At a trade show, drayage refers to the movement of your exhibit materials from your contractor or carrier’s vehicle to the booth space you have rented. Most show organisers …
What you need to know about Drayage
If you have exhibited at a trade show in the United States, you are most likely going to be familiar with the word Drayage. If you are not familiar with the word, Drayage refers to the cost of handling goods. For most first-time exhibitors, drayage is an unexpected cost that can set you back significantly.
At a trade show, drayage or material handling refers to the movement of your exhibit materials from your contractor or carrier’s vehicle to the trade show booth space you have rented for the exhibition. At most large exhibitions, hundreds of exhibitors have their booth materials arriving to the same location at the same time (show organisers usually give you move-in dates and most contractors will take advantage of the full amount of time so materials usually arrive at the same time). To ensure efficiency and organisation, the show organisers usually appoint an official contractor who is responsible for distributing these materials to the correct booth space.
Rates for drayage vary at different trade shows and in different exhibition halls but it is usually CWT (the weight per 100lbs in the US) multiplied by a pre-determined rate. The timing as well as the difficulty of handling the material also plays a part in the rate. It is important to remember that drayage works both ways – for the movement of your material from the warehouse to the booth space and also for the movement of the material back to the warehouse when the show is over.
Lowering the cost of drayage
Avoid small or loose items
Packages usually have a minimum cost so even if it’s a small package you will most likely have to pay the minimum cost per package. Speak to your contractor to ensure there are not many small packages arriving at the warehouse. Packing your entire exhibit into one large container might cost an arm and leg for shipment but it will most likely be less than what you will pay in drayage costs. Group any small containers or cartons into one large pallet.
The packaging used to ship your exhibit can play a huge role in drayage costs. The less time and effort it takes for your booth to be moved, the less the cost of drayage will be. Palletized and crated exhibits are easier to move than a pad-wrapped one, for example.
Because of the way drayage is calculated, the less your exhibit weighs, the lower the drayage will cost.
If your booth arrives at the warehouse past the deadline then expect a penalty or additional costs on the amount calculated for drayage.
Be on the lookout for good deals
Many show organisers have put together a drayage package deal for exhibitors. Ask the organisers and read through the exhibition manual.