Everything You Need to Know About Display Transportation

Moving truck for shipping displays

Making the right transportation decisions for your display, and materials will not only save you time and money, but also a lot of aggravation.

1. Plan

The more time you have to plan, the better able you are to organise the best transportation options for your specific needs. Your four main choices are common carrier, van line, air freight or courier service. Leaving transportation to the last minute will reduce your options and raise your costs.

2. Choose what's right

To determine your right transportation option, consider the following: the packaging needs of the shipment, the origin and destination of the shipment the amount of time set aside for transportation, and pick-up and delivery requirements.

3. Advantages

Common carriers are less expensive and it is easy to check with them on your shipment's location.

Van lines / Specialist exhibition freight companies offer more specialised and personalised point-to-point service. They are equipped to handle crated or blanket-wrapped pieces, the same driver loads and unloads shipments, and trucks operate with "air-ride" (extra cushioning).

Air freight offers the quickest means of transportation to show sites as they are specialised air freight forwarders.

Courier service is the quickest means of transportation to show site for last minute details.

4. Disadvantages

Common carriers
The disadvantages of common carriers are that they often make several transfers (which increases the possibility of shipment damage), little direct contact is made with the exhibitor (because they usually work directly with the show contractor or exhibition house), the load may not be able to tolerate normal road shock (not good for sensitive equipment), common carriers only accept crated material.

Van lines / Specialist exhibition freight companies
The disadvantage of exhibition freight companies is they can be more expensive.

Air freight
The disadvantages of air freight are that brokers don’t have allegiance to any one freight or commercial airline, high costs, airline baggage handlers often use harsh handling techniques, and freight is limited to certain sized pieces.

Courier service
A drawback is the expense.

5. Do your homework

Select a carrier that has a dedicated exhibition services, 24-hour tracking capability and drivers who have experience delivering to show sites. Check references, find out what procedures they take for support before, during and after the move.

6. Check for official carriers

Find out from show management if they have 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 carrier, consider bidding annually or consolidating all your corporate shipping needs.

8. Insure shipments

There are several insurance options available for your stand: corporate insurance policies, common carrier or van line insurance, and extended liability coverage. Ask your carrier what insurance coverage they carry for individual shipments, whether they offer an exhibition floater insurance policy (covers the display for the entire show), and what their procedure is for taking care of damage claims. Every reputable carrier is insured against loss or delay. Check for specifics. Ask about reimbursements for loss and specific guarantees concerning inclement weather or natural disasters.

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 skid of boxes. Make sure 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 a worldwide fleet or established subsidiary connections. 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.