Taxes and surcharge which apply to a ship and/or the cargo on board the ship once it has reached port. The rise in these charges may reduce the number of goods arriving at that port, or otherwise impact the price of doing business.
Types of port charges
As shown in table 2-1, port charges are generally divided into three broad categories,
general tariffs, facility tariffs and service tariffs, each of which are subdivided into a
series of individual charges.
(a) Conservancy and port dues
It is common to establish a charge to recover the cost incurred in providing the
facilities and services which are necessary to ensure the safe navigation of vessels
within the area under the port's jurisdiction. It may include dredging, the provision
of breakwaters, training walls, navigational aids and harbour surveillance facilities,
but usually excludes the costs of providing pilot and tow services which are charged
by separate tariffs.
Conservancy is a port charge which is levied for the utilization of general nautical
facilities in the approaches to the port (i.e., outside the port area), whereas port dues
are levied for the services or utilization of facilities within the port, including
channels, vessel traffic service, emergency fire services, breakwaters, pollution
control and marine security.
Port dues on ships are based on the type and size of the vessels. The charging units
would be the carrying capacity of the vessel measured in gross registered tonnage
(GRT), net registered tonnage (NRT) and deadweight tonnage (DWT) or some
combination of length, beam and draft, and the unit of differentiation should be the
type of the vessel.
Wharfage is normally a cargo-related charge to recover the costs associated with the
provision of the basic infrastructure and superstructure of the port to facilitate the
movement of cargo from shipside to hinterland and vice versa. It includes the costs
of providing roadways, railways, quays, parking areas, transit shed facilities, police
Similar to port dues, wharfage is charged by freight ton, metric ton, cubic metres or
TEU, and its differentiation unit is the type of cargo.
(c) Berth hire (dock or berth due)
This is a charge, normally related to the ship, to recover the costs associated with the
berthing of the vessel and for the use of the berth for a stated period of time. It may
include expenditure on the provision, maintenance and operation of docks,
maintenance of dredged depths alongside and in the dock basin, fendering, provision
of quays and facilities provided on the quay apron.
The charging unit of the berth due is meter-hours, computed as the length of the
vessel multiplied by the hours that the vessel is at the berth. The unit of
differentiation distinguishes among the berths by their characteristics, such as
alongside depth, back-up area and cargo handling capacities.
(d) Transit storage
This is the charge to recover the costs of the storage of goods in transit sheds or areas.
The temporary storage rates are usually set to minimize cargo dwell time and
The charging unit is the amount of storage occupied multiplied by the period of
storage measured in days. The storage can be differentiated based on the dwell time
so as to charge higher rates for an extended period of storage. Separate tariffs can
also be used to distinguish between open and closed storage and among different
types of cargoes.
Pilotage arises in two areas: the seaway gaining access to the river estuary and the
port area itself. In many instances, the pilot service is compulsory.
The pilotage may be based on the GRT of the vessel or a charge per ship. In general,
as the cost of providing pilot service does not vary for different sizes of vessels, it is
appropriate to charge pilotage...