customs clearance info

HMF-Harbor Maintenance Fee for Ocean Imports to USA

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What Is The Harbor Maintenance Fee (HMF)

The main purpose of the Harbor Maintenance Fee is to help cover the costs of maintaining the Ocean Ports of the United States. Funds taken from the HMF fee are used for the Harbor Maintenance Fund which is controlled and distributed by Congress.

According to the US Customs and Border Protection, the Harbor Maintenance Fee is required at USA sea ports for all incoming commercial cargo.

How much will the HMF Fee cost?

The chargeable amount for the HMF is 0.125% of the total invoiced value of the cargo in transit.

The Harbor Maintenance Fee is not charged on air freight.

4 essentials for clearing freight


Cleared and Delivered suggests being well prepared before clearing your goods through a U.S port. Below are 4 “must have” items for quick and easy customs clearance and delivery

1. The Commercial Invoice
Have a detailed Commercial Invoice on hand-The Commercial Invoice (link) contains a vast amount of detailed information about your product, it’s manufacturer, origin, destination, HTS code, and more. This info is crucial for a customs broker clearing your freight.*

“Download Invoice”:

2. Power of Attorney
Cleared and Delivered needs power of attorney over your shipment to classify and clear your goods through customs. We also need this privilege to pay duty on your behalf. This document authorizes your broker to take control over your import.

“Download Power of Attorney”:

3. Airway Bill/ Bill of lading and Arrival Notice
This is the “boarding pass” from the shipping line or airline that your freight is onboard their vessel or airplane. The “Arrival Notice” notifies Cleared and Delivered that your freight has arrived at a ocean port or airport, and is ready to clear. An AWB/BL also provides a tracking number to locate your freight and shipping details.

4. Harmonized Tariff Code
Cleared and Delivered can find and classify the harmonized tariff code for you, but thing’s move quicker if you have this information available on your commercial invoice, or enter it in your Cleared and Delivered quote inquiry. “Find your HTS code here”:

Duty-who is responsible for paying it?


The importer of record is responsible for paying duty. The seller of the goods cannot pay duty in advance. Be leery of sellers who claim duty on your purchase will be prepaid. Cleared and Delivered may pay duty on your behalf as part of their services in clearing your goods when they arrive in the United States.

“Duty explained CBP website”

What is the harmonized tariff schedule?


The United States International Trade Commission, Office of Tariff Affairs and Trade Agreements is responsible for publishing the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS). The U.S. Customs Service is responsible for administering the tariff and for processing import entries. The HTS provides the applicable tariff rates and statistical categories for all merchandise imported into the United States. It is based on the international Harmonized System, the global classification system that is used to describe most world trade in goods

“See HTS schedule”