Damages & Marine Insurance

broken-chair

No doubt.

Many years ago during a delivery, one of the crew members opened up the cardboard wrappings around a leather office chair and he accidentally made a long cut in the leather with his box-cutter knife.

There was no dispute or doubt — he cut the chair with his knife.  It was clear as day and everybody knew it — but in the end, he was not responsible for his carelessness.

Thank God this incident didn’t happen to one of our customers, but it did happen, and it was the first dose of ‘cold water in the face’ that I encountered in the shipping industry.

Not only that…

Not only is the delivery agent was not responsible for their actions/mistakes, but the packing agent and port workers too are 100% exempt from restitution for any damages that occur by their actions.

It’s for this reason, and others, that marine insurance is available.

If a client elects to pass on marine insurance and there are damages, then there is nothing to be done — there is no recourse or compensation.

The Bright Side

On the bright side, these stories of carelessness are vary, vary rare, but damages do occur.

What’s items are most commonly damaged?

Since I only know what I’ve been told the list might be skewed, but it seems wood furniture has the highest rate of damage, and glass items – but less then you might expect.

Of the reported damages, most often it’s large or long pieces of furniture that are very heavy or difficult to maneuver and IKEA / ready-to-assemble furniture.   Most damages are relatively insignificant like rubs, scrapes or scratches and it’s very rare that a solid, hearty piece of furniture gets broken.

 

Gross Volume 101

The industry standard in partial shipment billing  is based on the gross volume – the outside measurements (length x width x height) of a pallet or crate.

The gross volume is always more then the sum of it’s parts because 1) the pallet that the items are stacked on takes up space and 2) most often the stacked boxes do not form a complete cube.

Consider the two LEGO shipments below.

Imagine the pallet on the left is 48″ x 40″ and the boxes are stacked 48″ high – that would make the gross volume to be about 54 cubic feet or 1.54 cubic meters.

If you add just ONE book box (which is only 1.5 cubic feet) to the top of the stack, then the whole gross volume increases to 66 cubic feet or 1.88 cubic meters.

The amount of “wasted space” from the pallet and the unused space at the top amounts to 27% — that’s a considerable amount of space to be paying for but not actually using.   (The pallet itself is only 6 inches tall but it’s about 7 cubic feet.)

From surveying websites, it seems the accepted “wasted space” with regular household goods is 10% to 20% of the packed volume.   That means a stacked/palletized 300 cubic foot shipment would have a gross volume of 330 to 360 cubic feet.

 

A Great Example.

Often young people want to ship their bed and a dozen boxes.  When calculating the volume of each item it might come out to 100 cubic feet, but from the way it gets stacked on the pallet the gross volume could be much, much more.

Why?

Because the bed is long and the gross volume is based on the outside measurements.

 

If you have any questions, please contact us at AliyahLift@gmail.com.

Container Loading = Playing Tetris

tetris

If you haven’t heard of it before, Tetris is an old video game where buttons are used to guide falling tetrominoes (colored block packages) so they stack together and the spaces are completely filled in.

We’ve been told many times this is how our customer’s containers were loaded – like the Tetris game.

Our crews are Tetris masters

How did they get so good?  Simple, our crews have years of experience packing & loading containers.  They really know how to load ’em snug and with minimal wasted space.

Tetris-style loaded containers keep goods from shifting about during transit – reducing potential damages, and with maximized space, more can be included.

Other factors our crews keep in mind is weight distribution throughout the container and the nature of what’s being loaded – keeping fragile goods safe!

 

Self-Pack & Self-Loaded Containers.

Often families on a budget will opt for self-packing and self-loading their own container.   If this is on your agenda, the we suggest the following tips:

  • Solid boxes should be used for packing.
  • Small boxes are for books & heavy items and larger boxes for lighter items.
  • Double-walled “dishpack boxes” should be used for dishes and all fragile items.
  • Put FRAGILE stickers on goods needing special handling.
  • Do not skimp on the packing/wrapping materials.
  • Use linens or clothes whenever possible for additional padding.
  • Arrange your boxes and furniture in the order that they will be loaded.
  • Load first non-fragile, large items — furniture, boxes of books, etc.
  • Sofas and mattress should be loaded on-end.
  • Load last, but securely, rugs, fragile items or other items of special interest – like a child’s box of favorite toys.  (Rugs can quickly be laid down before furniture is unloaded and fragile boxes can be put in a safe place right after being unloaded.)

 

Whether you chose a self-pack or full-service shipment, we here to help you every step of the way.

 

 

 

Hidden Fees?

fees

Now that Pesach has past we’re in the season of Questions & Answers.  This is when summer shippers ask questions on services, timing, cost and ultimately, hidden fees…

When people ask me if there are “any hidden fees” it makes me laugh — and sigh.   I laugh because of the absurdity of the question, and I sigh because such a thought/concern exists in our niche market.

Why is this question so absurd to us?

First, why would we ruin our good name, which has taken years to establish, for a couple extra dollars?

Second, any gain from hidden fees would quickly destroy our reputation through social media like Facebook.

Third, how could I sleep at night?

Fourth, even if there were hidden fees, why would I fess up to them?  

Fifth, if you’ve seen our proposal, you know it’s very well detailed.  Why?  Because we want you to be knowledgeable and prepared, with no surprises – or hidden fees.

(Speaking of our proposals, we use a cloud-based proposal management software which tracks and reports viewing activity.  We know when somebody reads a lot or when they look only at the pricing.

The activity reports confirmed what we’ve suspected for a long time – most people don’t spend time reviewing the details of their shipment.)

Sixth, it would be an act of heresy and a very mean thing to do.

Are their potential extra charges?

Yes, there are a few unique delivery situations resulting in additional fees, which are all clearly listed & explained in the proposal.

However, if that page never gets viewed, the charges could be misconstrued at “hidden fees” — and that’s too bad because they were never hidden, just never read.

 

Unlocking the Mysteries of Volume

Recognize these iconic chairs? What's the volume? Answer at the bottom.

Recognize these iconic chairs? What’s the volume? Answers at the bottom.

 

Volume is the biggest cost factor in international shipping.  It also happens to be one of the hardest concepts for people to understand.

 

Due to it’s complex nature, we’ve spent considerable effort explaining it in a variety of ways.

Spreadsheet.  Initially, we would sent out an Aliyah Lift Volume Estimator spreadsheet filled with the volumes of common items throughout a home.   Customers could plug in the quantity and get an approximate volume.   (I think we will revamp this and offer it again.   Additionally, I looked at apps on the market and/or developing an app specifically for Aliyah Lift Shipping.  Perhaps we will put that together in the near future.)

Video.  A couple years later we produced two videos ( Volume Video 1 & Volume Video 2) showcasing 10 household items per video and their volume, set to some fun lounge music.  It’s a passive learning experience and a good way to get the basics of how big things in the home are.  (Based on the views it seems these tools are underutilized.  Maybe two minutes is too long to spend….)

Hybrid – Lists, Picture and Dimensions.  Here at our 200 Cubic Feet – Minimum Shipment webpage we approach the concept with different approaches – including the absurd, because maybe that will help somebody too!

Visual.  Just the other day, in our home office. we were discussing creative ways to explain volume and the idea occurred to me – pictures of rooms loaded with furniture and the volume of each item clearly labeled.  It seemed so obvious but yet, I had not seen it before!

Home Survey.  Ultimately, a home survey with our highly-skilled surveyors is the best way to get an approximate total volume.  Since we value our agents time, we prefer to set up surveys once we have a good feeling we will be handling the move.

 

So, without further delay, we present our latest webpage > VOLUME CENTRAL

(The volumes are approximate and may not reflect what’s in your home but it should help.)

 

And now for the answers….

Bunkers

Archie & Edith’s chairs were once on display at the Smithsonian museum.

Archie’s chair is about 25 cubic feet, Edith’s chair is about 15 cubic feet and the table between them is about 5 cubic feet.

 

 

 

Moving to Israel 1 : Avoiding Potential Delivery Charges

house

One of the last things people think about when finding a home in Israel is the effect it will have on their delivery.

Coincidentally, some of the most ignored information in a proposal are the potential delivery charges….

Scary, huh?

Here’s some ideas to consider when looking for your first home in Israel:

Extra Stairs.  Our services provide delivery to the second floor (about 32 steps) without an elevator.

Potential Scenarios :  Many cities are situated on hills, thus many homes may have many steps to the door, or apartment buildings may not have an elevator and/or if they do, not everything will fit and some items need to be hand carried up the stairs.

Long Haul/Carry Delivery.  Our services includes delivery up to 20 meters from the truck to the door.

Potential Scenarios :  Again, some hillside home have parking at the top or bottom of the hill and the distance to the door is greater then 20 meters.  Other homes are simply a long way from the parking lot, or places like Tzfat or the Old City in Jerusalem may not have close, normal parking available.  All of these situations might be ideal for living in, however the delivery will cost more.

Difficult Access.  Our delivery includes delivery through normal means and not through convoluted, Plan B methods.

Potential Scenarios :  This is one of those situations where you know it when you see it or after Plan A has failed.  Wide or bulky furniture may not make it up a narrow staircase or with tight turns in narrow hallways.

[I recall a local (Ma’alot) delivery where the construction of the entrance to the home was such that a couch could not be delivered in the normal way.  In the end, it was suspended by ropes from the upper level and delivered through a window.  (Needless to say the crew would have rather taken it through the front door if they could have.)]

Shuttle Service.  Mostly applicable to container shipments where close/ample parking is not available/legal.

Potential Scenarios :  Homes with their only access is from a busy street or where parking is continually filled up and the truck/container has to be parked further away.   Again, places like Tzfat or the Old City, where roads cannot accommodate a container.

External Lifting Equipment.  When normal delivery is simply not possible.

Potential Scenarios :  This is a very rare situation when goods, like a piano, cannot fit in the elevator and the delivery is in a tall building making hand carrying unrealistic.  Effort is always used to avoid using an “outside elevator”.

Final thoughts…

Please keep these potential charges in mind when moving to Israel and looking for your first home.  And, if you do find “just the right place” and some of these charges might apply, then you’ll be prepared for the added expanse and life will be better.

Also, the delivery crews would much rather have a simple, straight-forward delivery — it saves them time and energy and probably increases their chances of a higher tip.

 

PBO – Packed By Owner

boxes of booksThere is  a lot of discussion about self-packed boxes & shipments.  Are they red flags for an inspection?  Are they covered by insurance?

So, without further ado, here’s the scoop on PBO boxes…

Verifiable.  First, if you chose to pack your own boxes, don’t tape them shut – the contents need to be verified for the inventory.

Responsibility & Coverage.  Also, the inventory will list the box/item as PBO because 1) it is, 2) it may effect insurance coverage and 3) if there would be a security problem then the owner would be responsible and not the packing crew or agent.

Insurance.  The insurance company may cover PBO boxes of non-fragile goods, like clothes, linens or books, since there is very little chance they will get broken.  Obviously, PBO boxes of china, glass, and the like are not covered in an All Risk policy.

Inspection.  In our 8 years for shipping we’ve had 3 container inspections at the Haifa port (none at Ashdod) and I believe they were all self-packed and self-loaded containers.  Two were more of a random selections and the third, well, that made the headlines due to reasonable suspicion.   (We know the details of this shipment very well and it was one big ugly misunderstanding/mistake.)

If you have any questions about PBO boxe, please send us an email at AliyahLift@gmail.com

 

Finding Gratitude in Shipping

CaptureThere is a general rule — if you want to hide something special or important, put it in a place where nobody will look.  This is the relationship between gratitude and shipping!

People dread going through their homes deciding what to take, and, what not to take.  For an older family it can take weeks and even months to get ready for their packing day.

Why not take this time and utilize it to its fullest?

When going through your home and figuring out what to ship, take note of an item and think about how you got it & how it’s helped you.  Once you’ve come to a higher-level of realization and appreciation for the item, thank G-d with words because — He gave it to you.

If Perkei Avot tells us that a “wise person” is somebody who is “happy with what he has“, then you will be a super-genius at the end of your aliyah preparations!

Security with Sanity

SurveyThe general consensus with our customers is that doing the insurance is the worst thing about shipping.  Think about it — you have to record, as accurately as possible, everything in your home, and assign replacement values!

We at Aliyah Lift Shipping suggest the following approach to get maximum security while maintaining your sanity.  We call it the “Large-Medium-Small Attack Plan“.

  1. Large.  Start with large items like furniture/appliances and high valued items in each room.  On your application, record the quantity of each item and the value per item.  Do this room-by-room, but remember, focus on large and valuable first.
  2. Medium.  Once you have all the large and high-value items accounted for, start on smaller, lower-valued goods – like lamps, rugs, folding chairs, etc.   Again, going room-by-room, record the quantity of each item and the value per item.
  3. Small.  Next, going room-by-room, work on the smaller and more voluminous items in your home — books, clothes, lines, dishes, etc.   This is definitely the most tedious part, so you might want to spread it out over a few days.

IMPORTANT : If you have similar items but with very different values like paperbacks & hardcover or Lennox & melamine or crystal wine goblets & simple glass cups — insure these separately because the values are different.

The general rule is – the more detailed and exact your inventory, the better your coverage is.