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.

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! 

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 http://www.epa.gov/greenvehicle/. 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 http://www.epa.gov/smartway/ 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 https://youtu.be/lZojsGBaMVw.

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.