Preparing your exhibit booth and other trade show materials for shipping can seem complicated. To be sure everything arrives on time and in good condition follow these tips. They’ll make the entire freight shipping process go more smoothly.
Bill of Lading (BOL) – The BOL used at the time of pickup is key to the success of your trade show freight shipment. The following information must be clearly printed on your bill of lading:
Freight carrier – Certain permits and paperwork are required for trade show shipping. Be sure that the freight carrier you select can and will participate in trade show shipping. When getting a rate quote from your prospective carriers be sure to provide them with accurate weight and measurements of your shipment, all the information to be included on the BOL, show dates, move-in and move-out dates, special equipment requirements and any other details you have available in your show packet. This will increase the accuracy of the rate quote you receive and help eliminate last-minute surprises.
Freight class – Freight classification can be complicated, especially when you have an assortment of goods packaged together. Fortunately, all trade show shipments are class 125, eliminating the need to determine the freight class to use based on the exact items you are shipping!
Delivery window – Each delivery to the trade show has a designated date and time. It’s critical that your carrier not miss this delivery window since they will be sent to the end of the line with a new, later, delivery appointment. This can cause issues with delivery to your booth space, installation and your ability to actually display at the trade show.
Label correctly – Old labels can cause problems with trade show shipments. Be sure that you’ve removed all labels from previous shipments and be sure that accurate labels are securely affixed to each piece of freight within your shipment. Each label should include the show name, booth name, booth number and any other pertinent information to be sure that it can be delivered once it reaches the appropriate facility. Be sure to take pre-printed labels with the return address or address for the next show address to replace inbound labels at the end of the show.
Ship at one time – Ship all materials at one time and together. Avoiding many separate pieces can mean less stress and wasted time looking for stray portions of your shipment. This will help ensure that you have everything, at the same time that you need to set up your booth.
Insurance – There are many insurance options available for your exhibit shipments including corporate insurance policies, carrier insurance, and extended liability coverage. Some carriers offer exhibition floater insurance that covers the exhibit for the entire show. Most carriers are insured against loss or delay. Check for specifics with your carrier.
Drayage – After you register for your trade show event you will receive a complete exhibitor’s kit that includes information about your show participation. It includes exhibit moving and shipping instructions as well as forms required by the sponsor’s drayage contractor. The drayage contractor is responsible for:
At the end of the show -- You must complete a bill of lading (BOL) at the end of the trade show and submit it to the event’s drayage contractor. This initiates the process of packing up and shipping your trade show booth and crates:
Trade show freight shipping can mean the difference between success and failure. It may determine whether your booth arrives in the right place, at the right time and intact…or not. Following the above tips can make all the difference. American Group has several years of experience successfully handling trade show freight shipments. Contact us when you’re preparing for your next show at 866.553.6608 or by email, Rates@ShipAG.com.