4 Key Points to Consider When Shipping to Israel

ACE – Aliyah Community Enterprises introduces new immigrants with valuable information to enhance their actual move to Israel. Aliyah Magazine recommends services with a proven track record in assisting olim, over many years. Kef International is a highly reputable shipping organization that offers free consultation to members of the Aliyah Community to ensure you receive the best possible options available

This article is provided through courtesy of Kef International 

Making aliyah is an exciting yet stressful time, especially when it comes to determining what you should bring and what you should leave behind. Many people choose to send a shipment (or several shipments) of their personal items, and almost all Olim ask themselves what is worth shipping and what is worth buying in Israel. Shipping internationally is a complicated process; significantly more complicated than a local move, and it is very important for Olim to learn about the different shipping options, as well as learning about how the shipping process works, so they can make the best decision regarding their own shipment and avoid common mistakes that can arise. In this article we will be addressing 4 big questions you need to consider as you embark on this adventure. Then stay tuned for more detailed answers in our monthly newsletter as we tackle these questions one by one with the help of experts in the business.


This is a big one. According to Adam Perlman at Kef International you should be setting up a consultation/ on-site survey appointment 3-4 months in advance of when you plan to make aliyah. This means you should already have a sense of what you are keeping and what you are tossing. At the survey, you can tell the surveyor that you have some essential items which must be shipped and some “maybe” items which you are considering shipping. The shipping company will then give you multiple quotes to help you decide which size shipment is right for you. Moving overseas is stressful enough and trying to figure this out at the last minute can really add stress since you may not have sufficient time to understand and think about your shipping options.

Two: Be Realistic About What You Want to Bring

There are two types of shipments that you can choose from: Shipping an entire container (for larger shipments) versus sharing a container (for smaller shipments), and each type of shipment has its own pluses and minuses depending on your needs. If you choose to share a container and end up with more volume (the cost of shipping goes by the SIZE of the shipment), you may find yourself spending more than if you had just shipped an entire container instead. There are two sizes of containers, 20ft (roughly the contents of a 1-2 bedroom apartment), and 40ft container (roughly the contents of a 4-5 bedroom home). Each is charged a flat rate, and the quote should be “door-to-door”. There are companies that will give a discount if you do not fill up the entire container. If you decide to share a container, on the other hand, you will be charged per cubic foot for exactly the amount you are sending. It is important to understand that shared container shipments have an extra packing stage since they are sent in wooden crates or on wooden pallets which increases the size of your shipment by about 15%-20%, and remember that you are paying based on the final size of the shipment. This means that if you add more to your shipment after the initial assessment then you will be charged more at the time you send your crate. With a shared container, you should try to keep your shipment “small”, and then a shared lift can be a cheaper way to go, but be aware that with a shared container you will not know the final price until your shipment has been put in crates and measured back at the warehouse.

Three: Consider your Timing

An entire container only has 4 days of free storage, this is from the day that it arrives at the port in Israel, before you begin to be charged high storage rates per day beyond the first 4 days, since the ocean line wants the container back as soon as possible. So the general rule of the thumb is to be sure you arrive in plenty of time ahead of the container, otherwise you will be paying storage fees on the container which can be expensive. If you plan to send a crate and share a shipping container then you have a month of free storage since your contents will go to a warehouse and the ocean line already has their container back. Shared container shipments take longer from door-to-door than exclusive container shipments, and there is more variability in the estimated time it takes for a shared container shipment. So one question to consider is: Where is it easier for me to be without my belongings during the transition period? If you want to receive your shipment quickly after you arrive in Israel, you can send your shipment several weeks or even a month before you fly to Israel; or if you want to have your belongings with you in the USA, you can have your things picked up and packed just a few days before you fly to Israel. If you want to get your things as quickly as possible in Israel, an exclusive container shipment will be the fastest method. Make sure to discuss the options with the shipping company when you get your quote. Another very important question to ask is: Will you need your belongings stored at any time in the process? Shared containers are significantly cheaper if you need storage since you get one month free at the port in Israel, and you can keep your goods in storage at the port in Israel at a very reasonable cost. Exclusive containers are more expensive to put into storage since there is a cost for emptying the container and re-delivering your goods to your residence as well as a monthly storage fee based on the size of the shipment.

Four: Read The Contract Carefully

When choosing which shipping company you want to work with, be sure you read all the details of the contract. Frequently shipping companies will hide additional fees such as packing charges, port fees, port taxes and terminal handling fees at the port in Israel. These fees are often left out of the contract so that a service provider can give you a low ball estimate and then spring the additional fees on unsuspecting clients at the last minute when there is no recourse. On the other side, there are companies that will add fake fees such as fuel taxes and the like, so make sure you are dealing with a reliable reputable shipper who will give you a clear picture of all of the costs in writing before you book your move. There are unknown factors which can cause extra costs in an international move, and these will be listed in the “not included” section of your shipping quote. Make sure that there are no hidden fees in the “not included” section.

As you can see there is truly a lot more to sending a lift than meets the eye. We hope you now have some answers to the basic questions regarding sending a shipment and hopefully a lot more questions that will be answered as we continue this series in the coming months.

Please visit Kef International  for the latest up to date information.

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 Email: adam@kefintl.com

Or call toll free:  1-866-425-5224 

Other contact numbers 

USA:        866 425 5224 

Canada:   866 425 5224

UK:          203 129 6901

Israel:      02 673 5043

France:    0 182 880 863



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