10 Logistics Check-Boxes for the Top Freight Forwarding CompaniesLast Updated: July 1, 2020
Promoting your business at a global trade trade fair is a major business growth opportunity. But there is more involved than turning up. Niall Thompson, managing director of international exhibition freight forwarding experts Interflow Logistics Ltd, outlines the 10 things that first-time exhibitors need to know about global exhibition logistics to save time, money and heartache.
REPRESENTING a business at a global trade exhibition is a major opportunity to grow the company. But first-timers to exhibitions should be aware of the full logistical implications of having your firm showcased at a trade fair. From reading up on the world’s top freight forwarding companies, you’ll see that exhibiting is about so much more than simply turning up. You are going to require expert help if you have a sizeable display stand.
The most significant set of decisions relate to exhibition logistics: the transportation of your displays and other materials for the show. Often, the best choice is to contact one of the top freight forwarding companies. You’re going to find that making the right transportation decisions for your materials will save you time, money and a lot of heartache.
The right decisions could make the difference between an exhibition success, and a serious credibility-damaging failure. Here are the 10 things that you need to know about exhibition logistics and the top freight forwarding companies.
10 Logistics Check-Boxes & the Top Freight Forwarding Companies
Leave plenty of time to arrange transportation. Time is the crucial factor in exhibition logistics; maximising the time also maximises your options, while reducing costs and creating the space to choose the options that best fit your specific requirements.
2. Choose the Right Partner
The four main exhibition logistics options are:
• Specialist exhibition freight forwarder;
• General freight forwarder;
• Air freight; and
• Courier service.
Choosing the best options requires you to consider factors such as: packaging; origin and destination of shipment; time required for transportation; international customs; official build-up and breakdown dates for the exhibition; and pick-up and delivery requirements, i.e. packaging or special handling needs.
3. Exhibition Logistics – Advantages…
• Specialist forwarders offer the most 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). Specialist forwarders have experience and knowledge of trade fair logistics, and 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. … and 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
Research a global exhibition logistics agency with dedicated exhibition services, 24-hour tracking capability and drivers 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
Management at the exhibition will advise on whether an official carrier has been designated for the event. Recommended carriers are likely to offer special prices as an incentive to use their 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: corporate insurance policies, common carrier insurance, and extended or enhanced liability coverage. Carriers will advise on what insurance coverage they have for individual shipments, whether they offer an exhibition insurance policy (that covers the display for the duration of show), and what their damage claims procedure is. 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 inbound ones for the homeward journey.
10. International Exhibiting
When exhibiting internationally, use 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.