SEFCO Export
Management Company, Inc.


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When a shipper wants to save money by forgoing professional origin services in favor of self-packing and delivering the freight to the CFS terminal, you must keep the following in mind:
  • When delivering freight to a CFS nothing raw will be shipped out
  • CFS terminals aren't origin warehouses. These are actual terminals where freight is consolidated into containers and deconsolidated out of containers.
  • All freight must be properly packaged into boxes, corrugated cardboard, or shrink-wrapped
  • Furthermore all freight must be placed on pallets and shrink-wrapped or it must be placed into a prefab liftvan or custom wooden crate
  • The reason for this type of mandatory packaging is that at the CFS terminals freight is loaded into containers and out of containers by high low lift-forks and if your freight is raw or just in a box these machines will damage or even destroy your freight.

Here are some self-packaging and pier delivery suggestions:
When it comes to packing personal effects into boxes I recommend the following packaging materials and boxes:
  • Roll of shrink-wrap: can be used for a wide variety of purposes
  • Roll of bubble-wrap:: can be used for a wide variety of purposes but provides added protection for fragile items.
  • Book cartons: are normally 2 cuft. and can hold up to 20 -25 books. These cartons can also be used for CD'S, DVD'S, videocassettes, and toiletries.
  • Linen cartons: normally measure 4 cuft. and can be used to hold your linens, comforters and blankets. They also can be used for holding small kitchen appliances, pots/pans, and crockery.
  • Dish-packs: normally measure 6 cuft. and they are excellent for sets of china and glassware. Because they come with bubble-wrap, they are also good for any of your fragile items that you may want to protect.
Places that sell packaging materials are as follows:
  • Packaging Plus Stores
  • Mailboxes Etc
  • Storage facilities
  • Online vendors like Achor Box that are shown on our website

What are pallets?
Pallets are wooden skids that provide a strong foundation for stacking boxes of personal effects on to them. Pallets can be made out of wood, heavy duty corrugated cardboard, or plastic. The normal size is 3' x 4' and when boxes are stacked can hold on average up to 60 cuft. However there are times when you will have perfectly symmetrical boxes, making it easier to stack and therefore increasing the volume up to 90-100cuft.
For pictures of pallets and to see how freight is loaded and stacked on them, please go to the following:

Where can I get pallets?
  • Some of the packaging stores I mentioned above are now carrying the plastic or corrugated pallet
  • On line companies shown on our website now sell pallets and can have them shipped to you overnight.
  • Build your own pallet by going to a hardware store or lumber yard and buying some 2 x 4's and plywood. Just make sure the wood is new and you keep the size of the pallet to 3' x 4'.
  • Loading docks: go to any big store at your local mall or mini mall and go to where the loading docks and you will see stacked pallets on the loading dock. Ask the supervisor if you can have a pallet or 2 and believe me they will give it to you. For your information, most of these pallets will never again be used and they just get thrown away at your local dump or landfill. It's important to note that the pallets must be in relatively good shape. Pallets that show signs of warn or rotting wood will not be accepted at the CFS terminal.
  • Delivery men; whether you have just bought and delivered a big screen TV or packaging materials your delivery guy may have some unused pallets in their trucks that they may give away to you.
  • CFS terminals: as I mentioned above these aren't origin warehouses, but most terminals can provide a shipper with basic palletization services provided that the freight is prepacked in boxes and delivered to their terminal. Please check with Sefco ahead of time before delivering your freight to the terminal. The standard fee for this service at most CFS terminals (not all) is $1.75 / cuft.$175.00 min. For more information on origin rates please go to:

What does palletization mean?

Once you have your pallet and your freight has been prepacked into boxes, then it's time to put the freight on to the pallet.

  • Load the larger boxes first followed by medium and small. You want to try and keep everything symmetrical and stackable.
  • Once the boxes have been loaded onto the pallet please use shrink-wrap to tack the freight to the pallet.
  • After shrink-wrapping, use bands that are sold at all packaging stores, to go over the shrink-wrapped freight on pallet. Bands keep the freight secure and everything together
  • Please load in area where you are able to load the pallet into the truck. Loading your freight onto a pallet in a very tight inaccessible area isn't recommended.
  • Make sure your truck has a lift-gate when loading the pallet into the truck or another suggestion to load everything onto the pallet at the CFS terminal where a lift-fork can easily pick it up and delivers it to the loading area.
Other packaging suggestions for prepacked boxes of personal effects:
  • Superbox: very durable box that can hold up to 45 cuft. / 450 lbs. It is made for shippers who have boxes of personal effects not for shippers who have any type of furniture, mattresses etc. If you order a superbox please note they don't come with a pallet as seen on the website so you will have to ask the delivery person for a pallet. For more information, please go to:
  • Footlockers and trunks: are excellent ways to ship your boxes of personal effects. They are cheap but sturdy and generally don't need to be palletized. We have contacts to trunk manufacturers and vendors for our clients who may like to purchase some: click here

What is a liftvan?
This term means prefab wooden crating of freight. Most origin warehouses have prefab liftvans in stock so that when it comes to packaging bigger items like furniture / mattresses they can easily accommodate. It should be pointed that the average liftvan is 196cuft. but many warehouses can have smaller size liftvans on hand. If you decide that you can build your own liftvan, then please keep the following in mind:
  • Use brand new wood
  • Build in an open area or in a garage that can provide easy pickup access
  • Look at the pictures of a liftvan being built at one of our agents' warehouses shown here:
  • Make sure you have an idea of the dims. of the liftvan you are going to build in relation to the amount of volume of freight you have
  • Build the platform or base first. You will note that the bottom of a liftvan has a pallet like bottom so that the lift-forks can easily get underneath it.
  • The load some of the bigger items on it first, then build your sides and finally once you have everything in finish with the top connecting it to the sides.
  • If you are good with wood then this is relatively easy to do, if not then I would recommend a local carpenter who would be able to easily build you a liftvan at a good price.

Whatever type of packaging you use for your freight, please make sure to provide a detailed inventory list of what you have packed. It is very important, but sometimes shippers will pack the boxes first and then forget what they packed into boxes when loading onto a pallet or into a liftvan. Here are a couple of suggestions when it comes to your inventory list:
  • Don't generalize
  • Be precise and concise
  • Note that we will need the contents of all boxes of personal effects with a stated quantity e.g. books / academics / 25 books per carton
  • Boxes should be labeled or marked to correspond with what you have on your inventory list
  • There should be a market value for the items stated on the inventory list
  • If these are new items please provide all copies of purchase receipts of items
  • For more information on the making of an inventory list, please go to the following:
  • A further note about inventory lists in that this document is very important in clearing your freight through Customs of the country you are shipping and in regarding VAT taxes and import duties. Generally if freight is over 1 year of age and there is no intention of the shipper to resell to the general public then there will be no taxes or duties. But Sefco highly recommends you check with the consulate of the country you are shipping to on personal effects regarding VAT taxes import duties etc.

Linehualing your freight to the CFS terminal:
Lastly, if you are unable to deliver your prepacked freight to the CFS terminal, we can make arrangements for a linehual trucker to pickup your freight from your door. Please keep the following in mind:
  • Linehual truckers will not provide for any form of packaging
  • Straight pickup only
  • Have all freight prepacked and on a pallet or in a liftvan
  • Have freight at curbside or in an accessible area
  • On the scheduled pickup day a linehual dispatcher will call you that day and provide you with a time frame window for the pickup. Exact time pickups cost a lot more.
  • Linehual rates as stated in the LCLFACTSHEET are determined by weight not volume.
  • Linehual pickups are normally scheduled a good week in advance
  • Please check with a Sefco representative ahead of time for this type of service and the additional charges associated for this type of service.


your team, at...
Sefco Export Management Company, Inc.

Phone: 888-268-0565
Fax: 718-732-2863

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