We are regularly asked if we can receive containers of aid collected by volunteers, groups and hospitals. Generally the answer to this is ‘yes’, and they are gratefully received. However, it is essential that we explain the associated regulations, costs and lists of items we do and do not require, so we hope this page will help you.

If you are thinking of sending us a container, please read the following information and guidelines carefully:

Please talk to us first

All containers sent to Hand in Hand for Syria must be approved by us in advance and booked in. No containers can be sent without prior notice and approval, and we almost always ask the sender to cover some, if not all, of the costs involved (please see below). Container schedules are passed to our head of logistics in Turkey and a donation certificate is required. Shipments into Turkey (especially with Syria as the final destination) are governed by strict regulations and, quite rightly, come under close scrutiny. You will need to provide full information as to the container’s contents.

How our shipments work

  • We ship containers by road and then sea from London, Nottingham, Birmingham or Edinburgh to the Port of Mersin, south-eastern Turkey
  • The containers and/or their contents are then moved from  Mersin to Zero Point (the border between Turkey and Syria)
  • The contents of the container are then off-loaded onto a truck from Syria, because containers are not allowed inside Syria
  • The truck is then moved from Zero Point to our warehouse in Syria
  • We then take the truck into our warehouse to sort through it and document what was received before reaching out to final beneficiaries.

Associated costs

  • Warehousing in the UK, if storage is required
  • Shipment from the UK to Turkey (around £1,600 per container)
  • Processing and transport from Mersin to Zero Point (around £1,500 per container)
  • Transport from Zero Point to our Syrian warehouse (around £300 per container)
  • Transport of contents to beneficiaries varies according to the geographical location, but can be as high as £400 for a small truck (fuel is very expensive in Syria and is a high proportion of this cost)
  • Staff costs for the above.

Therefore, each container of aid for Syria costs around £4,000 to process and transport. Because of the volume of containers we receive, we are unable to shoulder the full cost. We therefore request that all container shipments are accompanied by a contribution of £4,000. Please contact us to discuss how this can be arranged.

Items we cannot accept

  • Old or broken medical equipment, or equipment with missing parts or requiring consumables which cannot be replaced
  • Used clothing or bedding
  • Medication (unless supplied in bulk, and with our advance agreement, by a medical or pharmaceutical organisation)
  • Perishable items, including perishable foodstuffs
  • Luxury items (please consider carefully what is appropriate to people in a conflict zone).

Items we are delighted to accept

  • High-quality new or used medical equipment IN GOOD WORKING ORDER (please contact us first to discuss), including theatre equipment (large and small, including operating tables); defibrillators, heart monitors and ECG machines; surgical tools and external fixators; anaesthetic equipment & ventilators; obstetric & neo-natal equipment; radiography equipment; suturing equipment & supplies; dressings & bandages; oxygen generators; baby incubators; dialysis equipment with consumables
  • High-quality new medical consumables (please contact us first to discuss)
  • Hospital beds, stretchers, wheelchairs and crutches IN GOOD WORKING ORDER
  • NEW clothing (we cannot accept used items due to Turkish import regulations)
  • Non-perishable foods, notably bags of rice, sugar, pasta and (most importantly) tinned food
  • NEW blankets, groundsheets & sleeping bags
  • Diesel generators IN GOOD WORKING ORDER
  • Baby milk (we adhere to strict international humanitarian policies on baby milk, but we do take it deep into Syria for orphans & abandoned children)
  • Toiletries (soap, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes, etc).

Please talk to us about your plans

We would be delighted to discuss your plans for sending us a container of aid. Please help us to understand what your plans are, and help us to help you. Email us at logistics@handinhandforsyria.org

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