Suprised by your Transportation Costs?
Getting your exhibit to and from show site can be a costly item within your annual trade show budget. Educating yourself about your freight options is your best defense for unnecessary high costs. There are many aspects to choosing the best freight carrier as well as knowing the ins and outs of getting your exhibit to show site and back. Here are some tips to help you through the process:
1. Prior to arranging transportation, evaluate your time line and costs associated with advanced warehouse vs. direct shipments based on your installation schedule.
If you have a busy show schedule with back to back shows, make sure you are shipping to advanced warehouse whenever possible. When able to ship to “advanced warehouse” you can typically ship your freight on a “ground” service as opposed to shipping direct to show site with an exact target delivery date. This type of shipment can typically be an “expedited” service raising the costs. Also involved in direct shipments could be wait time while the truck sits in the marshalling yard waiting to unload.
2. Understand the difference between Common Carriers, Van Lines and Air Freight.
See the Transportation Tutorial article from Exhibitor Online.
3. Communication with your carrier 24/7 is key.
Make sure you work with a carrier that has a good line of communication with its clients. We have worked exclusively with Craig Peterson from Allstates World Cargo and Scott Chuhaloff from Comtrans for over 15 years. They know our needs and their attention to detail is impeccable. It is important to work with a trusted source.
4. Label each crate (we recommend labels on two sides of each crate).
This one is a no brainier. Make sure it is easy to identify your company’s exhibit properties.
5. Avoid Forced Freight after dismantle of your exhibit – turn in the Outbound “Bill of Lading”.
The Outbound “Bill of Lading” is a required form that documents you as the shipper, the destination of the shipment, the carrier you have consigned to pick up your freight, and the number of pieces to pick up. The Outbound “Bill of Lading” gives the General Contractor the proper information and authorization to call your carrier up from the marshaling yard and release your exhibit properties. If the Outbound “Bill of Lading” form is not turned into the Exhibitor Services Freight desk when your exhibit has been dismantled and packed up, they could “force your freight” to a carrier of their choice. Your exhibit properties are typically shipped to that carrier’s warehouse until they can notify you and redirect the shipment. This can be very costly as you are now responsible to pay their shipping charges and fees. Make sure to keep a copy of the outbound bill of lading for your records.
6. Be prepared for things to go wrong.
While I am not trying to be a pessimist, in this industry you have to have a plan B. It is always a good idea to be prepared mentally when things don’t go as planned so you can handle any issues with a relaxed attitude to come up with a solution. Your coworkers and blood pressure will thank you.