Hidden Savings Opportunity: The Merchandise Processing Fee

  • Home
  • >
  • Cargo Blog
  • >
  • Hidden Savings Opportunity: The Merchandise Processing Fee
Valuable savings opportunities await importers using a Foreign Trade Zone such as JAXPORT's FTZ No. 64.
Jul 18, 2019 | Cargo Blog

Valuable savings opportunities await importers using a Foreign Trade Zone such as JAXPORT’s FTZ No. 64.

Consolidating multiple containers into one weekly outbound bill of lading through an FTZ allows importers to potentially reduce Merchandise Processing Fee (MPF) charges the administrative fee U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) charges on imports. Outside of an FTZ, this fee is due immediately upon the imported cargo arriving at the U.S. port of entry, airport or seaport.

The MPF is an ad valorem fee, assessed at 0.3464 percent of the commercial value for inbound foreign cargo. “It is a cost of doing business,” said Lisa Diaz  JAXPORT FTZ expert. “It simply pays U.S. Customs for processing the merchandise.”

The maximum MPF is $497.99 per entry. There is no maximum number of entries, so a high-volume importer that is not using an FTZ can end up paying up to $497.99 multiple times per week. Using an FTZ allows the importer to combine multiple outbound shipments into one single entry ñ that means the company only has to pay one fee, one time, for each outbound shipping week. This benefit not only delays the payment of the MPF fee, it also provides a significant cost savings to the company.

Diaz said FTZ No. 64 provides duty deferrals/exemptions/reductions and streamlined logistics, among other benefits.

In addition, there are three primary MPF savings opportunities available to importers switching to an FTZ:

Because an FTZ is not in U.S. Customs territory, if a company imports through an FTZ, the MPF only applies when the merchandise leaves the FTZ.

No entry fee is paid on imports into the FTZ. Payment of the MPF is delayed until the retailer moves the cargo out, and then it is charged weekly ñ that is, for a consecutive seven-day period (instead of one entry filed for each shipment). That means the maximum fee is $497.99 per week.

There is a reduction in human resource time spent submitting the MPF. Fewer entry filings can also lower brokerage fees

Rhonda Overton-Reilly is with Mazda North America Operations (MNAO). She said that, even with consolidating bills of lading by vessel, being an FTZ conveys important savings. The MPF savings allows the company to save approximately $100,000 annually.

5 Takeaways for importers

1. A reduction in your MPF payments and processing time is possible.

2. The cash flow savings are immediate, beginning in week one.

3. The MPF payment can be kept below $25,895.48 annually for any importer.

4. Annual MPF savings can exceed $233,000 for an importer with as few as ten moderately-valued shipments per week.

5. The weekly MPF is particularly attractive for high-volume shippers, but is also helpful for high-value shippers because the fee is based on the total estimated value of the cargo, so their cargo will “max out” quickly.

By: Lori Musser
Published in the Winter 2019 issue of JAXPORT Magazine