Shipping To Israel Part 2

As promised, Aliyah Magazine returns with part two of the 4 part series on shipping your goods to Israel, sponsored by Kef International. In this month’s article we will be discussing volume and which container is the best one for you.  The introductory can be found here


International shipments of household goods are generally priced based on the volume of the shipment (the size of the shipment). Volume is measured in cubic feet. Sometimes shipments whose origin is an inland location will be priced based on weight since domestic trucking in the USA is charged based on the weight of the shipment. To calculate estimated weights of a shipment, shippers normally assume an average weight of about 7-7.5 pounds/ cubic foot. Additionally, weight can become a factor if you are sending particularly heavy items such as a piano, many boxes of books, or heavy appliances, but usually the size of the shipment is the main factor which will determine the cost.

A few examples of volume, so you can begin to become familiar with cubic feet:

One medium sized box=3.5 cubic feet

3 seat couch= 80 cubic feet

40 medium sized boxes=~150 cubic feet (net volume)

Contents of a 1-2 bedroom apartment=~1,000 cubic feet

Contents of a 4-5 bedroom home=~2,000 cubic feet

The volume of your shipment, aside from determining the cost, will also determine what type of shipment you will need. There are two types of shipments, each with its own set of characteristics. The first type is a shared container shipment (called an LCL or Less Than Container Load) which is for relatively smaller shipments. The second type of shipment is an exclusive container shipment (called an FCL or Full Container Load) which is for relatively larger shipments. We will explore the details of each type of shipment below.

Volume Estimate:

The first stage in getting a shipping quote is to have an on site volume estimate/survey performed. This service is usually offered free of charge, and there is no commitment on your part. The volume estimate should normally be performed 3-4 months before you are moving, and if you a requesting the survey within two months of your move, be aware that you will need to get your quote and make a decision fairly quickly since shippers can get fully booked in the summertime. You will receive a survey report, based on the survey, and you will see a total estimated volume for your shipment, as well as a breakdown of the estimated volumes of each item surveyed. This report is an important reference for you, and for your shipper. If your estimated volume is under 700 cubic feet, then you will probably receive a quote for a shared container shipment. If the volume is 750-1,100 cubic feet, you will probably receive a quote for an exclusive 20’ container. If your estimated volume is above 1,200 cubic feet, you will probably receive a quote for an exclusive 40’container. If you are on the border, you may get several quotes, and you will need to decide which type of shipment is best for you.

Shared Container Shipments (LCL):

If your estimated volume is under 700 cubic feet, then you will probably receive a quote for a shared container shipment, and if your estimated volume is over 700 cubic feet, make sure you get a quote for an exclusive 20’ container as well. There are several very important things to be aware of when considering a shared container shipment. As you will see, a shared container shipment is very different from an exclusive container shipment, and it is very much worth understanding the differences between them, and certainly to understand the characteristics of the type of shipment that you choose:

  1. Shared container shipments are loaded into a large 40’ container with several other shipments belonging to other people. The packing of your shipment takes place at your residence, but you goods are then brought back to the shipper’s warehouse, where your goods are packed onto wood pallets or into wooden crates.
  2. The packing onto wooden pallets or into wooden crates separates your things from other people’s goods. His process adds roughly 15%-25% to the size of your shipment, and you pay based on the final size (gross volume) of your shipment, which is measured after your shipment is ready to be loaded into the container. You can always request a copy of the warehouse report if you have any questions regarding the final volume of your shipment. The volume after packing at your residence is called the “net volume” and the volume after being loaded onto wooden pallets or into wooden crates is called the “gross volume”. In a shared container shipment, you will be billed based on the “gross volume”.
  3. The main risk regarding extra charges, when sending a shared container shipment, comes from the fact that your quote is based on the estimated volume, but your billing is based on the actual final gross volume of the shipment. In your quote, it will usually give you a rate for additional volume, and you will be charged at this rate, if your shipment goes over the estimated volume.
  4. Rates per cubic foot for a shared container shipment are usually higher than for an exclusive container shipment, so I usually explain that a decision to send a shared container shipment, is a decision to keep your shipment relatively small. You may add or subtract items, but in general you want to remove large items that are not so important to you, and you need to understand that if you add many items to a shared container shipment, your final bill will be significantly higher than the original quote.
  5. There is always a cutoff point (different in each location and with each company), but generally around 800 cubic feet, where if you go over that volume, you will actually spend more money and send less stuff than if you had chosen an exclusive 20’ container. So if you are sending a shared container shipment, make sure you are not planning to add a lot of volume to your shipment.
  6. Shared container shipments are very good if you need storage of your goods. You usually will get 2-4 weeks of free storage at origin and you get 28 days of free storage at the port in Israel.
  7. The timing of shared container shipments is very different than an exclusive container shipment. Shared container shipments take longer for you to get your things, and there is more variability in the timing as well since there are more factors that can affect the timing of your shipment. At origin, your shipment will need to wait until the shipper has enough cargo to load a large container, and this waiting time which can be significant during slow times, will affect when you get your shipment in Israel. Also in Israel, there is a delay because shared container shipments are unloaded at the port in Israel before they clear customs, and then they must wait for a truck which has other shipments to deliver to the destination in Israel. So if you want your goods in the quickest way possible, consider an exclusive container shipment, and if you send a shared container shipment, get the estimated time frame from your shipper, but understand that shared container shipments take longer until delivery and they have more chance of delays.
  8. One important factor to understand in shared container shipments is that your goods are handled significantly more than in an exclusive container shipment. Remember, your goods are brought to the origin warehouse, then loaded onto wood pallets or into wood crates, then they are loaded into the container. Then in Israel, your goods come out of the container at the port, then they are loaded onto a truck for delivery in Israel. All of this means that there is a greater chance of loss or damage to your goods since they are handled more. So if you are sending very expensive things, you might want to consider your own container, but in any case, make sure you insure fully for your goods.
  9. There are companies who load shared containers “loose” meaning they do not put your gods onto wood pallets or into wooden crates. This is not at all advisable since then your risk of loss or damage increases significantly, although by loading the goods “loose” your shipment will be smaller and therefore cheaper. However, as they say in Israel “Cheap solutions end up costing you dearly” and it is not worth cutting corners and being drawn into apparently cheap solutions if the risks involved are significant.
  10. Shared container shipments usually require only one day to pack and pick up your things.

In the forthcoming continuation of this series we will discuss Exclusive container shipments.

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

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Or call toll free:  1-866-425-5224

Other contact numbers


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Canada:   866 425 5224


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Israel:      02 673 5043


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