Port charge

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Port charge
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Port charge is a sum of any taxes and extra charges which occur, when a ship reaches the port. Fee may be applied to a ship itself, but also a cargo. Requiring of high levies might have an effect in decreasing the number of ships and goods arriving to the port.


There are many different charges which may be components of a port charge, most common are[1]:

  • tunnage fee - charged for arriving and leaving a port, but also sailing across it and waste management, in compliance with the policy of the specific port,
  • harbour fee - charged for using the berth, usually price is set for one day and increases proportionately,
  • passenger fee - charged for every passenger, who comes in or out of a ship.

Methods of payment

The companies do not have to pay a port charge by themselves. There are lots of organisations located around ports which specialise in terms and conditions of every single fee. If the company needs to organise a tour through many ports, this kind of organisation might be helpful. However, there is one problem about this method, and it is related with responsibility. If the firm, as a seller, organise the whole transport by itself, and care about the cargo from its' store to the buyer's port - company knows, that everything will be paid on time, cargo will not be lost somewhere - for example in any other port, where it should never appear, but the there is a possibility, that total sum od port charges will be higher, and certainly all of procedures will take a lot of time and stress[2] Meanwhile, it the firm will sign a contract with one of the transport companies, it will save time, but if anything bad will happen, like if the transport company omits one of charges - the whole ship is detained in the harbour, and has to pay for every day of delay. One of recommended techniques is to stay in continued contact with both buyer and transport company. And what is even more important read and sign the profitable agreement noticing facts about responsibility in case of any unforeseen circumstances.


As in every economy branch, shipping transport has some important and specific expressions. The most common one is GRP which is "Gross register tonnage"[3]. Majority of ports use this measurement unit and charge ships due to it. GRP include the whole volume of a ship, while there is also NT (Net Tonnage) which include only passangers and the cargo - usually located in shipping containers[4] . There is a simple method to count GT of a specific ship, unfortunatelly even it has some disadvantages - it cannot be used for ships in nonstandard shapes, machine factors and types. Calculation method is\[GT=\frac{TL*TB*TD*0,8}{2,83}\] Where:

  • TL - is a length of a shipping unit
  • TB - is a maximum width of a shipping unit
  • TD - is a lateral height of a shipping unit


  1. Talley W. K., 2007, p. 53-58.
  2. Galal E. H., 2015, p.186-188
  3. Brodie P., 2013, p. 19
  4. Nursal R. S., 2008, p. 1-2


Author: Anna Wlodarczyk