MAKING the right transportation decisions for your exhibition display, and materials will not only save you time and money, but also a lot of heartache. Here are 10 things you should know when arranging exhibition display transportation.
LEAVE transportation to the last minute reduces your options and raises your costs. The more time you spend planning gives you the space to organise the transportation options that best meet your specific needs. The four main options are:
• Specialist exhibition freight forwarder;
• General Freight Forwarder;
• Air freight;
• Courier service.
2. Choosing the right partner
SELECTING the best transportation option entails consideration of factors such as: the packaging needs of the shipment; the origin and destination of the shipment; the time set aside for transportation; international customs; the official show build-up and breakdown dates; and pick-up and delivery requirements, i.e. packaging or special handling needs.
3. Consider the Advantages
Specialist exhibition freight forwarders offer a specialised and personalised point-to-point service. They can handle crated or blanket-wrapped pieces, the same driver loads and unloads shipments, and trucks operate with ‘air-ride suspension’ (extra cushioning). They have the handling experience and knowledge of trade fair logistics, and most importantly, understand international customs procedures.
General freight forwarders are less expensive as they use regular routes.
Air freight offers the swiftest means of transportation to the destination or show site. The service is normally available through your exhibition freight forwarder.
A courier service is a swift means of transportation. It operates best when your materials are couriered to the advance receiving warehouse or drayage yard, if available.
4. Consider the Disadvantages
General freight forwarders often make several transfers, increasing the possibility of shipment damage. Little direct contact is made with the exhibitor, the load may not be able to tolerate normal road shock (not good for sensitive equipment), and these companies accept only crated or palletised materials.
Air freight entails high costs. It can be limited to certain sized pieces, and international freight is subject to customers clearance, meaning that your paperwork and permits must be meticulous—mistakes here can cause significant delays and add costs.
One drawback of the courier service is expense and the lack of knowledge when delivering to a venue. Also couriers will often deliver multiple piece consignments in batches. If you are facing an imminent deadline for delivery to a show, this can cause problems or, worst case, failed delivery.
5. Do your homework
CHOOSE a carrier with dedicated exhibition services, 24-hour tracking capability and drivers who are experienced in delivering to show sites. Check references, and research their procedures for support, before, during and after the move.
6. Check for official carriers
Find out from show management if there is an official carrier for the event. A recommended carrier is likely to offer special prices as an incentive to use its services.
7. Leverage volume discounts
TO GET the best pricing from your logistical partner, consider an annual agreement or consolidating all your corporate shipping needs.
8. Insure shipments
THERE are several insurance options available for your exhibit: corporate insurance policies, common carrier insurance, and extended or enhanced liability coverage. Ask your carrier what insurance coverage they have for individual shipments, whether they offer an exhibition insurance policy (covers the display for the entire show), and what their procedure is for taking care of damage claims. Every reputable carrier has a minimum liability cover under their trading terms and conditions.
9. Label correctly
LABEL every box, carton or crate with the show name and booth number you are shipping even if you are creating a pallet of boxes. Ensure that all shipping labels are securely attached on top of old labels. Take pre-printed labels with the return address to replace in-bound ones.
10. International exhibiting
WHEN exhibiting internationally, consider using a shipper that has an established logistical network. The International Exhibition Logistics Association (IELA) members meet the highest standards for exhibition freight forwarding. Check what help they will give you with customs, documentation procedures, temporary import bonds, warehousing and consolidation. Ask for guarantees for quick customs clearance and the shortest, least expensive delivery route.