Ok, the show is over, you have packed up your shipment, palletized everything and turned in your Bill of Lading. You walk off the show floor and head home. The next week you find out that your freight was forced off the show floor and you need to pay a much higher price to get your freight released and delivered back to you. This forced freight scenario happens all the time. So what can you do to protect your outbound shipment at the show site and avoid this problem?
Here are some simple steps you can take to help protect your outbound shipment and ensure it gets loaded onto your prearranged carrier.
- Get the phone number and name of the pickup driver. You would make this request ahead of time with your shipping company. They can call their Cartage agent at the show city, find out the driver’s cell number, and then give it to you on the same day as the show dismantle. Having this number puts you in direct contact with the driver to know that he has checked in for your shipment.
- If your shipping company will not provide this information, get another shipping company.
- Make sure that the driver has checked in for your booth number. He may be there but he could be picking up for multiple shipments. If he does not check in for yours, it will be forced.
- Ask at the service desk if your driver is on the list when you turn in your Material handling form. If they do not have that information at the desk then walk to the freight desk or driver check-in area to make sure your driver is there.
- Call back to your shipper and have them give you a progress report on the driver.
- Call the shipper earlier in the day to make sure all arrangements are set for the move out and go over the driver check-in time with them.
- Make sure that you put the shipping company name on the outbound material handling form. This is critical because, if you don’t, the show contractor can automatically give your shipment to the show carrier.
- Put the most generic name for the carrier on the material handling form. Don’t say Ramar United. Ramar is the name of a local trucking agent in the DC area. Instead, you should just say “United Van lines” on the form.
- Mark your shipping labels with the carrier name and Bill of Lading number (every piece).
This level of follow through is standard procedure at Exhibit Edge and other quality display houses. Be sure to check with your own display house to ensure they are taking the proper steps to ensure your freight is being handled appropriately.