There are two ways to ship household goods on boats:

  1. Less than Full Container Loads (LCL)
  2. Full Container Loads (FCL)

Less than Full Container Loads (LCL) or “consolidation”

This is the kind of shipment you use when–either because that’s all you have to send, or you left goods behind, or your exclusive container has overflow– you need to ship less than a (mostly) full container.   Kef packs a container with the belongings of 2-10 people. Goods are crated in wooden boxes or bound on wooden pallets. Each individual has his own shipping documents, and there is a group document as well. When the container arrives at the port, it takes ~ 4-8 days for the container to be unloaded and documents prepared for each of the consignees.


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?”

LCL-less than container load

Items Price
Documents/bill of lading shipping to Israel $75-115
Usable volume taken up by your goods  times a per cubic foot rate
Israel agents’ fee $75
Terminal handling charges $40
Port fees $46/1000 kilos or part, $46 min
Devanning (empty container at port) $0. 70/cft, min $65
Communications $70
Preparation of clearing documents $35
Customs clearing and delivery $1.35/cft, min $380
Second or more deliveries Same city $145

Different city $195

Full Container Loads

Kef hires a container, either a 20 foot long one, or a 40, or an extra high 40, then fills it with your goods and brings it to the ship. In urban areas, it may not be possible to load the container at your house; there could be charges for double handling. For larger containers, packing is done one day, then loading and sealing the next.

The door of the container is closed with a visibly sealed lock. It is easier for the Customs Clearer to see if the seal is intact and to report any irregularity before passing through customs. If there is no customs/security inspection, shuttle, or other special reason,  the seal will remain unbroken until it arrives at your home. Containers can fit large items—such as a car—or unusually shaped items that would otherwise require the construction of a specially shaped crate.

The internal measurements of containers are as follows:

20 foot : L 5.9 m, W 2.35 m, H 2.35, door: W 2.343 m, H 2.278.   holds about 1000 cubic feet of packed household goods
40 foot: L 12.0 m, W 2.35 m, H 2.395 m, door: W 2.343 H 2.280.  holds about 2000 cubic feet of packed household goods

20′ container

How quickly do you need to clear a container?

Containers must be cleared and delivered within two days of arrival in Israel. After that time, container rental and port storage fees add up at a rate of between $25-110/day for rental of the container and port fees. See the chart in the storage section below.

Once you could purchase and ship your own container—no more.

The steamship lines now only ship containers that they own.

Factors that influence the relative costs of shipping in consolidation or in your own container

  1. Where you ship from: the further you are from a major port, the more you save with a container, because consolidations are harder to come by and more expensive.
  2. How much of the container you fill: the fuller it is, the better the value.
  3. How much packing there is: the most expensive part of shipping is not the freight; it’s the packing and loading.

If my volume estimates over a 20 footer, but I think I can eliminate enough to fit into a 20′.  What should I do?

It frequently works out that people are left with additional goods that they wish they could ship.  Think seriously about going with a 40′; the additional costs are usually less than paying for overflow as an LCL.


The chart above represents standard LCL (less than container load) fees.   Unless otherwise arranged, it is the manner in which overflow from an exclusive container is shipped.     If it does not go on the same vessel as the container, it is counted as a separate shipment (another one of 3 for new immigrants, one of 2 for returnees.)   

It is more expensive on a per cubic foot basis, both because you have to pay the minimum charges for each stage in the shipping process and because goods are crated or palletized, which adds 15-25% to the billable volume, compared with the net volume inside of an exclusive container.   Also it is much easier to maximize the use of space in a large, exclusive container, than in a crate or on a pallet.

Typically minimum volume is 150-200 cubic feet, and costs are minimum $1,850.     This can work out to be 1.5-2.0 times the per cubic foot costs in an exclusive container, once you take all the peripheral charges into account.