.S. is subject to a Harbor Maintenance Fee (HMF). Thankfully, your first shipment was small and your Harbor Maintenance Fee was low.

What can you expect for future shipments?

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has been collecting the Harbor Maintenance Fee for years. HMF was mandated by the Water Resource Development Act of 1986. It has been in effect since April of 1987.  As of March 31, 1998, it is no longer collected on exports. The fees that are collected are used for the improvement and maintenance of ports and harbors.  You can obtain a list of harbor maintenance fee ports on the CBP website.

The Importer of Record is liable for paying the Harbor Maintenance Fees and is paid when the entry summary is filed by your customs broker.

How to calculate Harbor Maintenance Fees (HMF)?

The easiest way to calculate the amount of HMF you will be charged on your imports into U.S. is to follow this formula:

  • HMF is calculated at 0.125 percent of the entered value of the imported cargo. On a $10,000 shipment your HMF would be $12.50

A couple additional things to remember:

  • Unlike Merchandise Processing Fee (MPF), HMF does not have a minimum or maximum charge
  • HMF is applicable on all imports regardless of any special trade programs that your goods may qualify

Do you have questions about Harbor Maintenance Fee (HMF)? Leave them in our comments section below.

Alternatively, you may want to contact Pacific Customs Brokers to learn if HMF is applicable on your imports.

Have questions about harbor maintenance fees? Share them in our comments section below.




2 Responses to “What are Harbor Maintenance Fees (HMF)?”

  1. ira Breskin says:

    How does Harbor Maintenance Fee apply to passengers and domestic cargo movements?

  2. Edward Tamez says:

    Hi, does the HMF apply to warehouse entries type 21? If so, when is it due? What if not all of the goods will stay in the U.S., do I have to pay on the value of the full shipment or just what will be consumed?


Leave a reply