Prioritize and Separate to make sure that the correct goods are taken.

Organize your goods according to “A”, “B”,  and DNS (do not ship).   Affix labels that are bright and colorful–one color, shape, and size  for “A” and  completely different colors, shapes, and sizes for “B”, and DNS.    If possible, keep your “B” and ‘DNS” goods completely separate and out of sight until and unless there is room for them.  During and following the packing, make sure that the packers are following your instructions.   You must do this WHILE the packing is going on.  Physically separate by priority    Keep your “B” list and do-not-ship items completely separate and out of sight until and unless there is room for them.    If they are visible, movers will be tempted to take them.


Everyone will be in a rush, so you MUST have your goods organized and presented in such a way that it is unlikely that your priorities will ignored.      Please do not rely on your written or verbal instructions to the packers!        While the packers are there and before they leave, continually circulate your team to make sure your priorities were respected.

Is there uncertainty about the arrival time of  truckers/movers/packers/container , number of movers, how much work they will do each day?     Yes, no matter what information you have received, know that the situation is fluid and dynamic.   If you have a container and packing/pickup is to be over 2 days,  a smaller group of packers may come for a shorter amount of time on the first day, to organize for the 2nd day of packing, when a larger team comes for a longer time, and everything happens very quickly.

Can I count on them for accurate communications?    Information from packers/movers/truckers–about services, timing, volume, whatever–is ABSOLUTELY unreliable.  Similarly assume that information or instructions given to moving teams will not be correctly understood–check and confirm their understanding and their work repeatedly.

High value items that must not be taken (e.g. jewelry, passports) Keep them on your person or remove them from your home.

Block out spaces for the truck within 25 meters of your home entrance– 3 spaces  for LCL (less than container load),  4 for a 20’ container, 6 for a 40’.    If unavailable, costs for distance and/or shuttle will apply.

Contacts    Make sure you have cellphones of the crew, their manager, and Kef managers.

Crew   To ask them to notify you 45 minutes before anticipated arrival.

Crew Manager    If the crew is not satisfactorily responsive to requests.

Kef   If neither the crew nor the manager are responsive, we are on call 24/6 for urgent matters.

If you are having goods delivered to our warehouse:

  1. Let us know what to expect and when
  2. For self-delivery, arrange a specific time with the warehouse
  3. Label goods with name and control number
  4. Confirm goods appear correctly on packing list.
  5. Do not ask to be present during packing and loading in the warehouse.  It is forbidden for reasons of safety, insurance, and efficiency. 

Goods picked up from a storage warehouse.   Someone who knows the goods (i.e. what goes/stays/goes elsewhere) and can make decisions must be there at all times.    If delicates are present, packers must inspect, repack as necessary, and not mark those boxes as PBO—packed by owner.   Risk:  goods take up too much or too little space.    Remedy:  prioritize, label, and arrange as noted above.

Electrical Fixtures—Do not assume packers will remove them; use an electrician.



Who must be present during packing and loading?     Two or three people who know the grouping of your goods and can make decisions must be there at all times.  At least one must be able to sign.   If goods are mistakenly loaded or left behind and you do not correct it before they are loaded,  it could be expensive or impossible to fix.  If  the truckers are not loading according to your priorty, let them know immediately.  If there is any issue with their responsiveness, call their manager and Kef.

Can I help packers?  No, that would put your goods, yourself, and your insurance at risk.   Instead, confirm the correct items are packed and the correct items are left behind.   If they are not loading goods according to your priority, let them know immediately.   If they have already loaded goods, there could be charges for unloading and reloading.

After the first day of packing, segregating, and organizing, go around and check that priorities are separated.  Once goods are loaded in the shipment, it may be too late or expensive to take them out.     The last chance you will have to confirm the correct items were taken and left is before you give the tip–go around the house and make sure everything you wanted to have taken was taken and everything you wanted to have left was left.  Take your time!

Make sure what you want shipped is shipped, and what you don’t want shipped is not.  No matter how tired everyone is, don’t rush–this responsibility is yours alone.   Then do a “walk around” of the house to make sure that they correct things were taken and left. 

Documents, payments, and marine insurance 

  • Insurance Lists to Kef  2 weeks before pickup.   1) “high value” items–art, silver, carpet, antiques etc.–insured above $3,000 whether insuring  lump sum or by comprehensive valued inventory,    There is a surcharge for lists presented after pickup.
  • Payments – Pay Kef, not packers or other agents.
  • Inventory – Sign and keep a copy of the packing list before the packers leave.  If not available, make sure to get one later and review it.
  • Bill of Lading – This is sent directly to Kef in digital form

Mistakes.   For damages to goods or surroundings, mistakes about what is loaded, or any other issues— tell the movers, manager, and Kef immediately.    Record them on the packing list or other document co-signed by the crew leader.  Correct mistakes early!

What if goods do not fit in the container?   You may choose to leave them, send an LCL (less-than-container-load) shipment, or go to a larger container (not an option for “live load”, only  if goods are brought to a warehouse.)

What if there is unused space in the container?    Usually, especially for 40′ containers, your contract is for a certain estimated/minimum weight/volume and if you make use of more than that, the contract notes a rate for additional weight/volume.  No matter what the pickup crew says–just because there is empty space does not mean that it will not cost you money to make use of it–no matter what anyone else says.   Also remember that if you change your mind at the last minute, and that causes the pickup to take longer than normal, you will be billed for any delays.

Are volume estimates really estimates and what is the solution if the estimate is off?  Estimates really are estimates and they can be off by 25% or more.  The best protection is to have made a clear prioritization of goods, so you can add or take-off as necessary.

Packing Lists   Packers make a numbered list of contents, naming items, noting who packed them and any defects.  CP = carrier packed.  PBO = packed by owner.   PBS = packed by supplier.  CU = contents unknown.    Compare this with the list of contents you prepared and the volume estimate.   If there is a physical packing list at pickup, check it, sign it,  and keep a copy.   This goes to customs,  and you use it to verify you received everything.  If there is only a digital copy, review it for accuracy and completeness.

Suggested tips (after work is completed to your satisfaction)

Size Price Per Person Per Day
under 200 cubic feet $7-15
200-700 cft. $10-20
20’ container $20-30
40’ container $25-45
Suggested Tips in New York. $40-80/person/day

Volume Estimates for Shipping to Israel and Moving from Israel

 In most cases, we will send a professional surveyor to your house to conduct a free, on-site volume estimate

To make sure your estimate is accurate, you must:

  1.  Make a detailed list of goods and label the goods you are shipping before the estimator comes, including “must go”, “might go 1”, and “might go 2”.   You will use that to check against the surveyors list.
  2.    After the surveryor comes, make sure to get a copy of his estimate, whether by email or a physical copy.
  3.     Whether by email or on the spot, compare it with your list for accuracy and completeness.
  4.     Carefully review the estimate and communicate freely with the estimator, if there are discrepancies between what you plan to ship and what is on the estimate, or if something seems wrong or unclear.
  5.  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/palletizing/crating–the usable space taken by goods.   Packing adds 15-20% to net;  crating/palletizing  adds 15-25% to that.  Much depends on how goods fit standard pallets and crates.
  6.   If you need/want a limit on your volume, say it.    If, and only if, you segregate,  prioritize, and label we can do our best to respect it.   In some cases we are able to bring out a crate, truck, or container that fits that exact size.  Remember that palletizing or crating adds another 15-25%.

         The amount of furniture is the main factor which affects the volume of your shipment.  Boxes of household goods also add up, but not as quickly as furniture.   You can ship more or less than what you showed the surveyor.  Be sure the survey includes what you want to ship and leaves off items you don’t.   Ask questions and review the volume sheet below.

Some shipments,  including shipments of less than 500 cubic feet, more than 25 miles away from a surveyor, self-storage, or crates, may not have an on-site volume estimate.   If this is the case, please see the Chart of Volumes for approximate volumes of common household items. We will be glad to help you on the phone.

These factors make estimates less accurate:      Less than container load shipments (LCL’s)–the smaller the shipment the less accurate.   No on-site estimate.  Disorganized sites.  Changing your mind about what is going–especially multiple times.   Unclear division between send and don’t send.   Many ‘loose’ goods–goods in boxes or requiring boxes.  Irregular or non-standard boxes.  One spouse for estimate and the other for packing.    No pre-survey list.  Not reviewing the volume estimate with the estimator. Listening to movers who estimate volume at time of packing.   Goods that are large and irregular or do not fit together well.  Communication problems with the surveyor.  Not labelling goods according to priority.  Forgotten or added items.

Crating     Packing, crating, and palletization can each add 10-25% to the volume.     Factors that can make the total figure much higher, even over 100% are:   1.  Goods with a wide variety of shapes and sizes can result in large sections of unused space and more settling, as in a cereal box.   2.  Crates under 200 cubic feet have a greater liklihood of unused space, usually at the top.   There are fewer options of ways to combine items  3.   Delicate goods need isolation,  often leaving empty space above and around them.

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 perfectly into available crates, there is more unused space than on pallets.

Your forwarder might have crates of  75, 150, 200, 220 or 250 cubic feet, though 200 is most common.  Inside measurements of a standard crate are 84” W, 84” H, 45″ D. Externally in meters:  2.2m W x 2.2m H x 1.2m 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?”

 Important note. Estimators estimate volume;   movers pack and load.  Movers are famously unreliable about volume.  Neither movers or estimators are reliable about pricing, timing, rights,  reassembly, or anything else out of their specific, limited fields of packing/loading and volume estimating, respectively.

Going over minimum. Contracts are based on estimates and may state a minimum volume or weight.   If you exceed that, you will be billed for the additional at the stated rate.   (If there is no stated rate for additional volume, it will be billed at a pro-rata rate–total contract charges divided by contract volume or weight, whichever is stated.)

Going over container capacity. If you exceed the capacity of your container, you will be billed for an additional LCL (consolidated) shipment, including one time fees.   See the Rates page.  If your estimate is close to or over a volume limit, seriously consider going to the next level. The cost of an LCL overflow is usually more expensive.


When is final measure/weight available?  What if actual and estimated volume/weight differ?  Measure/weight may be available quickly or after weeks. Some agreements have estimated/minimum volume/weight.   If you exceed that,  the extra is billed pro-rata (i.e. total contract price divided by estimated volume/weight.)

Timing is unreliable–shipments can be early or late.   We do not make promises or take responsibility for timing, changes, or inaccurate information.    Unpredictability results from unforseen changes in timing at every stage–in series, they compound to dramatic effect.    Time shifts occur in every part of the shipping process–packing, pickup, containerization, sailing, port handling, the train from Haifa to Ashdod, container unloading, customs clearing, and delivery.  We do our best to let you know when they occur.

Local vs. Distant packing agents:   Agents distant agents from the larger shipping hubs tend to be less expensive, though more likely to have unpredicted delays.

Exclusive container shipments (FCL) are faster and more predictable than shared container shipments (LCL).  LCL’s need to be matched up to fill the container, and, on the delivery side, matched up again to fill the truck.   If you are not shipping out of the busiest port, New Jersey/New York this difference is increased.

Please review rates for common and less common fees at origin on our Rates sheet.