What is the dock fee? (2023)

Port service is a term that often raises questions among shippers. This can be because sometimes it appears separately on the invoice to the sender and sometimes it doesn't appear at all.

So who collects port fees and what are they for?

To answer the first question, the dock is calculated by the terminal from which the goods are shipped or received. The terminal operator charges the sender.

The answer to the next question is that these are the fees for using the infrastructure and equipment on the pier, which are the responsibility of the terminal operator.shipment of goodswith a sea ship.


Pier, docks and boardwalks

Ships and cargo vessels need a place to safely load and unload cargo. Passengers must board and disembark on passenger ships.

Docks and shipyards are man-made structures, usually fixed platforms, built on land where ships and vessels can dock or berth for the safe loading and unloading of cargo or for loading and unloading passengers.

They provide a kind of mooring for marine vessels such as boats and ships. A pier or wharf may also be referred to as a wharf in certain countries. Ships usually dock parallel to the pier.

Boats use the docks when they need maintenance or repairs. In some cases, ships are refueled at dedicated refueling docks.

Modern floating docks are platforms built on pontoons or floating structures. This helps keep the dock level with a shuttle boat during low or high tide.

A wharf usually has transit sheds to store cargo, structures such as bollards to moor the ship, cranes to lift heavy loads and containers, winches, railroad tracks if the port connects to the nearest freight yard, etc.

Dock fees may be higher if the vessel is docked close to shore or other facilities.

A pier is built to extend like an arm from land to water. It is generally used to moor small vessels. Another purpose of building a pier is to protect it from strong waves.

port fee

Demurrage applies both at the port of origin (loading out) and at the port of destination (loading in). A dock fee is levied on any cargo passing through a port to be loaded on board a ship or after being unloaded from a ship.

The cargo may have been taken to the terminal to be shipped by an exporter, or it may have arrived by sea to be picked up by the importer by some other means of transport, whether by road or rail.

What is the dock fee? (1)

The dock does not include any other service fees and is intended for use as a dock only. Demurrage is usually fixed for one year and disclosed by the port terminal operator.

It is calculated based on the weight of the cargo (in tons) or its volume (in cubic meters), whichever is greater. In certain cases it is charged per unit.

The port fee is also known as the loading fee. It may or may not appear on the bill to the sender of the terminal operator. If not shown separately, it means the fee is added to theTerminal handling fee or THC.

The terminal handling charge is a charge of fees for the use of the terminal operator's property and equipment to transport goods from one port to another.

Fee includes stowage and may also include mooring. The dock fee is sometimes included in the base shipping rate.

The practice of including the berth in the terminal handling fee or showing it separately varies depending on the port and terminal operator.

Below are some common terms related to dock fee to help you better understand the term.

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haf terminals

There are several separate areas on a port to handle this.different types of boatsand the different types of cargo that enter and leave these ships.

Typically, a port may have container terminals, terminals, for example,Navios Ro-Ro, Bulk, Dry Bulk, Liquid Bulk e Passagierterminals.

They are different terminals, with adequate infrastructure and equipment for handling each vessel and type of cargo. Therefore, a port is a collection of different terminals, usually located in a single location.

A port terminal operator is someone who manages port terminals. Terminal operators can either be the owner of the port or the party that leases it from the owner. They are also referred to as port companies.

Port terminal operators are generally grouped according to their specialization, for example, stevedores, shipping companies and financial holding companies.

Sometimes longshoremen or longshoremen join forces and lease a port to handle terminal operations. Its specialization and experience in carrying out stevedoring operations is its strong point.

Some shipping companies have switched from their core business of shipping to operating port terminals. An example of this are the APM terminals that operate in various ports around the world.

Financial holdings are financial consortia or sovereign wealth funds. Specialized in the operation of global port terminals, these companies manage the operations of several ports around the world.

DP World (Dubai Ports World) is an example and the largest terminal operator in the world. The general business model for financial participation in the execution of terminal operations is to allow an existing operator to execute the operations while managing them at the macro level.

Some of the world's leading port terminal operators include Dubai Ports World (DP World), APM Terminals, Hutchison Port Holdings (HPH) and Port of Singapore Authority (PSA).

What is congestion?

The word estiva comes from the dockers. It is a word synonymous with feathers. Longshoremen are workers dedicated to loading and unloading goods on and off ships.

Their duties include operating equipment such as forklifts, heavy forklifts for lifting and moving containers, ship cranes and derricks.

You may also be asked to organize and securely tie down cargo on board a cargo ship in allocated spaces. Stewards help with the many tasks of docking and undocking a ship.

What is the dock fee? (2)

dock and undock

Marine vessels require a berthing area for loading and unloading cargo, etc. The process of ensuring that a vessel is properly moored is called mooring.

Port terminals generally have separate berthing areas for different types of ships. Passenger ships, container ships, oil tankers, they all have separate areas or docks dedicated to their berth.

The ports have specialized teams that prepare berthing plans well in advance based on the schedule of the ships they receive. A timetable usually shows the ship's estimated date and time of arrival at port and the estimated date and time of departure from port. It would also show the type of cargo carried on the ship, the unloading and loading schedule, or if it is a passenger ship, etc.

A typical docking plan includes all the arrangements for docking a ship in terms of infrastructure, equipment and other necessary services while the ship is in port.

When preparing aAndarplanothe port takes into account all contingencies and corrective actions to deal with these contingencies. Therefore, the berthing plan is a dynamic and constantly evolving project for the successful berthing of any ship calling at the port.

As with docking, port terminals also have adequate plans and arrangements for the departure of a ship on the scheduled departure date.

Port dues and tonnage duties

Port dues are levied on all ships entering the port. This is a fee that depends on the ship's tonnage and is calculated from entry into port to exit from port.

Services such as pilot and tug fees, sanitary facilities, mooring facilities, etc. are subject to a fee. Port fees may or may not include tonnage fees.

What is the dock fee? (3)

Another fee levied on each vessel entering a port based on its tonnage is the due tonnage.

Revenue from collected tonnage rights is generally used for the maintenance and upkeep of waterways or marine channels, buoys, beacons, etc.

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What is a tonnage certificate?

Tonnage rates calculated by a port operator are based on the tonnage of a vessel. The International Convention for the Measurement of Tonnage of Ships (1969) issues a tonnage certificate for each ship. Also known as ICTM, it is a convention recognized by the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

The objective of the ICTM is to establish and normalize rules and principles related to the tonnage of ships with a length greater than 24 meters.

Applies to all ships of this type from its member countries. The tonnage certificate of a maritime vessel indicates its gross tonnage and its net tonnage.

Unlike port or tonnage fees, the terminal operator uses the pier fees for the maintenance of its infrastructure and equipment on the pier.

demurrage and port fees

A fee that is often confused with the port fee is the mooring fee. To fix this, let's see what the delay is. Delay is a cost to the importer of a shipment when collection of goods at the port is delayed beyond a specified period of time.

Shippers may also, under certain circumstances, incur demurrage if their cargo remains in port without being loaded aboard the vessel for which it is destined.delayare the costs resulting from the delay inside the port that the shipowner charges the customer.

On the other hand, the demurrage is based on the ship's tonnage, which is distributed among the different customers who have their cargo on the ship.

Demurrage fees vary by carrier, port and type of equipment used: dry or refrigerated containers.

Port fee costs

As with any general cost calculation, port charges require careful consideration and application of cost components. Mistakes can be costly and lead to huge losses for the port operator.

High dock fees may encourage port users to look for other ports or cheaper options. In this case, the volume of cargo will decrease and ships will no longer call at this port. Below are some important factors to consider when calculating your tie-in rates.

The terminal operator bears the cost of providing facilities and services. Exporters, importers and ship operators enjoy the benefits of these port facilities and services. Revenue from these users represents the port's cash flow.

The port terminal operator must identify the services and facilities that assist users and implement them upon payment of a fee.

What is the dock fee? (4)

The price period

The operator must first decide over what period the costs will be incurred. This is usually valid for one year.

Installations and Services Received

All facilities and services provided to the customer must be registered here and their costs analyzed and included in the cost calculation.

Users of facilities and services

The port operator must identify the users of the facilities and services for which demurrage is charged.


What is a limitation when charging a customer or user? A limitation exists when the benefit of a service is well below the cost of providing it to the customer. Customers can move if there are too many restrictions.

pricing structure

When calculating the dock fee, base price, various plates to be loaded, types of fees, etc. must be carefully considered and presented.


Customers must accept the dock fee and this determines the revenue generated by the port during the specified period.

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A high dock fee can cause customers to move to other ports and facilities. Therefore, the berthing fee must justify the services and facilities provided by the port terminal operator and be compatible with acceptable global rates.

additional expenses

In addition to the mooring fee and other usual port terminal operator fees, the user may be charged some extra fees to cover the cost of a single port operation.

Dredging costs, conversion of storage areas within port facilities, introduction of special benefits for stevedores, etc. are examples of these costs.

You may also be interested in reading:

  • What is a Cargo Manifest in Ocean Transport?
  • What is OOG or off-gauge loading?
  • Understand shipping refunds
  • What is cartage in maritime transport?
  • Container seals: meaning, types and requirements

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The article or images may not be reproduced, copied, shared or used in any way without the permission of the author and Marine Insight.

What is the dock fee? (5)

About the author

Hari Menon is a freelance writer with nearly 20 years of professional experience in logistics, warehousing, supply chain and contract management. An avid fitness fanatic and bibliophile, he also loves to travel.

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