You have to be a tradeshow warrior to understand how all the different trade shows use these terms. I won’t pretend to know the nuances of other venues, but I can sort them out for our markets.

Freight - The products and fixtures you want to use in your exhibit booth
Shipping – Getting the freight from your location to Dallas

Hint: To avoid increased costs, ship EARLY and take advantage of the free drayage window offered by DMC. That saves you money, helps control the chaos of move-in/out, reduces the amount of frayed nerves that already exist around market week, and limits damage to your product and destruction to our buildings.

Drayage – (The most confusing topic of ALL!)
According to Wikipedia: “Drayage service is used in trade shows, where a large number of vendors gather in a large exhibition area with a large number of products. Because of the sheer volume of goods, it would create mass confusion if the individual vendors transported their own goods and equipment into the site. Thus, the exhibit sponsor assigns and recommends a drayage service for the entering and exiting of freight and products.”

Clear enough? LOL….here’s our definition:

Drayage – Getting freight from the dock to your booth

Hint: For shipments received in the Free Drayage Window, DMC pays GES to accept your freight, store it, deliver it to your booth, pick up your empties, bring your empties back when the show closes, and deliver your freight to the dock for shipping. This service is provided as part of your booth fee (certain exclusions apply).

Material Handling – How GES handles your freight at show site

Hint: A few minutes of extra planning can save you hundreds – did you put it in a box, stacked, shrink-wrapped on a pallet where a forklift can take it gently from the trailer to the dock where it is placed on an elevator and spirited up to the right booth? Or did you send freight unboxed, crushable, and/or in easily damaged, or exposed packaging? The easier it is to handle, the lower your bill. The more complicated or risky the higher your bill.
Now you are going to say, “What about the times when I’m at another market and can’t ship my stuff in the free drayage window?” Participate in the caravans from markets/shows ahead of DMC’s! AND, if you use GES to ship your freight out after the show, they will provide free drayage for your inbound freight, even though it is outside the free drayage window!

Hints: Ask your shipping company (and GES) for discounts based on the volume of business you do with them throughout the year.

Bundle your business together to see what happens – you might be surprised.

Yes, Freight, Shipping, Drayage, and Material Handling are detailed. But, with a little advance work it can run very smoothly for you (and us)!!

I’ll be writing more posts on FAQ’s so check back.

Happy Details!

– RA