What is a Wharfage Charge?

A wharfage charge is a charge traditionally collected by ocean carriers in the U.S. to cover the fee(s) charged by the wharf and/or port authority.

Per FMC Regulations, 46 CFR 525.1(c), “Wharfage means a charge assessed against the cargo or vessel on all cargo passing or conveyed over, onto, or under wharves or between vessels and (to or from barge, lighter, or water), when berthed at wharf or moored in slip adjacent to wharf. Wharfage is solely the charge for use of wharf and does not include charges for any other service.”

What does the term “Wharfage” refer to?

It refers to the fee charged by the freight terminal on passage of cargo or merchandise through it. It does not include charges like sorting, weighing, marking, sampling, inspecting, loading, unloading, demurrage, or any other charge by a state or central government.

Here are some sample CMA CGM Wharfage tariff rates. Rates for all carriers tend to be similar, but may change per carrier.

Boston: $50 USD

Houston: $70 USD

Miami: $70 USD

Mobile: $60 USD

New Orleans: $75 USD

Port Everglades: $40 USD

Wharfage is charged on both inbound and outbound movement.

Whether or not wharfage is charged depends upon the item transported through the terminal. Some goods and vehicles are exempted from wharfage. Example, stevedoring equipment used in loading or unloading cargo at a port has been exempted from wharfage.