How to Ship Products to a Trade Show

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What are trade shows?

A trade show is a fantastic way to display your products and your company not only to your peers but to the entire community who is interested in your industry. There are thousands of trade shows across the United States every year, varying in size and scope, dedicated to every single industry that one can imagine. Companies that no one knew about yesterday can take their wares to a trade show and launch their business quite literally overnight. Just as you ship your products to warehouses, distributors, sellers, and storefronts, you also have to ship your items to a trade show. If you are at all familiar with the larger trade shows, such as KBIS (Kitchen and Bath Industry Show) held every year in Orlando, then just attending one of those events can be intimidating. Participating in it can be downright scary from a logistical standpoint. Read on to learn how to ship your items to and from a trade show and learn the little details that separate a nightmare transit from a smooth, efficient transit.

How to ship your items to a trade show

Just as any shipment requires a BOL, so does a trade show. However, the BOL for a trade show requires additional information specific to the trade show you are going to. This information includes:
  • The name of the show decorator (i.e. Freeman)
  • The booth number(s) that you will be occupying during the time of the show
  • The preferred carrier handling the show (UPS, ABF, etc.)
  • The carrier’s trade show quote # listed in the special instructions.
  • Is the shipment going directly to the show or is it going to an advanced warehouse? If the shipment is going to an advanced warehouse, you must list the address of the warehouse along with the name of the trade show.
  • The name and phone number of your contact person at the show who will oversee your items.
  • Lastly, for any trade show shipment, you don’t have to worry about calculating density. Any freight moving to or from a trade show has the same classification and NMFC number. The freight class for trade show materials is class 125 and the NMFC is 154630-Paraphernalia, exhibition or trade show, NOI; or Booths or Stalls, exhibition, NOI, KD, in boxes, crates or trunks.

Related Reading: LTL Shipping – What is an NMFC Number?

How to ship your items from a trade show 

Once the trade show is over and it’s time to send your items back, you are halfway home. It’s advisable when setting up the initial shipment to the show that you plan the return shipment at the same time to make sure that you have all of your paperwork in order ahead of time. All you have to do is take the exact information that you listed as the receiver on the first BOL and make that the shipper and then make the address the items are going back to as the receiver. Also, there is one additional piece of information that you will need to include.
  1. On the material handling form that the particular show will have you fill out, you must list the name of the paying party and their address.
Now you’re ready for a smooth transit to your next trade show!
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