Trade Show Insights: Direct to Show Shipping

Benefits and Drawbacks of Shipping Directly to a Trade Show

If you have ever had to coordinate logistics for a trade show, maybe as an exhibitor or an event manager, you know there are two options for shipping your display and marking material to a show. The first option is shipping to the advance warehouse, while the second is shipping direct to the show. In this article we will be looking at 3 benefits and 3 drawbacks of shipping directly to a trade show, as well as situations where direct to show shipping might be a good choice.

What does shipping direct to show mean? Simply that you will not be utilizing the advance warehouse and will coordinate shipping your material directly to the show site the day booth installations begin.

3 Benefits

  1. Additional Time for Show Preparation:When shipping directly to show you will have more time to prepare your material as you will be shipping to the show right before it begins, as opposed to the advance warehouse which usually has a delivery cutoff date a week or two before the start of a show.
  1. Less Chance of Damage: When shipping direct to show your freight will not be transferred from the advance warehouse to the convention center, which means your freight gets handled by a forklift 3 to 4 times less. The highest chance of damage occurs during forklift transfers.
  1. Lower Material Handling Charges:You can save up to 30% on material handling costs vs the advance warehouse due to the fact you are not paying for storage and a warehouse transfer.


3 Drawbacks

  1. The Marshalling Yard: What is a marshalling yard? The marshalling yard is the place where trucks delivering to a show wait to unload. Due to the limited amount of unloading docks at a convention center and the large volume of trucks all showing up to deliver, your freight can be stuck in the marshalling yard for hours or even days. Therefore, its critical to have open lines of communication between the decorator, your freight carrier, and the installation team.
  1. Coordinating with Installers: Since you won’t know exactly how long your freight will sit in the marshalling yard, it’s difficult to give your display installers an exact time to begin working. This means you may be paying people to wait around until your freight becomes available.
  1. Tight Delivery Windows: Since your freight must make it to show in the acceptable time frame, shipping direct to show can be stressful. If a truck breaks down or misses a delivery window, it could cost you a lot of time and money in recovering your freight, paying late fees, or potentially missing the show all together. Also, your freight charges may be higher as you will need a specialized transportation service, as many carriers will not deliver directly to a trade show.


When to Consider Direct Show Shipping:

If you have shipments over 1,000 lbs., we usually see a cost savings shipping directly to a show over utilizing the advance warehouse. Even though your freight charges may be higher shipping directly to a show, the substantial savings you will get on your material handling charges will offset the shipping cost.  Also, if your freight has a very high value or is something that cannot be easily replaced, it is a good idea to ship direct to show to reduce the risk of damage.