From box to booth: 4 trade show shipping tips.

June 15, 2017

Whenever fulfilling a shipment to a trade show or convention, it’s wise to incorporate additional planning. Making the right transportation decisions for the display and materials you’re shipping can save you precious time and money, while also helping to avoid any unnecessary headaches. To help simplify the trade show shipping process, we’ve outlined four best practices, so you can go from box to booth worry-free.


1. Plan well in advance

To assure a smooth and successful trade show shipping process, be sure to plan ahead to secure the best transportation option for your shipping needs. Delaying to incorporate a plan can often result in additional shipping costs and services. To best determine what type of transportation option would be most efficient for your shipping needs, consider these questions:

  • What are the packaging requirements for your shipment?
  • Where is the shipment going and how much time have you allotted for transportation?
  • Are there any special requirements needed for pick-up and delivery?

This type of advanced logistics planning should be incorporated to help reduce costs, as well as ensure enough time has been allotted for unloading and booth set-up.


2. Label your shipment(s)

Before you send off your shipment, always double check that goods being sent have been labeled correctly. Each and every crate, carton, and box must be labeled with the proper show name and booth number, even if they’re being shipped to the same booth. Always confirm that the shipping labels being attached are secure and cover any previous visible labels. Pre-printed labels with the correct return address should be used to replace in-bound ones.

To ensure a smooth and easy transportation process, there are a slew of variables that need to be accounted for. Shippers must label all packages and exhibit items with the correct information needed. Along with the destination’s address, shippers need to include the name of the actual event that the items are participating in, their company name, and the address and phone number on every label.


3. Fill out the BOL accurately

There are very specific procedures the carrier must follow once your packages and exhibit items have arrived at the destination and are ready to be moved from the loading dock. The procedures should include a set of instructions from the exhibitor on how to properly move and unload the packages, so be sure to inform your carrier what the details include.

As soon as all of the correct packages and materials have been unloaded, the BOL typically determines who is responsible for the following:

  • Delivering any packages and items to the correct booth.
  • If the exhibit has already been assembled, removing any empty crates, cartons, boxes or other packages.
  • Once the show has ended, any empty packing that was removed must be returned.
  • Any already packed crates, cartons, boxes from the exhibit to be arranged for delivery at the loading dock from the preferred carrier.

Much like the labeling aspect, the BOL needs to filled out carefully and properly. It’s a common misconception many have that by leaving outbound paperwork on their freight it will be moved according to their instructions. Paperwork should always be delivered to the customer service desk to avoid any potential issues.


4. Work with an online service provider

To assure your shipment has the greatest chance for success, partner with an online freight service provider, as they’ll help to select the right carrier for your exact shipping needs. Online freight service providers are great at finding the right carriers for trade shows that specialize in dedicated exhibition services, 24-hour shipment tracking capabilities, and drivers who have experience delivering to trade show sites. 

Freightquote by C.H. Robinson strives to determine what the best steps and procedures are needed before, during, and after the shipping process to provide you with a better sense of whether the carrier is right for you. When shipping to a trade show, Freightquote typically notifies the carrier through the BOL that the shipment is going directly to the exhibitor. It’s a common practice that we use to save our clients time and money.


Final thoughts.

When shipping to a trade show, stay ahead of the curve and make sure you give yourself enough time to plan out logistics. By doing so, you’ll increase the likelihood that your shipment arrives on time, in good condition, and within your budget. Don’t just point and pick a plan. Take the time to study which plan is right for you.


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