We move your tradeshow goods

Throughout North America

Your Tradeshow Shipping Specialists

RPM Expedite Inc is a leading world class full service transportation company specializing in trade shows, conventions, fairs and special events logistics. RPM Expedite Inc is fully licenced, insured and bonded to move your trade show goods throughout North America. 

RPM Expedite Inc provides both economy and expedite services. From 1 skid to a full truckload RPM Expedite has a vast array of capabilities to provide a logistics service which best fit your needs.  In addition to our vast network of shipping vehicles, we have warehousing and storage capabilities throughout 48 continental states, 10 provinces and 3 territories.

Tradeshow shipping specialists

Your Tradeshow Will Be A Success

Companies from all different types of industries exhibit at trade shows. Trade shows offer businesses a platform to market to customers and forge business relationships. Planning for a trade show requires a lot of preparation to ensure things run smoothly. In the planning process it’s important to not treat shipping as an afterthought.

Trade show shipping requires customized solutions and not taking that into account can result in pitfalls that cost you time and money. Being trade show logistics experts, we’ve come up with 5 dangers of trade show shipping and how to avoid them.

The 5 Major Dangers of Trade Show Shipping

Danger No. 1: Not Knowing Deadlines

It’s important to know your deadlines for shipping out. Not knowing shipping deadlines can result in potentially paying double the amount. Planning in advance and according to deadlines will help ensure time for set-up at the show venue and help avoid last minute surcharges for expedited transportation.

Also, choosing a trade show shipping specialist, like RPM Expedite, over a common carrier will help you to stay on track with deadlines because unlike common carriers, trade show shipping specialists know the ins and outs and are equipped to walk you through the process.

Danger No. 2: Not Knowing Show Details Given in the Exhibitor Kit

Exhibitor kits provide you with important show-related information like rules & regulations and deadlines. Exhibitor kits are also known to be a daunting read. Sometimes they’re anywhere from 30 to 100 pages long. Not knowing what’s in those 30 to 100 pages can be detrimental to your booth and budget.

When you hire a trade show shipping specialist like RPM Expedite, you avoid the risk of not upholding the rules and regulations and not meeting deadlines listed in the exhibitor kit, because trade show shipping experts know those kits and what’s required of exhibitors.

Danger No. 3: Not Knowing when to Utilize Advance Warehouses

You can either have your booth and marketing collateral shipped direct to show site or to an advance warehouse. When shipping direct to show you can wait till last minute to get your booth and marketing material ready and potentially save on handling charges. However, when you ship using this method, your shipment could be arriving at the show at the same time as everyone else. Even if your shipment arrives first, you may have to sit around all day waiting for your materials to reach your booth.

Also, if your shipment arrives earlier or later than your designated move-in time, you could incur additional charges.
If you decide to ship to an advance warehouse first, on the day of move-in, your freight will get delivered to your booth first and you don’t have to sit around waiting all day for it. This is especially important if you have a particularly large booth because it requires more set up time. On the contrary, if your booth contains tiny and/or fragile pieces, advance warehouse may not be the best option for your freight as it may be more susceptible to loss or damage.

There are pros and cons to opting for an advance warehouse. A trade show logistics specialist like RPM Expedite can help you decide whether or not opting for shipment to the advance warehouse beforehand makes the most sense for you.

Danger No. 4: Black Booth

What is ‘black booth’ you ask? Black booth is what happens when your shipment doesn’t arrive and you’re left exhibiting an empty booth. This could happen because your preferred shipping company failed to notify you of any changes in delivery time (such as delays caused by bad weather). If they would have notified you, you could have figured out other arrangements to get your freight to your booth on time.

When you choose to ship with RPM Expedite, trade show shipping specialists are in contact with you every step of the way, that way if there are unforeseeable hiccups (like bad weather), RPM Expedite reps are on it working on a solution.

Danger No. 5: Not Shipping with a Trade Show Specialist

Yes, common carriers are less expensive and provide convenient tracking for your shipment, however there are disadvantages to choosing common carriers for your trade show shipments. First off, the risk of loss and damage increases because common carriers make several transfers before delivering your freight. If you’re shipping sensitive equipment, the load might not be able to tolerate normal road shock with a common carrier.

Trade show shipping requires customized solutions, something that common carriers just cannot provide. At RPM Expedite, trade show logistics experts serve every aspect of the trade show exhibitor’s logistical needs domestically and internationally. The coordination that trade shows require involves a lot of preparation time and countless resources.
Bottom line is, you can easily avoid experiencing the 5 dangers of trade show shipping by going with a trades show logistics specialist for all your shipping needs.

We take care of your cargo

We can provide all types of different equipment to safely pickup and deliver your exhibit from 48’ and 53’ dry vans to reefers, flatbeds and step decks. Some locations are not set up for shipping but RPM Expedite has that covered with smaller trucks that have lift gates. We can also provide “white glove services”, in case the venue which your event is being held at has no labour to receive or load your trade show goods. 

Frequently asked questions about trade show freight and trade show logistics

How do I ship my trade show display?
Trade Show shipping can be complicated. At most trade shows or events, the General Contractors have a specific window of time to deliver to the show site as well as recover properties after the show has ended. Often, a “Target Move-in and/or Target Move-Out” is scheduled. In this FAQ section we will try and address this complicated issue. For more information contact RPM Expedite by e-mail or phone.

Trade Show freight is the general term for shipping items used at a trade show. This includes displays, promotional items, and machinery samples. This can range from 50 pounds to multiple trailer loads.

Also, there are many different types of trade show shipping services to use. RPM Expedite recommends that you use a company and level of service that best fits your needs. Consulting a qualified professional can save time, money and annoyances. We recommend consulting with a company such as RPM Exredite that utilizes their own large fleet of Reputable Asset Based Partner Companies to handle their client’s trade show properties.

How important is the choice of a carrier when considering whom to use as our trade show shipping company?

The choice of carrier is an important decision. At RPM Expedite we often hear this refrain: “Our company has a discounted rate of “X Amount” with Mega Freight Company so we’ll ship that way “because it’s cheaper”. These discounts apply to the volume of product sent from a manufacturing facility to their dealers/retailers across the nation. This is satisfactory for shipping bulk products. However, trade show displays are not built to be moved with the masses. They are usually expensive, well-crafted marketing tools that are not designed to withstand the rigors of being moved on and off trailers with forklifts by people who don’t know or care about the value of the cargo.

RPM Expedite always recommends shipping trade show displays on Air Ride trailers. This significantly lessens the wear and tear associated with shipping and load shifting. Depending on the actual or dimensional weight of your display, you will have a few different options to ship.

What is Declared Value Insurance?

When shipping freight, a carrier will ask you to declare the value of the freight. Often, such as with in LTL shipping, insurance is provided for a fee. Trailer Loads and Dedicated Partial Loads are priced to include $25,000 per 25% volume or $100,000 per trailer load.

Are there any special requirements involved with shipping Plasma televisions?

If you ship a plasma screen television, be sure to tell your carrier of such. Many carriers, under their terms and conditions, exclude plasma TVs from coverage because of their fragile nature. Plasma screen televisions can still be covered under a Corporate Rider Policy.

What is a Corporate Rider Policy?

Corporate Rider Policies are attached to the same policy that covers your computers and office equipment. Most storage facilities require that you buy a Corporate Rider Policy for your stored display properties. This usually has a high deductible which can be offset by declared value insurance. Contact your insurance company for details.

What is Dimensional weight?

Dimensional weight, or Dim weight, as it is commonly called, is a measurement used by carriers to assure they get money for the weight volume they are supposed to be carrying. This applies mostly to LTL shipments and does not apply to Dedicated Partial Loads or Trailer loads.

In short, even though a box of feathers and a box of bricks may be the same size, a box of bricks is much heavier. Using dimensional weight measurements, carriers assure they get are paid for the weight volume as dictated by the crate/case dimensions.

The formula used to calculate Dim weight (in inches) is Length x Width x Height divided by a preset divisor (194 domestic/168 international).

For example, (3) crates are the same size at: 101″ L x 50″ W x 53″ T (267,650) divided by 194 = 1,379 pounds. So each crate’s dimensional weight is 1,379 pounds and the carrier will charge this weight over actual because it “dims”.

Now, to put this in perspective, (3) crates have the same dims. So, 1,379 x 3 = 4,137 billable weight.

In reality each crate weighs respectively: 1 @ 1,118 pounds, 1 @ 1,026 pounds, and 1 @ 764 pounds for an actual total of 2,908 pounds. 1,229 pounds less than “dim.”

What is a Fuel Surcharge (FSC)?
In today’s fuel market prices are rising and falling daily. Fuel is a major cost factor in the trucking industry. Rather than adjust rates daily, many carriers assess a Fuel Surcharge reflective of current fuel rates that month. This is charged over and above the shipping costs. The FSC’s have recently ranged from 8%-16%. RPM Expedite always quotes your Trade Show moves with Fuel Included.
What is Drayage?
The word “Drayage” stems from the railroad word “dray.” When travel and shipping by rail was common, freight and luggage often shipped in separate cars. These cars would be off-loaded in the destination city and the cargo would be loaded onto a horse-drawn “dray” cart. This cart would then deliver the cargo.

Today, the term applies to Material Handling fees assessed by the General Contractor of a trade show. Material Handling or Drayage is the fee, per CWT (hundredweight) assessed to off-load freight, deliver it to the booth space, recover, store and return empty packaging, and reload the trucks after the show has ended. This fee is between US$50.00 and US $100.00 per CWT or per 100 pounds.

What is forced freight?
When a show ends, the move-out of the show hall is on a set schedule. This is determined long before the show and can be found on the “Quick Facts” sheet supplied in your exhibitor kit. Specifically, the move-out schedule is outlined by day, date, and times. There is usually also a published “Carrier Check-In time.” Should your carrier fail to show by the time specified, the general contractor is forced to remove your property from the show floor to meet its schedule with the facility. Because they did not plan to move this freight, it is more expensive to move.

Forced freight is not just the result of a carrier not checking in on time. If the exhibitor or exhibitor representative fails to turn in the outbound MHA (Material Handling Agreement) at the service desk, or fails to specify the carrier on the MHA, the General Contractor may be required to force the freight. Forced freight will either force to the General Contractors warehouse or if specified on the MHA and if the carrier fails to show, may be forwarded to the delivery address specified. Either of these forced freight options is done at the exhibitor’s expense.

RPM Expedite works with your booth staff to assure that they understand the importance of turning in a properly completed MHA at each and every event.

What is a MHA?
An MHA, or Material Handling Agreement, is a legal document supplied by the General Contractor to be completed by the exhibitor or exhibitor’s representative. This document outlines important information such as the number of pieces shipping, carrier, delivery address, declared value and special instructions. It also outlines the terms and conditions of the cartage.
What is a freight broker?
A freight broker is a transport professional that acts as a liaison between shippers and shipping companies. Brokers represent multiple companies and decide how to best transport your freight based on the information you provide them. A freight broker can often be a valuable asset to your organization and assure that you stay within your trade show shipping budget. The freight broker’s goal is to transport your freight in the safest, most time and cost-efficient means possible.

RPM Expedite partners with multiple, well vetted, reputable Asset Based carriers ensuring Complete Coverage, Total Accountability, and Greater Reliability on your time sensitive and valuable Trade Show moves.

Why not use a common carrier?

Common Carrier Shipping is by the most recognized names on the road. YRC, ABF, and Overnight are some of the most recognizable common carrier providers. These carriers are the backbone of the transit industry and move over road as well as rail. Common carriers are useful in the tradeshow arena when shipping a product that does not need special handling or Air Ride trailers. Insurance is limited

Common Carriers need extra time to arrive at their destination. In the trade show arena, this is best performed by using common carriers to ship your goods into an advanced Warehouse. Common carriers may provide better rates when freight is moved “in the system”, meaning on their schedule not yours.

Note: All common carriers move your goods through a “hub & spoke” system of terminals resulting in your materials being handled several times while in transit (More Handling = Greater Risk for Damage) RPM Expedite operates on a “Load & Go” system meaning that your goods are moved on the same truck that picks them up and are not handled again until they are handed over to the delivery agent at destination.

Common Carriers use a classification system to classify their freight. Trade Show materials are classified as “Class 125”. These carriers offer targeted, or “Time Critical” transit and delivery, however, this service is usually not discounted as it is more expensive than the same LTL or Partial Service. Volume rates and Exclusive use are also available and are competitive in price, but, are generally not moved on air ride trailers, exposing your freight to a potentially rough ride resulting in possible damage, over either road or rail. RPM Expedite advises that property with any value sent by common carrier be insured using your corporate insurance rider

What about parcel services such as UPS and Federal Express?

Parcel service is also a shipping alternative to consider. The two most common providers are FedEx and UPS. These companies are the common carriers of the parcel shipping world. Their services are useful, but marginally reliable when it comes to trade shows.

Our experience dictates that these services should only be used when the weight is so low as to make regular shipping cost-prohibitive. RPM Expedite recommends these types of packages be sent, in advance, to the attention of a local representative. Consult the Material Handling Information sheet in your Show book for handling fees, per package, from the General Contractor. These are usually between US$50.00-US$100.00 per package.

One major drawback to Parcel Service & Common Carrier services is the room for error. If an error occurs, it is difficult to find the shipment and correct it within their shipping systems. Some items either miss their planned delivery time or even the show altogether. These services do not provide for consequential damages, so unless the items are permanently lost or damaged, you will not receive compensation for missed shipments other than credit for the shipping charges.

We deliver on-time

RPM Expedite provides 24/7 evenings and weekend service and we are experienced with marshalling yard procedures across North America for both move in and move out. We make it our goal to meet any target pickup or delivery required to ensure your exhibit arrives in a safe and timely manner. RPM Expedite Inc holds a 99% on time performance rating which is crucial in the trade shows industry. We understand how valuable time is for the set up and tear down of your exhibit.

Contact us for a quote