The Black Hole Where Missing Packages Sent to Israel Are Idling

Israel Post is struggling with a sharp increase in volume from Amazon, causing waiting times to balloon

The logo of Amazon is seen at the company logistics centre in Boves, France, November 5, 2019.
PASCAL ROSSIGNOL/ REUTERS

Israelis love to complain about the postal service, which has a reputation for not delivering packages, and the situation worsened in November with a surge in international deliveries, driven in part by Amazon’s offer of free shipping on many orders topping $49.

International ordering was further boosted by the major international shopping days at the end of the year such as Black Friday and China’s Singles Day.

It turns out that in recent months, Israel Post has been renting warehouse space in the town of Zeitan near Ben-Gurion International Airport. The site is used for storing packages that arrive from abroad, amid the sharp increase in Israeli orders from foreign websites.

This, however, would appear to violate Israeli customs law, which obligates the postal service to keep packages shipped from abroad at warehouses subject to customs supervision that also meet specific standards.

The Israel Tax Authority told TheMarker that it would look into the matter.

A day later, after TheMarker contacted Israel Post for a response, the tax authority said it had conducted a review and found nothing inappropriate. Israel Post declined to respond, as did the company that owns the warehouse, Y.R. Dabush.

A senior logistics executive who has seen the Zeitan facility said the postal service was in breach of regulations.

“This is all because the postal service doesn’t know how to handle the volume of packages that arrived in November, so they went looking for storage,” the source said. “They found it in this town, and it’s essentially the black hole for packages.”

Some sources say Israel Post is teetering badly under the weight of the excess volume.

Customers complain of frequent delays and missing packages, and corporate customers have accused the postal service of prioritizing Amazon packages at the expense of those from other companies.

In December, sources told TheMarker that to meet its terms with the U.S. giant, Israel Post seemed to be prioritizing Amazon packages at the expense of others, and possibly also at the expense of other international commerce websites. As a result, packages from other sites were being delayed, with delivery times taking weeks and sometimes even months.