Let’s not sugarcoat it. Exhibitors HATE material handling charges. Mostly because drayage seems arbitrary, excessive, and unpredictable. Over the years, GSC’s have occasionally tried to justify it. Last year, CEIR released “Unraveling the Myths about Material Handling.” The report explained what’s included (which was helpful), but let’s be honest, it still felt like cheap primer painted over a dark wall.
Recent Material Handling Policies
Recently, Fern and Freeman announced new material handling policies which eliminate most special handling fees and offer simplified per-pound charges. In addition to more flexible cancellation policies. Click on the link for a more detailed article in ECN about Fern’s new polities.
At first glance, these seem positive… but let’s examine them in greater detail.
Here are two Freeman examples (PDFs). Admittedly a simple analysis. In both cases, only crated shipments are accepted at the warehouse. Uncrated and pad wrapped ships are accepted at the show site:
- EXHIBITORLIVE 2020 (Las Vegas)
- VMX 2021 (Orlando)
Let’s Assume a 2000 lb. crate.
- EXHIBITORLIVE = $2145
- VMX 2021 = $2000
- EXHIBITORLIVE = $2685
- VMX 2021 = $2500
Small Packages (with conditions):
- EXHIBITORLIVE = $45 (min. 30 lbs)
- VMX 2021 = $0 (under $10 lbs)
- EXHIBITORLIVE = Overtime, special handling, uncrated or pad wrapped fees
- VMX 2021 = No special handling fees or overtime.
At first glance, most exhibitors won’t save much, assuming their freight arrives on time and in crates. The real savings are the surprise “special handling fees” and CWT rounding charges. This means greater predictability for the exhibitor since material handling is based exclusively on actually weight.
It’s a start, but the NAB Show Cares Program offers a much better model for exhibitors and the long-term health of the trade show industry. Now, here’s an even better question… Why isn’t EXHIBITORLIVE adopting the NAB Cares model?
Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, hybrid, custom, rental exhibit solutions. Classic Exhibits products are represented by an extensive distributor network in North America and in select International markets. For more information, contact us at 866-652-2100 or www.classicexhibits.com.