Huge increase proposed for AQI import fees

By | 2023-08-20T00:43:39+00:00 August 20th, 2023|Imports, Ocean Cargo, Shipping, U.S. Customs|

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is proposing to significantly increase the fees for its AQI program, which assures that cargo and passenger baggage entering the country is inspected for plant pests and potential sources of animal diseases that could affect U.S. agriculture, trade and commerce.

Fees for the AQI program were last updated in 2015 based on data from 2010 through 2012, making the fee structure almost a decade out of date. According to APHIS, the outdated fee structure, combined with recent changes in international travel and shipping, means that current fees do not generate enough revenue to cover the costs of the AQI services provided.

To develop the proposed rule, APHIS conducted a comprehensive review of the AQI program to determine the actual costs incurred by APHIS and CBP (who administer the program jointly) to deliver AQI services.

The updated cost model accounts for inflation, capital improvements, and additional staffing needs. For example, for 2017 through 2019, the AQI program ran an average annual deficit of over $166 million. From 2010 to 2021, agricultural cargo imports grew over 61% by volume, and AQI staffing dedicated to conveyance and cargo clearance was not able keep pace with this growth. Workload per frontline employee increased 25% by volume from 2010 to 2021.

At the same time, changes in the size of conveyances (ships, trains, trucks) and the amounts they transport have resulted in more work being done with less funding because APHIS fees are tied to the number of conveyance arrivals, not the volume of cargo contained within them.

Proposed fee changes

Fee Service Activity Current  Proposed
January 1, 2024 October 1, 2024 October 1, 2025 October 1, 2026 October 1, 2027
Commercial Vessel (per vessel arrival) $825 $3,219.29 $3,302.23 $3,386.23 $3,471.18 $3,557.18
Commercial Truck (per truck arrival)2 $7.29 $11.40 $12.40 $13.45 $14.50 $15.55
Commercial Rail (per railroad car arrival) $2.00 $5.81 $6.51 $7.23 $7.97 $8.72
Commercial Aircraft (per aircraft arrival) $225.00 $288.41 $309.00 $330.07 $351.64 $373.68
Air Passenger (per passenger arrival) $3.83 $4.29 $4.44 $4.60 $4.76 $4.93
Cruise Vessel Passenger (per passenger arrival) $1.68 $1.20 $1.25 $1.29 $1.34 $1.39
Treatments (per hour) $237 (per treatment) $232.97 $253.19 $273.90 $295.12 $316.83

 You can leave your feedback on the proposal by Oct. 10, 2023 by visiting

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