Exclusive container shipments (FCL) are faster and more predictable than shared container shipments (LCL).

LCL’s (less than container loads) 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 one of the busiest ports, this difference is increased.

Plan to have your shipment arrive:

FCL:  1-2 weeks after your arrival.

LCL:  a few days after you arrive.

Check for updates. To get  status of a shipment, you must ask us regularly–information does not come automatically.   Finding out timing has changed from plan often requires a specific query.

Please note:     Because of worldwide congestion related to Covid, there is ever-increasing irregularity and waiting times  at ocean, air, truck, and rail terminals.  Though Kef and its agents are meticulous in our due diligence with confirmed reservations for container and vessel, containers are sometimes unavailable and sailings are cancelled or greatly delayed.    The terminals and trucking, air, and steamship companies add new charges with little or no notice which are added to your invoice, though we do our best to avoid them.   Click here for a NY Times article.

Estimated times from pick-up until arrival at destination port.

East Coast:

FCL:  4-6 weeks (DC and Florida)     3-5 weeks (New York)  Sailings to/from Florida sometimes change vessels in the Mediterranean, adding 1-2 weeks.

LCL:  Minimum 6 weeks.  8- 12 weeks is average.  In winter, add 2-6 weeks.

West Coast:

FCL:   6-8 weeks. They transship [change vessels] usually in the Mediterranean, which can cause delays of a few weeks.

LCL:  Minimum 7 weeks.  9-13 weeks is average.  In winter, add 2-6 weeks.

Shipments can be early or late.

We do our best to keep to planned times, though we do not make promises or take responsibility for timing or changes or inaccurate information.      The overall unpredictability comes from unforeseen earliness and delays at every stage of the process, which, when they happen in series, can compound to dramatic effect.

Time changes happen with surprising regularity in every part of the shipping process–packers, pickup truck, container, steamship, port handling, train from Haifa to Ashdod (or the reverse, or Baltimore to New York), container unloading, customs clearing, and delivery.  We do our best to let you know when they occur.

Hint:   Whenever someone is expected, be sure you have their contact information as well as cell phone numbers of at least two Kef managers.  When necessary, we are on call 24/7.   Ask to be notified of any changes and to be called 45 minutes before their anticipated arrival.

Note:  Local versus Distant packing agents:   Distant agents from the larger shipping hubs tend to be less expensive, though they are more likely to have unpredicted delays.

Storage and related fees are yours to pay.

LCL delivery takes from one to several weeks after clearing customs.  At origin and destination, the smaller the shipment, the less predictable the time of shipping and delivery, the greater chance of delay.   Please see LCL Arrival notice moving to Israel.  At the port in Israel, LCL’s have 28 free days,  at the US port, it depends on the port, usually only a week

Containers that arrive in Haifa and are sent by rail to Ashdod have 2 days of free storage in Ashdod.  Shipments to be cleared and delivered from Haifa have 4 days.   If all goes well, it can take a week to clear through customs and deliver a container.  For all import and export shipments, expect at least a few days of port storage charges and container rental.

Some causes of delay

From your side–for shipments to Israel– not having opened a file at Customs, prepared and presented documents before ship’s arrival,  accepted delivery when offered, or finished paying.  No matter which direction your shipment is heading, not having presented completed customs documents to Kef or our agents, accepting delivery when offered, and finished paying are all of those factors that can freeze the progress of your shipment.

From the shipping side–container unavailability, difficulty filling a shared container, vessel overbooking, cancelling, changing its closeout date, missed connections, engine breakdown,  deleting ports from its schedule, delays or mistakes in documents, strikes, wars, congestion of ports, vessels, trains, trucks, or delivery teams.  Risk of delay is greater in summer, when most of the year’s traffic moves.

Containers loading from storage are more often delayed.     “Live load” containers, where goods are put directly into the shipping container, which is sent straight to port have greater urgency and are less frequently rescheduled.