Washington, D.C.—A US Senate bill could go forward next month that will propose a repeal of the existing Harbor Maintenance Tax (HMT) replacing it with a fee to be levied on goods imported by road and rail from Canada and Mexico.
The HMT is a federal tax imposed on the value of the goods being shipped through US ports, and its revenue is placed in a trust fund, which is supposed to be used for maintenance dredging of federal navigational channels. The surplus in the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund has grown to more than 7 billion USD, said a release.
The HMT is not assessed on importers who route cargo through non-US ports and afterwards move their goods into US markets by land, and the bill to be introduced by two Democrat Washington Senators, Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, will set out to "level the playing field for American ports competing for cargo."
The "Maritime Goods Movement Act for the 21st Century" would repeal the HMT and replace it with a Maritime Goods Movement User Fee (MGMUF), the proceeds of which would be fully available to Congress to provide for port operation and maintenance, and which would "ensure that shippers cannot avoid the MGMUF by using ports in Canada and Mexico."
The legislation would change the HMT and give shippers "new incentives to move their goods through American ports-particularly those in the Pacific Northwest," said Senator Murray.