Selecting Trade Show Freight Services

April 12, 2019
Andrew Doerfler
Voiced by Amazon Polly

Trade shows and conventions present lucrative opportunities for businesses. By exhibiting at an industry expo, you can reach new prospective clients and raise brand awareness. But before you can get on the action, you need to choose your trade show freight services. To make an impact at the event, it’s important to make sure your booth and materials arrive to the trade show floor on time.  

Hiring a professional, experienced company for trade show freight services means peace of mind in the lead-up to the event. A freight service provider should offer comprehensive shipping services that anticipate all of an exhibitor’s needs throughout a shipping process

Before committing to a carrier, brush up on the must-know information about trade show freight services.

trade show freight shipping terms

Important Trade Show Freight Services Shipping Terms

When shipping trade show materials, it helps to know your way around the language of freight carriers and supply chains. That way, you know exactly how to evaluate consultations and quotes from trade show specialists. These are a few of the most important terms and phrases to know when discussing shipping and transportation services.

Advance receiving: This is the term for the location determined by the trade show where freight will be stored and eventually shipped to the show site for move-in.

Bill of Lading: Your bill of lading (BOL) lays out the terms between you and the transportation company handling your trade show shipment. The bill of lading should make clear the delivery times and whether the delivery requires an appointment. They should also include your company’s name, the show name, the booth number, service contractor, pieces and weight.

Drayage: Drayage refers to the service of carrying freight a short distance via ground transportation. Oftentimes, drayage is used in intermodal shipping to convey cargo from one form of transportation to another. In many cases, trade show shipments will require drayage services.

Forced Freight: If your trade show items or materials are left on the trade show floor after move-out, they become “forced freight.” That means your items will be moved to another location, and you’ll be responsible for the costs. The possibility of forced freight is just one reason it’s important to hire a professional moving and logistics company to handle your shipment.

Marshaling Yard: This is where trucks holding shipments for a trade show gather to await dispatch to the expo venue. This keeps the drop-off and move-in process moving smoothly and avoids jams when booths and materials are being delivered.

Material Handling Agreement: A material handling agreement authorizes a company to perform a drayage service.

Target Date: Trade show organizers assign a target date to exhibitors that tells them when their shipments can arrive at the event location. It’s important that your materials arrive to the show on time - shipments that arrive before or after the target dates can incur fees for the exhibitor.

Selecting Trade Show Freight Services 1

What to Look for in Trade Show Transport Companies

Hiring a provider of trade show freight services shouldn’t just be a one-time transaction. If you plan to continue exhibiting at industry expos, you want to find an experienced trade show shipping company that you can trust with your shipments for years to come. To build that relationship, it’s important to outline the criteria that will assure you that a company is up to the task. Here’s what you should look for in a trade show shipping company.

  • Emphasis on Customer Service and Communication: An affordable price point is great, but if the company doesn’t back it up with quality service, you’ll end up regretting your meager savings. 24/7 communication and problem-solving are well worth a little markup when you consider the stress and anxiety it reduces.
  • An Experienced Team: Trade show shipping is its own beast, with unique considerations and complications. It’s best to work with a shipping and logistics company with a dedicated trade show team with years of experience in the field.  
  • Transparency: A great shipping company won’t be dodgy about their costs -- they know their level of service, consistency and reliability will justify the expenditure. They should also be clear about their terms and condition.
  • Clear on Deadlines: You and your shipping company should both know when each step of the trade show shipping process needs to happen.
  • Comprehensive Services Offered: The shipping company you choose should know that a trade show shipment requires more than just conveying the items from one place to another. Packaging and crating, warehousing, debris removal and other special services are a must.
  • A Strong Track Record: Don’t hesitate to ask for references. Hiring a trade show company is a big commitment, and you deserve as much confidence as possible that the shipper is up for the job. Even better is a personal referral from someone you already know and trust.

Trade Show Shipping Products and Services You Need

Handling a trade show shipment involves more than simply carrying the items from point A to point B. Ask a prospective trade show shipping company about the following trade show freight services:

trade show shipping products and services you need

  • Warehousing and storage
  • Packaging and crating
  • White glove service
  • Debris removal
  • 24/7 customer service with actual people
  • Expedited ground service
  • Less than truckload (LTL) shipping and truckload shipping

Advance Warehousing or Direct to Site Shipping?

When it comes to shipping to a trade show, one of the major decisions any exhibitor will have to make is whether to transport the booth and materials directly to the event venue or send the items to a warehouse in advance of the expo. Both direct to site shipping and advance warehouse shipping have pros and cons.

Direct to Site Shipping

With this method, exhibition materials are transported straight to the trade show site. Usually, exhibitors will be assigned a target date within the show’s move-in window. This takes place within the days leading up to the start of the event. Because the shipment is going directly to the venue, the shipment changes hands fewer times throughout the shipping process. This reduces handling costs and the risk of damage to the items.

Selecting Trade Show Freight Services 1

However, this method can sometimes bring about unforeseen costs. In direct to site shipping, your cargo will be more susceptible to delays caused by weather, traffic or logistical concerns. If your items arrive before or after your target date, the trade show will probably charge you fees. To avoid these problems, work with a professional, experienced logistics company.

Advance Warehouse Shipping

Your other option is advance warehouse shipping, where items are sent to a storage facility near the trade show location long before the event begins. This will probably involve higher handling costs and stricter packaging requirements, but it also comes with peace of mind: Your booth and materials will be ready to go over to the venue on your target date. It’s one less thing to worry about in the frenzy leading up to the start of the show.

Trade Show Freight Services with R+L Global Logistics

For confidence that your trade show freight services are in good hands, look no further than R+L Global Logistics for your trade show freight services. With a dedicated team well-versed in the ins and outs of trade show freight services, R+L Global has the experience and expertise you need to get your exhibition materials to the venue without a hitch.

Whether you’re ready to ship or need consulting services, R+L Global offers a full slate of logistics solutions for trade show exhibitors and exhibit designers and builders. 24/7 customer service with live representatives keeps you in the know about the status of your shipment throughout every step of the process.

Find out more about how R+L Global can improve your trade show experience by calling 866-415-8986 or using the chat feature.

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