Most trade shows and live events are back on track this year, after more than two years of shutdowns and date changes due to the global pandemic. While health and safety protocols have helped get the large event industry back to pre-COVID levels, one thing that hasn’t rebounded as fast is the global supply chain and its ripple effect on the transportation industry. That means big headaches for event managers, as they struggle to get trade show materials to each event on time.

According to a June 28 Bloomberg article, the largest U.S. ports – Los Angeles and Long Beach, as well as the country’s rail lines and warehouses – are still clogged with goods. This month alone, two-thirds of the rail containers waiting to leave the Port of Los Angeles have been sitting for nine days or more. Warehouses are feeling the crunch too, with vacancy rates near the L.A. port at less than one percent. A rail transit strike that may be coming in July, along with continued hiring challenges in the trucking industry, could make the problems continue well into the fall.

Supply chain challenges effects Trade show shipping

Like many industries, the trade show and events industry is feeling the crunch when it comes to transportation. Some of the variables event managers are facing include:

  • Fewer Experienced Drivers. The restoration of live events has created a greater demand for specialized event shipping. Fewer available and experienced drivers have made a stressful environment for exhibitors needing to get their materials to the show on time.
  • Increased Cost. The increase in demand and a rise in service costs have led carriers to add surcharges for variables such as size and fuel. Exhibitors are seeing overall shipping costs on the rise to get materials to events.
  • Lack of Tradeshow Experience in Freight Drivers. New or available drivers may not have experience in the trade show industry. Suppose your driver has not delivered to a specific large event before. In that case, additional delays and service level challenges can create problems in an industry that requires on-time receipt of materials.

How to Improve Your Event Shipping Experience

Our team has developed some suggestions to help you avoid impacts on your event schedule for the remainder of the year and as you plan for 2023.

  1. Add Longer Shipping Timelines to Your Event Plan. 7-10 days is optimal. Longer timelines allow carriers to solve problems that may occur without affecting delivery dates.
  2. Ship to the Advance Warehouse. It will allow you to ensure your materials will arrive at the show on time. The advance warehouse is also more desirable for drivers than shipping directly to the show site and navigating the show’s marshaling yards.
  3. Budget for the Current Marketplace. Currently, shipping costs are anywhere between 25%-33% higher than pre-covid times for the same lane and shipment. Talk to your carrier and plan accordingly. Also, remember that in a dynamic marketplace, your carrier may only be able to guarantee quoted costs for a limited time.
  4. Label Shipment Materials. Before sending each shipment, ensure items are clearly labeled. In addition to helping your carrier, labels help general service contractors identify your freight when moving out of a show.
  5. Paperwork is Key. Complete your event and shipping paperwork (BOL and MHA) completely and accurately to help reduce problems along the way.
  6. Choose an Experienced Partner. Finally, if your team is back on the road this year, choose a trade show shipping partner that is experienced in event logistics. Timeliness and protecting your most valuable assets are critical when shipping event materials. Selecting a trade show-savvy company will help reduce the stress of meeting your event deadlines. In addition, our team can help you identify and implement proactive measures to reduce logistics challenges and keep your event calendar in sync.

Legacy Logistics Delivers Ontime, Every Time

We’ve been tracking and responding to the dynamic transportation marketplace for more than 22 years. Over the past three years, our team has worked hand-in-hand with our trade show partners and clients to support the industry during challenging times. From transitioning to virtual events to getting large in-person events back on schedule, we’ve been there every step of the way. Our professional transportation and logistics team has your back – and we’re here to help you minimize the impacts of supply chain challenges to your business.

At Legacy Logistics, we understand the obstacles you face when transporting freight across the country to meet complex trade show and event deadlines. As collaborative members of your team, we’ll provide proactive advice to help you prepare for each shipment. With our industry-leading technology tools, you’ll track your shipments online every step of the way. We make shipping with Legacy as simple as possible. Because we specialize in trade show shipping, we are committed to protecting your assets and meeting your event deadlines. In addition, our trade show and storage partners across the country help us reduce the impacts of supply chain challenges on your team.


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