Shipping is expensive, so it makes sense to ship only what you need and will use in your new home in Israel – now is the time to start cutting back. Most shipments are 50/50 – half of the volume is large items, and the other half is the small items which ultimately will go into boxes. This means that it is just as important to sort your clothing, toys, and dishes as it is to debate bringing the sofa and dining room set. Remember that your home in Israel may well be smaller, and let’s face it, if you haven’t used it in the last 12 months, you probably don’t need it anymore. For more information, please see our article on Packing Your Home for Aliyah.

Estimate range for shipping for an Oleh family: $6,000-$14,000 (depending on family size, home size, and origin address)

Definite costs:

Origin: Pick up, Packing, Transport to Port or Loading of Container

The cost will vary depending on the origin location. Not just the specific residence (ground-level home vs. 4th-floor walk-up), but also the local company used (particularly for inland points). While it is best to use a company within a one-hour radius of your home or in the nearest city, the costs may be much more than if you work with a company in a port city that is located hours away. If the company doing the packing is located hours away and there is a problem, the solution may not be available or as good as if the local company is nearby.

Pre-packing generally saves little or no money and the savings may outweigh the costs of buying packing supplies. If you pre-pack, any damages will not be covered by Marine Insurance. You can also choose to load the container yourself (only for containers, not for consolidated loads). This will be a big saving; however, you need to check how much time you have to load, you need to know exactly how many pieces are loaded, you must make a packing list (by piece, matching the number of pieces loaded), and the container will stay on the chassis (about 3-4 feet off the ground). In this case, you take responsibility for any loss or damage except for total loss (container sinking, for example). This is not a decision you make lightly, and you should consider the surrounding costs (packing materials, labor to help you load, money to cover damages).


The cost of shipping should include inland transportation to the port of exit, including (if you don’t have your own container) the cost of trucking to the consolidating warehouse (where it waits until being loaded into the container with other cargo) and any storage while waiting for other cargo. In the US, this should also include any surcharges (fuel or BAF – and Congestion are the common surcharges). Ship lines are obligated to give a 30-day notice of changes in cost except in very rare instances.


As mentioned above, there may be a slight discount if you pre-pack, however part of the savings is that the shipping company doesn’t have to supply materials. If the shipping company you are using will not provide supplies, consider the costs of packing materials. In addition, any damage to the goods you pack will not be covered by Marine Insurance. You can request a volume survey from the shipping company, either in person or via a video call, to help you determine what size shipping container you will need.

General payment allocation:

Little or no deposit should be required before pick-up.

Most charges (around 80%) will be due after pick-up (door-to-door service portion).

The balance will be due before delivery or hand-out (the local charges in Israel – port fees, storage, etc.).


In the port, you will need to pay for a container (approximate charges in Israel, assuming the paperwork is done before the container arrives at the port and you accept delivery ASAP).

Container size:

  • 1*20 500 NIS
  • 1*40 900 NIS
  • 7 days from arrival

Port Fees

THC (Terminal Handling Charge), Delivery Order, Port Tax CHANI, LCC- Bonded Warehouse

This cost will vary depending on many factors and must be in writing on any quote you consider.

Insurance costs 2.5-3% of the insured value. (Standard evaluation 20’ is $50,000; 40’ is $100,000). This means a cost of $1,250-$3,000 on top of the cost of shipping.

Please note that the port fees are paid by the client and not covered by the Aliyah benefit.

Tentative Costs:

  • Customs on ineligible items – For more information see Understanding Your Customs Benefits.
  • VAT on ineligible items
  • Inspection abroad: ~$2,000-$3,500 (in the LA Port approximately 1/3 of containers are inspected)
  • Inspection is Israel: ~5,000nis

* Storage during inspection time is on the client

Levels of service:

  • Door to Door Service (option for full or partial pack).
  • Warehouse to Door: You bring already packed goods to the local warehouse. This is not an option for full containers.
  • Warehouse to Warehouse: You bring already packed goods to the local warehouse in North America and you pick them up from the local warehouse in Israel. This is not an option for full containers.
  • Door to Warehouse: Pick up from your home in North America and then pick up from the warehouse in Israel. This is not an option for full containers

* All of the above must indicate the Port Fees in Israel as noted above.

Do not ask for quotes from Port or to Port. This type of quote does not include the services you need and the fees you need to pay. This type of service is for an experienced shipper only (such as a commercial exporter or commercial importer) who understands incoterms and knows what a “Pikuda Mesira” is. If you don’t know what those mean and how to check them, you aren’t qualified).


A: Via a consolidated container or groupage. This means your goods are loaded into a container with other cargo coming over, but you don’t have to worry about anyone else who has cargo in the container. Your shipment will come in under your name, using your rights, as opposed to sharing a lift (which is illegal). The logistics of this arrangement are on the shipper and not on you.

A: The US Post office offers Airmail M-Bags:

This is only for printed materials, and the books should be packed and sealed in boxes before being loaded into the bags (as the bags may not make it to Israel).

A: No. It is very important that you check that you are getting the “To Door” service. Even in this instance, there may be extra charges depending on exact delivery address. In Israel, it is industry standard to include up to 20 meters from where the truck can (legally) park to the door (of your apartment, not building) and two flights of stairs by foot (inside or out, up or down). A flight is 16-18 stairs.

A: It is totally illegal, both under US and Israeli Law (as well as every other country).

A: The inspection can be done either by the country of origin of export (US, Canada, UK, etc.), or the country you are importing to (Israel).

It is virtually unheard of that Canada will inspect a shipment.

It is also virtually unheard of that the US will inspect, except on shipments leaving the port of LA.

For the Port of LA, budget $4 per cubic foot for consolidated shipments, $4,000 for a 20-foot container, or $6,000 for a 40-foot container. Not all inspections will reach these numbers (and some may even exceed), however if you have this much budgeted and there is an inspection, you should be fine.

For imports to Israel, less than 5% of all shipments are inspected. Budget for the following charges:

Consolidated loads: 500-1,500 NIS for shipments up to 400 cubic feet. Prorate if the volume is greater.

20-foot container: Up to 3,000 NIS

40-foot container: Up to 6,000 NIS.

Again, these are approximate costs for budgeting.

If your shipping company indicates a higher percentage of inspections, if you use them, believe them. Israeli customs profile, and one of the factors are the Israeli customs clearer. So, if you get a quote which says 20% of shipments to Israel are inspected, chances are good that 20% of the shipments that this specific company does really are inspected. As an Oleh Chadash coming from North America to your likely destination in Israel, unless you have had issues with Israeli customs in the past, you are not a profile.

Packing your own boxes doesn’t increase your chances of being inspected. Loading your own container does.

A: Refer to Customs Authority’s Official Customs Immigrant and Foreign Resident Guide.

Note: The items and entitlements mentioned are not 100% up to date. Computers (including desktops, laptops, tablets etc.) have been changed to three per family as opposed to the two mentioned. The first two are customs-free, the third although you are allowed to import, will be taxed. Any number of devices above the third device will require special approval from the Ministry of Communications per device.

For more info speak with Nefesh B’Nefesh’s Advocacy department.

A: Yes, but shipping a car is rarely worth it and the procedures in Israel are painstaking. The current person (one, singular) is neither nice nor concerned about you or your car. If you do ship a car, don’t be surprised if it sits in Israel for weeks before getting the OK, even if it is OK.

A: Two-to-three months before the actual move if you are not moving in June, July, or August. If you are moving in June, July, or August, contact them before Passover.

A: This is always best, but not always possible. If you live more than an hour away from the nearest metropolitan area, or if you have a small and pre-defined shipment (like one single bed and 10 medium boxes), it isn’t always needed. In LA and New York, it is difficult to get a survey for a minimum shipment during the peak season. However, if you are inland, many shipping companies can only give a quote after coming to your home, regardless of the size of the shipment.

A: Hope for the best, but plan for the worst. If you are shipping a full container, you should arrive at least 3-4 days before the earliest possible arrival date. You should then expect the container to arrive at the latest possible arrival date. If it is a consolidated shipment, you should arrive no later than 2 weeks after the earliest arrival date (and again, expect the shipment to arrive at the latest possible arrival date).

Time in transits are always estimated, and the window of arrival you are given is an estimate, not a promise.

A: Container prices are as above, and you get virtually no free time. If the container is more than 7 days, the costs become extremely high.

Consolidated shipments are allowed 30 days free, and after that the costs are a few hundred shekels a month (or part – no pro-rating). Keep in mind that a consolidated shipment may take 2 weeks to clear and deliver.

You should have cold water and a bathroom available for the crew.

Tipping in Israel is not as standard a practice as in the U.S., check with the shipping company regarding tipping expectations.

If anything goes wrong on delivery, ask the crew to stop and speak with your contact person at the shipping company.
It is always easier fix problems when the crew is there rather than to send someone back.

* Last updated on September 1, 2022 *

This guest post was written by Ed Singer of A. Univers Transit. The content presented here represents the information and opinions of the guest writer and not Nefesh B’Nefesh. All prices are estimated and need to be verified directly with your shipping company of choice. Nefesh B’Nefesh does not specifically endorse or recommend any company providing these services, nor can Nefesh B’Nefesh assume any liability or be responsible for your engagement with any company. Any such engagement is between you and the company and is your responsibility.

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