What is Drayage? Trade Shows | Conventions
Simply stated, drayage is the cost to bring your materials into a convention hall. Drayage is an industry term typically used when referencing freight/logistics. As an exhibitor or event manager, you’ll find it’s used very often when shipping your materials to a convention center.
Drayage is also referred to as “Material Handling” by show decorators such as GES, Freeman, etc. How do these show decorators determine that cost? There are a number of factors that will influence cost to bring your materials from your freight truck to your booth. Typically, you get charged ‘X’ for every 100 pounds of material.
Advanced Warehouse vs Direct-to-Show
Costs vary based on how you ship your materials to the show and when you ship them to the show. When shipping to advanced warehouse the drayage rate per 100lbs will be more expensive and you must send your items 2-3 weeks before the show opens. However, there are some major benefits when shipping this way.
ADVANCED WAREHOUSE: Shipping to advanced warehouse will ensure your pallets, crates, etc. will be one of the first items to arrive on the show floor. This is especially important when you have a more complex exhibit and need to get a jump on your build. Even more, this will give you some buffer room should you have any issues during transportation.
Also, you’ll avoid paying your truck driver the additional hourly rate for significant wait time that most shows carry. You can expect several hours (4+) at shows like CES, Toy Fair, NYCC, etc.
DIRECT-TO-SHOW: This is exactly how it sounds. You’re shipping your items directly to the show on your targeted move-in time. You’ll receive a targeted move-in time for your booth space depending on where you’re located in the hall.
Shipping direct-to-show is a slightly riskier way to bring your materials to a trade show. Why? Because there is no guaranteed time for when you’ll get your exhibit materials to your booth. It could be an hour after check-in or or several hours after. Also, it’s riskier if you finally get an item and discover damage. This gives you little time to problem solve.
Of course, on the plus side you’ll save money on your drayage rate.
How You Ship Your Items to the Show
Usually, you have the following classifications:
- Crated or Skidded
- Special Handling
- Carpet and/or Pad
See below example rates for NY Toy Fair. This comes from Freeman’s exhibitor manual for the Javits Convention Center.
CAUTION: THESE ARE SOME OF THE HIGHEST RATES IN THE COUNTRY
√ Consolidate your materials onto one pallet or crate as much as possible
√ Find out if your show offers “drayage assistance”
√ Find out if your show offers a POV program
√ Do not send individual boxes. Send them to your hotel instead.
If you still need help understanding these terms and the process do not hesitate to reach out to one of our experienced account managers. We’re here to help your exhibition display standout from the competition and maximize your spend.
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