Sometimes a shipper might look at their maritime shipping invoice and notice a fee called a Terminal Handling Charge. For veteran shippers, this fee might be a common occurrence. For a novice shipper, there might be some questions about what this fee is all about. Terminal Handling Charges, also known as THC, is a fee paid during the shipping process. Most shippers pay the fee through their freight forwarder to the proper authorities located at the port’s terminal. In essence, Terminal Handling Charges cover the expenses related to equipment operation for loading and unloading containers. This includes the time when the container arrives to the terminal from the vehicle and until it departs on the vessel; it also includes the time when the container arrivers to the terminal from the vessel and until it departs on the vehicle.
Asking what a general Terminal Handling Charge is might not be helpful. There are different costs at every terminal, different at every port and different in every nation. The Terminal Handling Charges follow different procedures for export shipments and import shipments. For exports, this means the carriers receive the payment from the shipper after the cargo passes through Customs Clearance. Meanwhile for imports, carriers receive the payment when issuing the delivery order to the consignee.
Usually, the ocean freight shipping rate may not contain the Terminal Handling Charges. Payment for the Terminal Handling Charges is based on the agreement made between the buyer and the seller as designated in the Incoterms, of which there are many.