To begin, let us clarify – we certainly don’t think you’re a dummie if you don’t know about logistics. The Gateway team realizes that shipping and receiving is complex. It’s a balancing act between your inventory and your fluctuating event schedule. We get it! To help you out, we spoke with our Logistics Coordinator and got a rundown of the most important information.

Shipping Containers
Several factors will play into your decision of which container to purchase including shipment contents, budget, durability and purpose.

Pallet or Skid: Whether it’s a stringer, block or skid style, pallets are an excellent way to transport products or sturdy promotional items. Though skids are often cheaper, industry veterans would agree that pallets are typically a sturdier option that can better withstand a series of forklift hauls.

Trunk Case: Also referred to as a flight or road case, these containers are an excellent way to transport your audiovisual equipment. Our team of IT Specialists prefer to ship cases with wheels for easy maneuvering and to limit the impact of several lifts.

Wooden or Sheathed Crate: These crates are a great solution if you need a custom fit for your exhibit structure. Wooden crates are sturdy, stackable, reusable, affordable and environmentally friendly! Their only true downside is the lack of durability through inclement weather.

Shipment Mode
Small Parcel: Providers like UPS, FedEx and USPS provide small parcel shipping services. This type is great for promotional items, table throws and portable exhibits.

Less Than Load (LTL): Crate weight and dimensions will determine the cost for this type of shipment. It is the best option for single crates or shipments that won’t fill a whole truckload.

Full Truckload (LTL): FTL shipping is preferred for large investment booths or heavy AV equipment, as it reduces the number of times each piece is moved with a forklift.

Shipment Arrivals
Direct to Show: This is where things get tricky! Your carrier will need to go to a marshalling yard and unload directly at the convention center. You’ll want to provide your carrier with the specific date and time of drop off.

Advanced Warehouse: This is the safest bet and also your cheapest option. Your assets will be stored for a few weeks before the show and delivered directly to your booth.

Bill of Lading (BOL): This receipt outlines all details regarding the shipment and, upon receiving a signature from each party involved, will legally allow the carrier to pick up the freight and deliver it to its destination. You and the driver should both keep a signed copy of this document for good measure.

Material Handling Agreement (MHA): Also known as the Outbound MHA, this document acknowledges that your freight will be leaving the event space or conference center. You can pick this form up at the show services desk on the final day of the trade show. You will need to know a few details to complete this form including shipment pieces, destination address and your late arrival preference.

If shipping just isn’t something you’re willing to deal with – don’t worry. Our team can help you coordinate your trade show assets. Click here to let us know how we can help!

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Madeline Ericson

As a Marketing Campaign Manager at Gateway, Madeline ensures that clients see results from their trade show programs. She is an expert in digital campaign strategy and measurement, but enjoys the creative aspect of working in the trade show industry.

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