What are my options when deciding how much to ship?
There are two ways to ship household goods on boats: full container loads and less than full container (LCL) loads. The factors affecting your choice in this matter include the amount of goods you plan to ship, what type of goods they are (size and shape of larger items, how much packing is needed, etc), and your origin location. The type of shipment you send also nominally affects time estimates for loading, customs clearing and unloading at your origin and destination ports. For more information, see our general information on Shipping.
How would I have any idea how much space my stuff will take up in a shipment?
We can give you some guidelines for making a rough estimate on your own, and we can provide you with a preliminary estimate by phone or email based on the information you give us. The best way of accurately predicting your costs, though, is to have our professional surveyor come to your home. If you review with a surveyor exactly what you’re planning to send, he can provide you a reasonably accurate estimate. For more information, see our section on Volume Estimates.
How exact is an on-site volume estimate?
Professional surveyors can make a reasonably accurate estimate, but it will not be 100% precise. You will be billed according to the actual volume you ship, whether in a container, crated, loose, or palletized. If you have less than a container load, having large or irregular shaped items may result in a falsely low volume estimate. Once those items are repacked into smaller spaces, such as pallets or lift vans, they will take up more space than in an open truck or container. In general, volume will be affected by adequate packing, which adds bulk but also protects against damage. Make sure you know whether the estimate you get is Net – just the items themselves – or Brut – after packing/crating/palletizing. For more information, see our section on Volume Estimates.
Do I really need to review the volume estimate in detail with the surveyor?
What if I change my mind about what I want to send after the surveyor comes?
If you make significant changes to what you would like to include in your shipment after the surveyor provides an estimate, you MUST let Kef know. Otherwise, your contract with Kef will be based on the estimate, and the corresponding price quoted in the contract will be a minimum. If you exceed that volume, you will be billed pro-rata for the additional amount. For more details, see our section on Volume Estimates.
In addition, it is a great idea to label items before pickup according to their priority in the shipment. Since volume estimates are often imprecise, prioritizing is important so that you can attempt to limit the volume to fit into the container, or to limit the shipment to a certain volume. If goods are clearly prioritized and loaded according to priority, you will not have to make difficult decisions at the last minute. For more tips, see our section on Preparation at Origin.
What if I don’t know where I’ll be living in Israel or the space isn’t ready yet? How can I store my stuff?
You have several options for storage, either at your origin location or in Israel, and either at the port, in other commercial storage facilities, or in self-storage. The monthly costs vary, as do the various fees associated with transferring your goods. Either way, Kef agents will take care of the arrangements, as long as you give us ample notice. For details, please see our section on Storage.
If I ship a full container, can I just put the entire container into storage until I am ready to unload it?
No. Although in the past it was possible to purchase your own container, now the steamship lines only ship containers that they own, so you must have the container emptied and returned within a few days of its arrival at the port. There are fees associated with unloading (or devanning) the contents of a container for storage. For more information, see our section on Storage.
What if some of my things need to go to storage, but I want part of the shipment delivered right away?
It is possible to deliver part of your shipment and put the rest in storage in Israel, but you will have to separate the goods in advance of pickup and clearly label them according to destination. Especially if you are using an exclusive container, items MUST be loaded separately and in reverse order of delivery in order to avoid significant additional charges at the destination. For more advice regarding labeling goods and packing lists, see our section on Preparation at Origin.
How do I insure my belongings while they are in transit?
Kef works with a reliable insurance company and we will arrange insurance for you – what you need to do is make a detailed, itemized list of your goods and their characteristics, and to choose your deductible. Your various options as well as detailed advice for creating an insurance list can be found in our section on Insurance.
Do I have a choice of deductibles?
Yes: Zero, $150, or $500, $1,000, and, by special request, $5,000, or $10,000. The premiums for these options are listed in our section on Insurance.
If I don’t insure something or underinsure, will someone still compensate me for damage or loss?
No, insurance is your only protection against loss or damage to your goods. If you underinsure, you will be undercompensated. If you do not submit accurate documentation on time, you are self-insured. Kef is definitely not liable in either situation, though we do everything possible to make sure that damages or loss to properly insured shipments are appropriately compensated. Please see our section on Insurance for further details.
What information should the insurance list contain?
For your goods to be properly insured, you must submit to Kef a detailed list of each item and its characteristics: age, brand & model (where applicable), and replacement value in Israel. When you sign a contract with Kef, we will provide you with an Excel template for making an appropriate insurance list, which you may adapt to your needs. Excel is the best format for this list; if you submit it in Word or in handwritten form there will be a fee for the time we must spend to convert it. For more details, see our section on Insurance.
When is this insurance list due?
We need the insurance list before pickup, in order for you to be covered at pickup. There are extra charges for insurance lists submitted or finalized after the packers arrive. For further information on the insurance list see our section on Insurance, and for other steps you should take before pickup to ensure that everything runs smoothly, see Preparation at Origin.
If we don’t supply a 3rd party invoice, valuation, or previous insurance policy of a high-value item before pickup, do we still have coverage?
If the item is damaged or destroyed, and its value can be proven (by inspection, documents and photographs), you could get damages up to its full insured value. If the item goes missing, the maximum you can get is $1,500. For more details on insuring valuables, see our section on Insurance.
Does the customs office see my insurance list?
No. The packing/inventory list goes to customs, the insurance list to the insurers. For more explanation of these two lists, please see our section on Preparation at Origin.
Who makes an inventory list?
The packers make an inventory list, on which they will list any items you have packed yourself as PBO = packed by owner. If you have packed any delicates, they should repack or inspect your packing and NOT mark as PBO so as to qualify those items to be covered by your insurance. You should make sure to review the inventory list with the packers, sign their copy, and keep a copy for yourself. For more details, see our sections on Preparation at Origin and Pickup.
If my contract is for full pack, will I save money if I pack my own non-delicates? Will I compromise my insurance?
It is important for insurance purposes that we pack all your delicates and furniture. Many people prefer to pack their own non-delicates, because that allows them to organize and track their personal items, such as books and clothes. From an insurance point of view, there is no difference on those items between your packing and professional packing. The price is the same whether we pack everything or you pack some. For further details, please see our section on Preparation at Origin.
Can I leave clothing in drawers and files in filing cabinets?
Not unless they are very light and the furniture very strong. Otherwise the furniture could be too heavy, and it could come apart with the moving. For more packing tips, see our section on Preparation at Origin.
Am I required to label my goods and, if so, how?
If your goods are all going to one destination, you are not required, though it is a good idea to label by color and/or other code what will go where upon delivery. Common designations are: MB (master bedroom, BM (basement), BR1 (1st bedroom), GF (ground floor), K (kitchen), and DNS (Do Not Ship).
If your goods are going to more than one destination, however, you MUST label items accordingly and separate them before pickup. Especially if you are shipping in an exclusive container, the goods must be loaded separately (front & back) to avoid extra charges for unloading, sorting and re-loading at the first destination. For more information, see our section on Preparation at Origin.
Do I need to do anything special if there are many stairs, low ceilings, a long distance from the entrance to where the truck can park, or other conditions that would make access difficult at pickup or delivery? What about if I have especially heavy items?
Yes, it is your responsibility to let us know immediately of possible difficult access or heavy items. Not letting Kef know well in advance can result in poor or delayed service and additional charges. In addition, if you do not notify us, damage to goods or surroundings during difficult access will be your responsibility. For more information, see our sections on Preparation at Origin and Preparing for Delivery.
Whose responsibility is it if damage is done because of difficult access?
Please notify us in writing in advance if you do not want us to attempt difficult access, such as a large piece going through a narrow stairway or under a low ceiling. If you notify us, you will have the option of leaving the goods where they are or paying for alternative methods of delivery, such as cables or a crane. If you do not notify us, damage to goods or surroundings during difficult access will be your responsibility. For more details, please see our sections on Preparation at Origin, Preparing for Delivery and Delivery.
How do I avoid waiting for pickup and delivery?
Do I have to be home during the whole time the packers/delivery people are there?
Yes. During pickup, someone who knows what has to be packed and can make crucial decision must be there at all times. Any time the packers/truckers spend without a responsible presence and direction is billable overtime.
During delivery, you should have at least two people at home: one to watch the truckers unload and mark off goods from the packing/insurance list as they come off the truck, the other to direct the porters where to put things. For more information, please see our sections on Pickup and Delivery.
How many packers and delivery people should I expect?
Do I have to feed the packers and delivery people?
How do I make sure the packers take the right stuff?
Use DNS (Do Not Ship) labels, and look around before they leave. Tell them if they took or left something you did not want them to. Don’t rush – it is your responsibility to make sure they have taken and left what they were supposed to, before they leave. For more details, please see our section on Pickup.
Will the shipper give me a bill of lading?
No. Bills of lading are sent to Kef, and they are “express”, meaning that no hard copy is required. You should make sure, however, that the shipper/packers give you a copy of the inventory that they took during the pickup process. For more details, please see our section on Pickup.
Will someone from Kef be at pickup and at delivery?
Can I rely on the accuracy of information given to me by the packers/truckers/delivery people, whether about volume, price, or anything else?
No, you cannot. The same goes for information given to the truckers. All material information exchanges must be in writing with the Kef office.
What happens if the actual volume and/or weight (v|w) is different than the estimated v|w?
Your contract is based on an estimate, which is also a minimum. If you exceed that, you will be billed pro-rata (total price ÷ estimated v|w) for the additional. If you go beyond the capacity of the container, you will be billed for an LCL (less than full container) shipment, including one time fees. For related topics, please see our section on Post-Pickup Questions.
When will I know the final weight/volume?
Sometimes the same day, sometimes after a week or more. Though quite unusual, there are even corrections made after arrival in Israel. For related topics, please see our section on Post-Pickup Questions.
How long will it be before I can get my stuff?
The amount of time required for the actual shipping depends on a number of factors, including origin location, season, and unanticipated events. For rough estimates of likely shipping times, please see our section on Timing.
If you've done what's required for customs clearing well before arrival of the shipment and paid on time, we can usually clear and deliver a container within one week of its arrival at the port. Less-than-container (LCL) loads usually take 2 weeks. If your documents are not with us and complete one week before arrival of your shipment, this will delay the process accordingly. For more information, please see our section on Customs Clearing.
What documents do I need to have in order to clear my shipment through Customs when it arrives? Is there anything I need to do?
Well before your shipment arrives, you should collect your (and your spouse's) passports, your Teudot Zehut, your Teudat Oleh, and your housing contract, and bring it to your local Customs office to have them register you in their computer system. You will then need to email, mail or bring copies of certain pages of these documents to the Kef office, along with a signed form giving our customs clearer power of attorney to act on behalf of your shipment. For a detailed list of the required pages and further instructions, please see our section on Customs Clearing.
How likely is it that my shipment will actually be inspected by Customs? How expensive might that be?
The odds of a shipment being inspected at the seaport are about 1 in 15. The cost for our customs clearer to represent you for an inspection is generally about $100-200 for a less-than-container (LCL) shipment and $400-750 for a full container, depending on its size. For more information, please see our section on Customs Clearing.
Are there any items which are taxable, even if I have tax-free privileges?
If I want two separate deliveries, what should I do?
Before pickup, use very different colored labels that won't come off to sign which items go where. Separate them, and, if you have your own container, make sure one group goes in the back and one in the front. Make sure that the packer has made a clear division between the different groups, and – most importantly – let us know well in advance. For more information, please see our section on Preparation at Origin.
How flexible are delivery times?
Because of a number of unpredictable factors, it is difficult to honor specific requests for delivery dates or times, although you should still let us know of your preference. Please note that we may only be able to give you a few hours’ notice of an exact delivery time, and if you are unable to accept a delivery, it can take a week or more to reschedule. It is best to keep in close touch with us once you are informed that your shipment has cleared Customs. For more information, please see our section on Preparing for Delivery.
Will the delivery people re-assemble everything the packers dis-assembled?
No, they do only simple re-assembly of used items, such as putting legs back on tables, one piece of furniture on top of another piece, and doors back on cabinets – and only upon request. The re-assembly service includes 2 beds and one table. They may be willing to re-assemble more complicated or additional items for an extra charge. For more details, please see our section on Delivery.
When will we have our final price?
After we have the final volume and your insurance list. There are possible extra charges such as extra distance from truck to door, delivery above the 2nd floor, etc..everything is detailed above.
What happens if our payment is late?
Payments not received within 5 days of date due or checks, credit card, or automatic withdrawal payments returned or not honored for any reason can delay goods/services and will incur a 5% surcharge in addition to any fees, such as cancelled check ($25) and storage
How long does it take to get back our deposit?
It usually takes 2-4 months to get final documents from the port, so we can return the deposit.
How do I arrange installation of appliances?
To arrange installation, get more detailed information about preparation of site, and to make certain that the service company knows exactly which appliances they are installing for you, call the service company . To know who to call and make sure they are expecting your call, contact Kef. To avoid missing a full day of work, ask the service agent to call you when he is ½ hour away from your home.