Beware exhibitors: After 12 years in the trade show industry, I’ve finally been introduced to the consequences of a mixed shipment. We were hit with “special handling” (aka drayage) charges because of this mixed shipment. While, one would think, the exorbitant fee of $191 / CWT would be sufficient enough punishment to move our clients’ 30′ x 40′ island exhibit (weighing in at 4,368 lbs) from the loading dock to their booth space. Instead, we were slapped with a $266 / CWT charge because the truck our exhibit was delivered on, also carried other clients’ exhibits as well. By definition, this makes all shipments on the truck subject to “special handling” because it’s “more work to figure out what goes where and takes longer to unload,” despite labels on each crate.
Besides the logical thing on this, I can’t help but think how this will impact an already pollution-causing problem of marshaling yards. As exhibitors start experiencing these thousands of dollars in extra drayage fees, this money grab (I was promised that this will be being applied from now on) will drive exhibitors to hire dedicated trucks to deliver only their freight, as opposed to the current mixed shipment practice. The exponential amount of extra trucks added to our already overwhelmed marshaling yards will only continue to add to the illogically high emissions pouring into our already poor air quality.
Let’s hope that these charges will only be the exception and that exhibitors can maintain regular drayage bills and stay within budget.
However, alas, for those exhibitors who fear paying such large amounts and risk even higher bills, or for those exhibitors fed up of spending their budget on drayage and shippings costs, might I suggest you consider lighter weight exhibit systems? Your total cost of ownership and operational costs can decrease with every pound lighter your exhibit is, not to mention the lowered maintenance costs for modular systems versus custom builds. From traditional custom exhibits, modular and portable alternatives can often trim your exhibit weight by 30-70%. So when looking out for your next exhibit, or exhibit rental, why not consider an even more innovative and lighter trade show display system. (Have you checked out Skyline WindScape®?) It will save you not only drayage fees, but I & D and shipping costs.
In the end, one can only hope that show decorators will come to their senses and realize that charging more for mixed shipments is a backwards way of thinking. One would think that multiple shipments on the same truck would be rewarded because fewer trucks are required in the marshaling yard. I can only encourage our industry to speak up against these extra surcharges, not only to keep costs down, but also to save on emissions.
By: Doug Noftall –