What is

Disbursement” refers to all expenses paid by a ship’s agent at the port that the shipowner later pays back. These expenses include port duties, agent’s fees, loading and unloading charges, etc.  

Understanding Disbursements in Freight Forwarding

Disbursement accounts are the financial records detailing the outlay made on behalf of ship owners during their vessel's port stay. These expenses are diverse, including:

  • Port Duties: Fees paid for the vessel’s entry, docking, and departure from a port.
  • Agent’s Fees: Compensation for the local agent coordinating the vessel’s port activities.
  • Loading and Unloading Charges: Costs associated with the transfer of cargo to vessel.
  • Miscellaneous Expenses: This may encompass pilotage, towage, and quarantine expenses, among others.

For freight forwarders, having an integrated understanding and management capability for these disbursements is essential. It not only ensures operational efficiency but also transparency and accuracy in financial dealings.

The Role of technology in Managing Disbursements

  • Automated Disbursement Accounting: Automating the creation, tracking, and settlement of disbursement accounts, reducing manual errors and increasing efficiency.
  • Real-Time Expense Tracking: Offering visibility into real-time expenditures incurred at each port, enabling better financial planning and control.
  • Integrated Financial Reporting: Facilitating comprehensive financial reporting that includes detailed disbursement records, enhancing decision-making capabilities.


Disbursements represent a significant aspect of the freight forwarding process, involving various charges that need to be meticulously managed and reimbursed. Understanding and efficiently handling these expenses are crucial for maintaining smooth operations and financial stability.  

Discover how Shipthis can streamline your approach in managing port expenses and financial transactions. To unlock the full potential of your freight forwarding business visit our website and learn more.  

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