Shipping Delays

Status of the Supply Chain

Dear ELITeXPO Customers;

Shipping delays continue to be a problem across the country. We are asking for your patience and understanding at this time as most of our shipping partners are currently experiencing temporary shipping delays. These delays have impacted the planned arrival of our current shipping orders. Current National Labor shortages have significantly impacted our normally predicable lane segments to the point where we are asking all customers to add much more additional advance planning, to allow for extra time for your shipment to arrive at its planned destination. Our account representatives are on standby to assist you with getting these plans implemented. Normally, shipping services for smaller shipments that could be relied upon in the recent past to deliver as scheduled, have also seen daily delays and shortages. Please know that we monitor these performance issues and adjust on the fly as necessary to assure our customers receive their shipments as planned.

Our team is working hard to minimize these disruptions. Please know that we are still receiving and planning and tracking all shipping orders promptly despite the national disruption to the supply chain. These delays have negatively impacted our normally reliable schedule of transit. It’s unfortunate that it seems these delays have affected virtually all areas of the country as well as all carriers, both local and national. There is also more freight being shipped than there are trucks and labor to load, transport and unload.

Along with these delays, the costs for shipping services have increased exponentially, even though we would think that with the problematic service issues, increasing rates at the current time would seem to be unreasonable. Such is the time we are living through. We all desperately want to get back to some sort of new normal, but we must deal with the reality of what’s happening in our country in the present day. We work to make sure that we can pass along the best rates, but our priority is to assure that your shipment gets to its destination on time and intact. These corrections and changes in routing may result in additional costs that we will work hard to minimize, but we cannot compromise the need to utilize the most reliable service to get the job done. We commit to track your shipments with frequency and stay in constant contact with you to keep you updated on your shipments status.

As the owner of ELITeXPO, I have never seen such a major disruption to the normally reliable and efficient transportation supply chain in the U.S., since we started this company back in 1987. The best strategy right now, is to plan and place your shipping requests as early as possible, so that we can use that extra time to get your shipment into the pipeline and moving to its destination.


David Mihalik


Message from David Mihalik

Happy Holiday Greetings from ELITeXPO

Happy Holiday Greetings from your friends at ELITeXPO. Each year at this time we normally share the gift of music with you, our best customers as a thank you for the business that you have provided to us throughout the year. For the Trade Show and Live Events industry, the music stopped in March. We all believed that we’d be back to work by this time, but we’re starting to see the light.  We all hope that we will soon be listening to the music and seeing each other at Face to Face Marketing events soon. This holiday season, we have a better reason to be hopeful. With the incredible creation of a vaccine already being administered as I write this, we look forward to more progress and improvements in the coming months. Hope springs eternal.

Today, we count our blessings. As a company, through diligent work, preparation, and the efforts of some of the best employees in the world, ELITeXPO continues to survive and thrive. We thank those companies that have continued to support us through these difficult times with other business opportunities that we would not normally become involved with. When confronted with the governmental restrictions placed on large group gatherings, ELITeXPO shifted gears quickly, to offer our customers products and services most relevant to the times we were facing. We’ve been able to deliver PPE products, hand sanitizers stations, office safety dividers, wall mounted LED backlit graphics, non-trade show freight shipping services and Virtual Exhibit Production among just a few of the wide variety of products and services our customers have asked us for. We were fortunate that a few years ago, ELITeXPO expanded our trade show service offerings and purchased a second warehouse to provide full asset management inventory/storage services for our customers. An overwhelming majority of you have kept us busy with inventory work and shipping throughout this time. We’ve utilized this down time, when we have it, to tighten up all of our inventory data and physical storage in our warehouse. One of the benefits of having more time is that we are able to rapidly improve our processes and clear up lagging work that always seems to take more time, when we are always crazy busy during trade show season. When our industry has the opportunity to get back to work, we’ll be ready! We can’t wait to see you again soon.

We also must count the personal blessings I believe we have all learned or should I say, re-learned to enjoy, during these past months. I can tell you this much. Staying at home brought me back to enjoying the simple things that I had been too busy to notice. I’ve spent more time out on our deck this past Spring/Summer/Fall, enjoying the view, having nice conversations with my wife, a cold beer (or two) and watching the sunset. You see, where I live in the suburbs, you really begin to notice when the white noise of airplanes and trains and heavy traffic subside. We really looked forward to 5:00, when we had our own version of Happy Hour before we made another home cooked meal, instead of eating out because we were working too long and getting home too late. We’ll always want to work our hardest, but now, I think we’ll just try to become more efficient with our time.

We are starting to see a resurgence of activity as the positive news of a vaccine is making the return of trade shows a more viable reality. Clients are beginning in earnest to prepare for their events that are planned with emphasis on a sharp increase in show activity by Spring and hopefully will continue as planned in the Summer. Please know that the ELITeXPO Team is here to assist and if we can help you stay ahead of the curve and the inevitable rush to get exhibit properties planned for in person events, don’t hesitate to call. We’re here answering the phones every day and we’d greatly appreciate the opportunity to get back to work for you.

While we may not get the opportunity to gather together with extended family this holiday, we’ll keep them all in our thoughts and prayers, both those with us and those who have passed before. We’ll be thankful that our families are safe and healthy and pray for those who are recuperating. We’ll also keep all of you in our thoughts and prayers that you be safe and healthy and have a joyous holiday season.

Best Holiday Wishes, from our ELITeXPO family to yours.

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David Mihalik



Loss or Damage, Are You Insured?

Loss or Damage, Are You Insured?

Most exhibitors don’t realize that their items may not have the proper insurance when they leave their office or storage location. Although the best way to avoid loss and/or damage is to make sure each piece in a shipment is properly labeled and packed in a suitable protected shipping case, those factors alone cannot protect from the hazards of trade show handling or freight transportation.

Most carriers carry minimum liability which is solely relative to anything that happens in transportation and documented in writing. However, this liability is not based on the actual value of the goods but a release valuation solely based on weight. For example the minimum liability of $.50 per lb or $50.00 per piece will not cover a 300 lb booth shipment valued at $5000.00 for more than $150.00 if the entire shipment was lost or damaged in transportation. In addition to this, a carrier’s liability does not cover anything that may happen after it is delivered or before it is picked up from a show where most occurrences are likely to happen.

Those who research their company insurance policy will often find they either have an extremely high deductible and/or exclusions that make it difficult to file a claim without exhausting multiple subrogation attempts. In an effort to supply exhibitors with an affordable low deductible policy that extends beyond delivery and on the show floor, ELITeXPO has a unique All-Risk policy available for each shipment based on it’s actual replacement value. All-Risk does not change how your shipments are handled, but it does give you the coverage every exhibitor needs to have while at and shipping to/from a trade show. For more information about proper coverage please ask your ELITeXPO representative.

Asset Management – So Much More Than Exhibit Storage

Asset Management – So Much More Than Exhibit Storage

Are you tired of trying to find everything around your office or warehouse that you need for your next trade show? Do you have to run down to the local “Your Storage Unit” facility every time your company attends an event? Do your event materials return back from your shows dirty or with damage?

If you answered yes to any of the questions above, you just may need to think about your Asset Management Program.

Trade Show Asset Management: The care, storage, inventory, repair, and management of a company’s trade show and exhibit materials. Everything a company acquires for its exhibit event marketing program is a trade show asset and those assets must be inventoried and managed.

The key to trade show asset management is tracking the ins and the outs. Knowing what items went to which trade show is key to knowing that everything that was sent out returns. If you have giveaway items, it is critical to track how many items are sent out to each event as those items will need to be replenished. Without proper tracking, ordering of replacements in time for your next event can become an issue.

Accountability for the care of and return of all items is an issue for many exhibit and marketing managers. So many times, the return shipment from an event arrives back at your warehouse and no one ever takes the time to open each shipping container up and make sure that all items are there, that they work correctly, and are clean and ready to go to the next event. Having your exhibit arrive to your next show without the graphics or with broken lights can cause a lot of unnecessary stress on show floor.

Whether you establish your own program in-house or choose to use our full service Asset Management services, it’s important to your event program’s success that you have something in place.

ELITeXPO offers full pull and prep services, refurbishment and repair, storage and asset tracking complete with online inventory control services, as well. You have 24/7 access to your asset inventory item counts, digital photographs, and other related digital assets. You can even place your inventory pull requests directly through the online ordering system. Coupled with our full logistics, I&D services, and exhibit sales/rentals; we can handle all the inbound and outbound shipping, set your booth up, take it down, pack it up, ship it back, and manage your exhibit inventory. We’re here to assist you in making sure your exhibit properties are always current and stand out on the trade show floor. You can do all of this through a single source with one consolidated invoice.

Advance Warehouse or Direct to Show Site?

Advance Warehouse or Direct to Show Site?

It’s a question that comes up over and over. You’ve got your exhibitor show kit, you’ve decided what you’re sending to the event, and now you have to decide if you’re shipping your booth to the Advance Warehouse or Direct to Show Site. There are reasons to send to both, not limited to but including time, money and ease. 

For ELITeXPO, our recommended choice will usually be Advance Warehouse when you have time. We do recommend you do the math when you are choosing one way over the other. You may think shipping direct to show is the cheaper way to go, however there are other things to consider.

What are the fees involved?
What kind of time frame do I have?
How much am I shipping in?
Will I be sending multiple shipments to the show?


I’ll open this up with an example. Handling rates for a show (taken from the General Contractor’s information):

Material Handling rates for – 

Advance Warehouse: $113.25 per 100 pounds

Advance Warehouse, Late Delivery past deadline: $141.75 per 100 pounds

Direct to Showsite: $108.25 per 100 pounds

At first look you think shipping your display Direct to Show is the way to go! However, when you factor in the shipping, that advantage is lost. Let’s say you are delivering to the Show on a Saturday. Usually, your shipping company will charge the same amount per pound for your shipment whether it is going to the Show or to an Advance Warehouse. However, when delivering to showsite, you may be paying up to $180.00 in extra services (Saturday Delivery, Convention Fee) on top of your per pound rate. In addition, you could be paying $65.00 per hour in waiting time while your trucker sits waiting for the Decorator to unload him.

Taking the rates and applying it to a 300 pound shipment –

Advance Warehouse

Material Handling: $113.25 x 3 = $339.75
Additional Freight Costs: None
Total: $339.75

Late Shipment to Advance Warehouse

Material Handling: $141.75 x 3 = $425.25
Additional Freight Costs: None
Total: $425.25

Direct to Show

Material Handling: $108.25 x 3 = $324.75
Additional Freight Costs: $180.00
Total: $504.75

In this case, shipping Direct to Show is more expensive even if you were to pay the Late to Advance fee. The weight plays into this math as well. Let’s look at a 3,000 pound shipment.

Advance Warehouse

Material Handling: $113.25 x 30 = $3397.50
Additional Freight Costs: None
Total: $3,397.50

Late Shipment to Advance Warehouse
Material Handling: $141.75 x 30 = $4252.50
Additional Freight Costs: None
Total: $4252.50

Direct to Show
Material Handling: $108.25 x 30 = $3247.50
Additional Freight Costs: $180.00
Total: $3,427.50

At 3,000 pounds, the pricing has shifted in favor of a Direct shipment vs Late to Advance, but it is still more cost effective to ship to Advance if you make the deadline. But even here the price is comparable for Advance as opposed to Direct. There is more to consider!

Time Frame

Time frame is important to consider on both ends. When will you be ready to ship your exhibit? When are you setting up your booth?

You may not want to fly your freight to save on drayage, as most likely that would be more money, and may not even be a choice. But on the other end, if you have labor setting up your booth and you ship direct, you would never want labor standing around on the clock waiting for the truck to be unloaded. Labor at showsite is charged by the man, by the hour and this may cost way more than the drayage savings.

Therefore even if the math comes out more by shipping to the Advance Warehouse, the advantage of having the freight there early and ready to set up may outweigh the dollars you save on the front end. It could even mean labor on Straight Time versus Overtime.

Multiple Shipments

One more thing to consider is, will you be sending multiple shipments to showsite? You may have your main booth ready to go, but are waiting on literature or giveaways to be produced. Calculating each shipment is important, as a 50 pound box will be received at either Advanced Warehouse or Direct to Show as its own minimum shipment – so you could end up paying $226.50 at the Advance Warehouse just to receive your Literature, if you send it separately on a different day than your booth! But it might make more sense to send your booth ahead to the warehouse, so it is there and waiting for your Labor crew, and pay the extra money to ship your literature by itself Direct to Showsite.

IN CONCLUSION: When you use ELITeXPO, this is the kind of stuff we think about and discuss with our clients. We know you may not have the time to “do the math” on all possible scenarios, but we are diligent in showing our clients that we will show you ways to save money. Not just in shipping costs, but the ripple effect shipping has on Material Handling and Labor, and even more importantly, on where your valued time is considered.

Our trade show freight services are unmatched and hundreds of clients use ELITeXPO for our excellent customer service. Let us help you with these decisions so you can spend more time on other aspects of your shows! 

Tradeshow Logistics – The Importance of Communication

Tradeshow Logistics – The Importance of Communication

ELITeXPO has been providing tradeshow logistics services for over 30 years now. What’s been the key to our success? Knowing the importance of communication. Making sure an exhibit shipment gets to and from a trade show on-time and in-tact relies on the details communicated between both the customer and our staff.

We ask a lot of questions. When we take an order from our customers, it may feel like a bit of an interrogation. Some may think that shipping an exhibit is just like shipping their actual products from their warehouse to a client but it’s not the same, at all. Tradeshow logistics is incredibly time-sensitive and requires that we make sure we get the whole story from our customers from the beginning. Communicating the details allows for accuracy from the point of correctly estimating costs through getting your shipment delivered, as required.
1) We need to know everything about the items that are being shipped.
• How many pieces you have, their estimated weight, and how big they are?
• Do they contain any type of hazardous materials (which we do not ship) or if they are food items that require special handling?
• Are they fragile, how are they packaged, and are they of high value?
• Are they giveaways that will not be returning via the outbound shipment from the event?
Knowing the description of your items can directly affect the equipment used to transport your items. From the use of a standard straight truck to a full logistics trailer with blanket wrap, straps, and load bars, we’ll send the right equipment to get the job done. It also prompts us to be sure that your shipment is insured correctly.

2) We need to know about where we are picking up the freight.
• Do you have a truck level dock where a trailer can back right up to your warehouse door for loading by a forklift?
• Are you working from a home office where we are recovering the items from your garage in a gated community where we’ll need to bring a special truck with a liftgate and a pallet jack? Will we need to schedule our arrival with the security gate?
• Do we need to bring an additional driver to assist with recovering oversized items?
• Are we picking up on the seventh floor in your building and they don’t allow use of the elevator?
These are things we need to know in advance to allow proper dispatch of trucks, drivers, time allotment for recovery, and to arrange for any additional communication requirements at the location.

3) We need to know about where your shipment is going to.
• Which event are you exhibiting at?
• Do you have an exhibitor manual or Quick Facts sheet?
• Is it best for you to go to the Advanced Warehouse?
• Are you short on transit time and require delivery direct to the venue? Is that even allowed for your event?
• What is your booth number?
• Have you been assigned a target delivery date and time?
• When is your installation scheduled for?
• Do you have the contact information for your show site staff?
This information allows us to make sure your items get to the right location at the venue and are delivered and recovered after the event at the correct time.

4) We will track and trace your shipments throughout transit. This allows for faster reactions to issues that may come up during transit. Weather delays, road closures, equipment breakdowns, and more can cause unforeseen delays in your shipment’s arrival. We will contact you as soon as we know of any delay that might affect delivery. This is why we ask for as many transit days as is possible… Just In Case.

5) Our automated technology allows for emailed shipment status updates.
• Reminder we are picking up your shipment that day
• Your shipment has been picked up
• Your exhibit materials are in transit
• Your shipment has arrived at the destination city
• Your shipment is on a truck and out for delivery
• Your shipment has been delivered
• Your POD – Here’s the information as to who signed for it at the destination location.
Technology is great but don’t be surprised if we call you to confirm information or advise you of any details happening along the way. We want you to know what is going on with your exhibit. We may even request that your show site staff advise us when all items have been packed up after the show and paperwork has been turned in to the show contractor, so we can let our driver know that everything is ready for recovery.

At ELITeXPO, we work closely with our customers so their shipments move as planned, every time. Good communication is the key to successful tradeshow logistics. It’s a two-way street that we like to keep open, with traffic flowing. If you have any questions, we are here 24/7/365 to assist you.

Concern for The Environment – Ship It The SmartWay

Concern for The Environment – Ship It The SmartWay

ELITeXPO has been a proud logistics partner in the EPA’s SmartWay Transport Program for many years now. The program works to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution created by freight transportation in the global supply chain. SmartWay helps companies improve efficiency by measuring, benchmarking, and streamlining operations.

They work with companies to be sure that vehicles are best equipped to maximize fuel efficiency and reduce carbon emissions. This is done through both funding and technical assistance. By doing so, the program and their 3,000 partner companies, have saved over $24.9 billion dollars in fuel costs, saved 170.3 million barrels of oil, reduced 72.8 million metric tons of CO2, reduced 1.458 million tons of NOx, and reduced particulate matter by 72,000 tons!

As a SmartWay Logistics Partner, ELITeXPO incorporates EPA best practices and uses as many SmartWay certified carriers and agent partners as possible. This allows us to be sure that our customers’ shipments have the least environmental impact possible during transit to and from each trade show. Annually, we submit a carbon accounting tool to the EPA to report the carbon ton miles that we are responsible for. This data is used as a benchmark to set goals for future improvement. We also incorporate many of the EPA’s suggested Things You Can Do: At the Office. We have recently retrofitted lighting in our corporate office and are in the process of an LED retrofit for our Aurora, Illinois facility. We have 35% of our staff working from home, control energy usage by office equipment through power management, and have an active recycling program for both office supplies and paper as well as electronic recycling and exhibit component recycling.

Next time you are looking for a car you can look to SmartWay’s to find a car that has their SmartWay Certification. It designates the 20% lowest-emitting passenger vehicles in each class based on greenhouse gas and smog-forming emissions. Check out the list of certified vehicles at The guide also offers helpful tips and suggestions for the driving public on how to cut down on driving expenses by saving fuel.

SmartWay has expanded its reach and a North American collaboration is now in place with Mexico and Canada adopting SmartWay tools and methods. They are working globally with partners from South America to Europe to expand their programs to use SmartWay methodology.

Growing public concern and the increasingly damaging effects of climate change, unstable energy costs and globalization will continue to significantly affect the transportation industry. EPA and its SmartWay partners are committed to meeting the challenges and seizing opportunities that the future holds. Working together through SmartWay, we will succeed in developing a more sustainable and high-performing freight sector.

Shippers and logistics providers alike can participate in the program. Even non-profit groups can do their part as a SmartWay Affiliate. Go to for more information.

8 Critical Details for Accurate Trade Show Shipping Estimates

8 Critical Details for Accurate Trade Show Shipping Estimates

Accurate shipping estimates are built on little details that most of us can often take for granted. Receiving incorrect or incomplete data during the quoting process can lead to unforeseen charges, as well as lead to potential errors in the shipping process. Here are some of the most common areas that should be covered when planning for a successful shipping experience:

Addresses – Having complete address information is best for accurate shipping cost determination. If you do not have the full address of the pickup and delivery locations, try to at the very least provide City, State and Zip Code. Keep in mind though, that if the freight is being picked up from or delivered to a remote destination, an address change could lead to higher costs. There’s a big difference between a pickup in downtown Milwaukee and a pickup at the Kalahari Resort in the Wisconsin Dells, a 120 mile difference. In addition, if the freight is coming from a residential location rather than a business, or you know a full-size truck will not be able to access the freight, it is important to include these details.

Truck Level Dock Facility – Advising us if your location has a truck level dock facility is critical to not only providing an accurate shipping estimate but allows us to determine if additional equipment will be required to load/off-load the freight. It also lets us know if a driver will be able to get the freight onto his truck without the use of a liftgate or an additional laborer. A truck level dock means a tractor trailer can back his truck directly up to your warehouse floor and your forklift driver can load the shipment directly onto the back of the truck. For more information and to see a demo of what a truck level dock facility is, go to

Show Site vs. Advance Warehouse – If time allows, going to the advance warehouse is potentially a money saving option. This eliminates inbound convention fees and special delivery times. However, if the freight must deliver direct to show site, it’s important to have accurate delivery dates and times as well as the booth # and the company name you are exhibiting under. (See our blog post on this topic for more details.)

Dates – Pick Up /Delivery dates are very important in order to determine routing options. For example, allowing 10 business days for shipping is considered Economy Ground service, 5 business days for shipping is considered Deferred. Delivery in less than 5 business days changes the service level and will affect the shipping costs and may require shipping by air. Providing ELITeXPO with a copy of the Exhibitor Manual or at least the show’s Quick Facts, will be extremely beneficial in allowing us to help you with these date and time parameters.

Time – Does the shipment require pick up/delivery at a specific time? If you cannot allow for a 6-8 hour window for availability, additional charges may apply. Picking up and delivering at a tradeshow venue will usually require very specific time frames which will raise your costs. If a shipment needs to deliver at 8am, we will want to have enough service days to allow the shipment to arrive the day prior. If the event has assigned target move-in and/or move-out times, it is critical that this information be conveyed to your carrier. A driver arriving at a targeted show at the wrong time due to inaccurate information will cause additional drayage fees from the show decorator.

Dimensional vs Actual Weight – When doing estimates, it’s important to know the dimensions as well as the weight of what will be shipped. Freight charges will be based on the higher of the two. Dimensional weight, which is the same thing as volume weight, is calculated using the following formula:

Length x Width x Height x Number of Pieces divided by the Dim Factor.
o US Domestic Dim Factor = 194
o International Dim Factor = 166
o International Airline / FedEx Dim Factor = 139
o Certain Ground Carriers = 250

For example: For example: 1 crate x 103″ x 58″ x 39″/ 194 dim factor = 1201# Dimensional/Volume Weight for a shipment from Chicago to Boston.

This information is critical for international shipping estimates.

Conversion Info, If Needed:
o Pounds x .453592 = Kilos
o Kilos x 2.20462 = Pounds
o Centimeters x .393701 = Inches
o Inches x 2.54 = Centimeters

Special Logistics Requests – If your shipment requires load straps, blanket wrap, inside pick up, lift gate equipment as just a few examples, could affect the cost of your shipments. Some other questions to consider are the type of truck needed (ie. a full truckload, flatbed, or even refrigerated / temperature controlled transport.

Insurance – We have available for purchase “All Risk” cargo insurance specifically designed for Trade Shows. If insurance is purchased on the shipment into AND out of the event, your exhibit properties are even covered while on the show floor! The cost for insurance is based upon the invoice value of all goods being shipped to/from the trade show. Therefore, we would need to know the total value in order to properly estimate the insurance costs. If you choose NOT to purchase insurance, ELITeXPO’s liability is limited to $.50 per lb of each piece or $50 per shipment, whichever is greater.

Value is also critical for providing estimates for international shipments.

In Conclusion
The best advice that I can give for getting an accurate shipping estimate is that every detail counts. The more information that you can provide to us about the shipment, the more accurate your estimate will be and the better potential you’ll have for an on-time and in-tact arrival at the trade show, once you book the shipment.