Volume Estimates: bruto/gross versus net/netto

Be clear if your estimate is Net or Gross. Net is actual measurements. (This may not be written, but you know it is “net”, if a 1.5 cubic foot box is counted as 1.5 cubic feet!) Gross is billable volume after packing and palletizing or crating–the usable space taken by goods. Net volume is the volume used for estimating the contents of an FCL shipment(exclusive container); crating or palletizing adds roughly 15-25% to the net volume for LCL shipments. Much depends on how goods fit standard pallets and crates.

Final volume can differ from the estimate.    An estimate is an approximation.

Before goods are packed and loaded, there is no way to measure or perfectly estimate the space goods will take up when they are packed and loaded, whether in a storage room or a container.  Therefore, Kef  has no responsibility for goods that do not fit or for empty space in the shipment.   Our contracts often assign a minimum billable volume, because below that volume the rate is so much higher that even if you sent less, the price will be the same or more.  Above that volume, the rate is often lower.


Assuming that you showed the volume estimator exactly what was going to be in your shipment, that the volume estimate was in person, not by video, that you did not have many or large irregularly shaped items, and that you did not deviate whatsoever from the original list, figure a margin of error of 10-15%.    Since most people are not completely consistent and unchanging in their decision about what goods they are shipping, because estimates are estimates, estimators are people, and the way things are packed and loaded have such outsized influence on the final volume, deviations of 10-35% and more are not uncommon.

The bottom line is that you will be paying for your contract minimum volume or actual, measured packed and loaded volume, the greater.  Our contracts often assign a minimum billable volume, because below that volume the rate is so much higher that even if you sent less, the price will be the same or more.  Above that volume, the rate is often lower.


The way things are loaded in storage or a container greatly influences the amount of space taken up.  Empty space or boxes with nothing in them can sometimes be essential to safe packing and loading. Some goods  cannot be stacked on each other;  some cannot be put next to each other, because of the twisting and turning of a container on the ocean.   Household goods shipments have many different sizes and shapes which makes loading them safely and efficiently a challenging 3-dimensional puzzle.


There is a wide range of the way things can be packed.   Typically, the more space that is “wasted” on packing and packing materials, the less likely it is that goods will be damaged.


Net is actual measurements.    It is “net”, if a 1.5 cubic foot box is counted as 1.5 cubic feet.  Gross is billable volume after packing and palletizing or crating–the usable space taken by goods.   Packing adds 15-20% to net;  crating or palletizing  adds 15-25% to that.  A lot depends on how goods fit standard pallets and crates.   On tiny shipments (100 cubic feet or less), palletizing alone can add 50-100% to the net volume.    A lot depends on how goods fit together on standard pallets and crates.  The signed volume verification at pickup is usually a NET volume.



  1.   the smaller the shipment, the bigger effect adding or taking goods away seem to make.
  2.   it is more difficult to pack differently shaped goods in a smaller space, like on a pallet or in a crate/liftvan, than in a larger space.  Fewer possible configurations.
  3.  The lift van (or crate) and pallets themselves take up more more than loose goods.
  4.   When combining LCL’s into a large, consolidated container, the average volume that can be loaded is about 23% less than can be loaded in an exclusive container.
  5.   Whereas in an exclusive container, your goods are packed with the assumption that the container will not be opened or unloaded until they arrive at your home, LCL’s are packed with the understanding that they will be unloaded at the port, before being delivered to you.   Because of the poor conditions at the ports–disorder, moisture and leaky roofs, tremendous diesel dust pollution–they must be either crated or palletized to prevent damage and loss.  (There are some companies that offer much cheaper prices, because they don’t do that!).   The packing in crates, liftvans, and/or on pallets secured and surrounded by plastic wrap, adds volume to your goods.


1.  Video/Spoken volume estimates.

2.   Much/most of the volume is goods that will need to be boxed.

3.  Changing, unclear priorities.

4.  No precise lists presented in advance to the movers, labels on the goods,  separation of goods by priority.

5.   Disorganized, loose, or unusual items.

6.  Goods which do not have standard shape.

7 .  One spouse/partner is responsible for some portion of making the prioritized lists, supervising the estimate, directing and/or supervising one day of the move, directing/supervising another day of the move— and the other spouse/partner is responsible for other portions.

8.  Inadequate communication

9.  Inadequate review of the survey.

10.   GUARANTEED:   the way to almost guarantee a discrepancy between estimated and actual volume is to trust the packers on-the-spot advice/information about volume, about what will fit in your shipment, about what is included in your contract, allowed by customs, etc..    Please do not rely on any information they give you–that includes but is not limited to volume, rights, timing, pricing, customs, or reassembly.

If you have any questions or instructions about those subjects, communicate ONLY with the Kef offices in Jerusalem.   If you cannot reach us, it is ok to speak to the Managing Director of our local agent, but reconfirm the information and instructions in writing with our office in Jerusalem.    The more care and attention you put into creating prioritized lists before pickup, the more accurate your volume will be.

11.  LCLs –shared container loads.   The smaller the shipment, the larger the apparent (%) deviation.


Lift Vans are crates that are not built to the size of goods.    Though crates provide the best security against breakage and loss, they are the least efficient use of space.  If goods do not fit well, there is more unused space than on pallets.   Your forwarder might have crates of  75 or 150 cubic feet, though 200 is most common (inside measurements  are 84” W, 84” H, 45″ D).    Depending on the forwarder, crates may be standard procedure or by special order.

Click the blue words for, “Why be careful about sharing space when shipping to Israel?”

Estimators estimate volume;   movers pack and load.  Movers are unreliable about volume.  Neither movers nor estimators are reliable about pricing, timing, customs, or reassembly.

Exceeding container capacity.      If you are close to or over a volume limit, consider going to the next larger container.    The only way to ship overflow is by making a separate, shared container shipment–usually more expensive than getting a larger container in the first place. 

Less than 600 cubic feet LCL (Less than Container Load)
600- 800 cubic feet COMPARE difference in cost of LCL and 20’ FCL container
800- 1,000 cubic feet 20’ FCL container
1,000- 1,200 cubic feet Prioritize and reduce load to fit 20’ FCL container or jump to a 40’ container
1,200 cubic feet to 2,000 cubic feet 40’ FCL container
2,000- 2,200 cubic feet 40’ HIGH FCL container
Above 2,200 cubic feet Prioritize and reduce load to fit 40’ HIGH container, or ship as LCL & FCL

This agreement is governed by the laws of the State of Israel. The courts in the District of Jerusalem, Israel, have sole and exclusive jurisdiction over any dispute.