Tradeshow and Exhibit Thoughtleaders
"The goal of education is the advancement of knowledge
and the dissemination of truth."

John F. Kennedy

Brett Lipeles' Articles

Trade Show Freight Handling Costs –
Use these tips to reduce costs


Return to Brett's Webpage


Freight handling, also called drayage, costs are usually the second highest costs of exhibiting at a trade show, second in stature only to the cost of exhibitor rental space. Packing and shipping your display materials to reduce these costs is critical. Freight Handling Penalties of up to 50% of total freight handling fees are awarded for packing methods that do not conform to show guidelines as specified by the general contractor and late shipments.

1) Special Handling – For most of General Contractors, including Freeman and GES, additional costs are awarded based on any items being received at show site or the advanced warehouse, either stacked or not bound to a skid or crate. This means that carpet and pad must be either skidded or strapped and/or shrink wrapped to the top of one of your crates and cannot be placed loosely into a shipping container or trailer. The penalty for loose or stacked items is 50% of the freight handling costs. Crates cannot be stacked.

Review the shipment policy guidelines carefully as specified in the exhibitor manual, and pack the exhibit accordingly.

2) Scheduling – Shipments must arrive on-time as specified on the move-in plan. Move-in schedule is often specified based on your exhibit’s location in the convention center, and also the size of your exhibit.

Shippers must have their truck checked-in on time in order to avoid similar and stiff (50%) freight handling penalties after the show. Make sure to pick shippers that are familiar with trade show logistics, have a reputation for reliability track and have a back-up plan in place that allows them to deliver or pick-up your exhibit on time, even in the event of catastrophic equipment failure such as a truck with a blown motor.

If your shipment arrives late, there is a good chance that movement of the exhibit into the convention center will also be greatly delayed. This delay is often 20 to 35 hours as your trucks waits to be unloaded in back of 100 or more 53 foot containers that are inline ahead of it. At $75 per hour wait time charge, this is a $1500 to $2600 penalty. Of course, this also leads to overtime labor charges as you race to set-up the exhibit with less straight time available, and a lot more stress for you and your team.

3) Consolidate small shipments – into one larger shipment when possible. There are freight handling minimum charges for small shipments. consolidating shipments will help you to avoid these charges.

More importantly, small packages often get lost at trade show convention centers or at the general contractor’s advanced warehouse. Skids are much larger and thus easier to locate either at the warehouse or on the show floor.

If you have multiple small shipments for the show coming from multiple locations, have these items shipped to your hotel, or to a nearby Fed Ex or UPS location. For Fed Ex or UPS locations, specify hold for pick-up. Small packages can be tracked from your location to insure timely delivery. Mobile device Apps can be used to monitor shipping status from most anywhere in the world.

By hand carrying these smaller items into the convention center, you will not only ensure that critical exhibitor materials arrive on-time, but you will also completely avoid freight handling charges for these items.
 

 
©  2016 by Brett Lipeles