Trade shows are held in cities all over the United States. There were a total of 252 convention centers in the country as of October 2016. California and Florida shared the largest number of locations with 20 each and Nevada followed closely with 19.

Do you need help navigating the world of trade show freight shipping and drayage information? If so, you’ve come to the right place. This guide is here to answer your questions and help you plan your trade show freight shipment properly.

Keep reading for the most commonly asked questions regarding trade show freight carriers and shipping.

What is trade show freight?

Freight is goods moved from one place to another via rail, truck, ocean, or air. Exhibition or trade show shipments are your booth properties: products, samples, and literature to be distributed from your trade show booth, as well as the physical booth and signage itself. These things cost money to ship to and from various trade shows, so you should plan your freight shipping strategically to meet delivery deadlines while getting the best rates.

As a helpful tip, remember that the longer the shipping window from one place to the next, the better shipping rate you’re likely to receive. This is because your load can be consolidated with other people’s and company’s freight in order to most fill each mode of transportation and fully utilize shipping expenses.

What is trade show shipping?

Trade show shipping is the act of transporting exhibitor or show organizer displays and goods via a hired carrier to and from a trade show.

Is the trade show a targeted trade show?

A targeted trade show is where every booth space has its own assigned delivery date and time, which is based on its location on the show floor. Some trade shows have a targeted move out date as well. The answer to this question will vary from one trade show or convention center to the next, so you’ll need to check with each convention center or show organizer to make sure you meet their deadlines.

What is a marshaling yard and why is it used?

Some convention centers have an offsite marshaling yard for trucks to drop off their freight loads. These yards are used to keep the traffic congestion caused by large groups of delivery trucks away from the main conference center. They sort and unload incoming trucks in order based on arrival time and delivery location.

The important part to recognize here is that if the shipper you choose doesn’t routinely ship to trade shows already, they may not expect or appreciate the wait that can be involved in dropping off freight at a marshaling yard. As a result, you may be charged a wait fee for the time the truck and driver spends waiting to be unloaded at the facility.

Can I ship from one trade show directly to another?

The answer to this question is usually yes, but it will depend largely upon the individual shipper. Ask your shipping provider if they offer caravan or expedited shipping directly from one show to the next. Even if the carrier is not the official service provider for the trade show, they may be able to accommodate your unique needs anyway.

How should small packages be shipped to trade shows?

Small package shippers often split these shipments to fill their modes of transportation. You should attempt to consolidate small package shipments so that you know in advance what you’ll pay for handling fees. Remember, just because you’ve shipped multiple small boxes all at once doesn’t mean they’ll arrive at the convention center on the same day. Because of this, if a multiple-package shipment arrives at the destination over multiple days, you may be charged a small package fee from the convention center for each day of arrival, instead of receiving a consolidated charge.

What is drayage, or material handling?

Drayage, or material handling, is the unloading and delivery of exhibitor and show organizer displays to individual booths. This process is usually handled by the convention facility. The service may also include storage of empty crates and boxes, redelivery of crates and boxes after show close, and transportation back to the loading dock for shipping to the next destination.

Hopefully this article has answered your questions about trade show shipping.