Let’s face, we’re living in difficult times and shipping to Israel is no exception.

The Coronavirus has wreaked havoc on an already fragile system resulting in:

  • An overall increase in shipping rates
  • Difficulties in securing bookings with the shipping lines
  • Equipment (containers and/or chassis) shortages
  • Unexpected charges like equipment imbalances, port storage or demurrage (another type of storage charge)
  • Shipping line’s monthly rate increases based on oil increases or operational expenses
  • Delays at the port
  • Delays at transshipment points (a transshipment is where the container is unloaded by the first vessel at a hub port and delivered by a second vessel — much like a long flight where there is a change of planes.)
  • Warehouse handling fees if a container is not available on the loading day
  • Container storage, chassis rental and additional trucking charges resulting from a shipping line’s last minute change of schedule

Here is a great video with a deeper explanation : How Ocean Shipping Works (And Why It’s Broken)

To make matters worse, there has also been an uptick in inspections in the USA and Israel resulting in increased charges and time delays.

This year Rosh HaShannah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot are in the middle of the week, greatly reducing the time for files to clear customs and receive deliveries. (See the schedule here.) It is financially advantageous to avoid shipments to arrive during this time period. (But remember, scheduling has gotten complicated with unexpected delays.)

Yitzhak Sasson at Aliyah Lift Shipping suggests the following for maximum preparedness :

  • Thoroughly read and understand your proposal. Historically, the “small print” has not been an issue — but it is now.
  • Determine best-case and worst-case timing scenarios and keep the High Holidays in consideration.
  • Budget for potentially unexpected, but contractually legitimate charges.
  • Understand that shipping companies really want your shipment to go smoothly and without extra fees or charges.
  • Be flexible.

Hatzlacha Rabba!