America’s ports and harbors are critical links in the global supply chain. Ensuring that U.S. harbors have sustainable funding sources is crucial to a stable supply chain. However, the current Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund is not a suitable long-term funding mechanism.
The Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) is funded by the Harbor Maintenance Fee (HMF) imposed on imported cargo, domestic cargo, passengers on cruise ships, and ships entering a foreign trade zone. Created in 1986, the Harbor Maintenance Fee was originally a 0.04% tax on the goods being loaded and offloaded at ports. The fund quickly grew to cover 100% of