Transporting Exhibit Materials: Are Your Assets Protected?

Transporting Exhibit Materials: Are Your Assets Protected?

As an exhibitor, you prepare and strategize for months prior to attending a trade show.  You do everything right and plan for every scenario that might occur while showcasing your company’s products and services.  While strategizing; however, did you ever consider what might happen if a worst-case scenario occurred?  What if your exhibit materials were stolen, misplaced and not found or arrived damaged?

Unfortunately, many exhibitors do not realize that they are exposed to the possibility of loss or damage when transporting freight to and from a trade show.   Even worse, due to liability limits, exhibitors may be left financially responsible for scenarios completely out of their control.  The following information provides tips for protecting your assets.


Tips for Protecting Your Assets During Transport and While Exhibiting


1-  Understand Who is Responsible for Your Freight and to What Extent

Carriers and general service contractors (GSC) are the main entities with possession of your exhibit materials.  Your selected carrier becomes responsible for your freight once it has been loaded onto the truck headed for the advanced warehouse or show site, and upon its return.  Typically, the carrier’s liability is limited and can range between $.50-$5.00 per pound. Additional insurance coverage is usually available for purchase.

Once freight arrives to show site or the advanced warehouse, and crosses the back of the truck while unloading, the GSC becomes responsible.  The GSC typically limits the liability to approximately $.50/lb. per article with a $1500 maximum shipment liability (depending on the GSC).


2- Be Proactive and Cover Your Assets

Take the time to review your current insurance policy and understand your coverage. Exhibitors sometimes assume that their assets are covered under the company’s corporate BPP (business personal property) coverage.  Too often; however, do they fail to realize that once the assets leave their corporate campus coverage changes. Sometimes, assets aren’t protected at all.

Protect yourself from unanticipated expenses.  Depending on your current policy, you may want to consider additional coverage options through an independent insurance company or your transportation carrier.


3- Ask Your Carrier About Supplemental Insurance Options

Every booked shipment comes with limited liability coverage; however, coverage may be less than the value of the goods being shipped.  Ask your contracted carrier how much their general liability covers.  If requesting additional coverage through your carrier, request the coverage inclusions.


4- Notate and Document

The Bill of Lading or Material Handling Agreement are contracts of carriage and include limits to liability for the carrier, decorator or warehouseman. Notating condition upon receipt is key to all parties and will provide evidence of freight condition.  Do not sign a document without reading the fine print and notating problems. 

If possible, take pictures of your freight before it departs your corporate location and have your carrier document photos after unloading at the advanced warehouse or show site. Photos will assist in the process of determining the point damages or losses were sustained.  More important than photos; however, notation is key in the claims process.


5- Understand the Fine Print

Did you know that if your freight was damaged by a carrier or general show contractor, but packaged insufficiently, you are liable? Carriers and decorators work off a strict set of terms and conditions that may limit recovery in cases of loss or damage. Take time and review the contracts of carriage and make sure you are abiding by the guidelines.


6- Document Shipment Value

Document the value of your shipment in case of disputes, losses or damages.  Have a clear understanding of the depreciated value of what you are shipping. In the situation that you need to file a claim, documentation is key.


Final Thoughts

When multiple companies are involved in a shipment, it can be difficult to prove who was responsible for losses and damages.  The best ways to ensure your assets are fully protected are to properly package your freight and acquire additional insurance, through a third party or a provision of your current policy, that covers your exhibit materials.



Should you have any questions about this information, or anything relating to logistics, contact Legacy Logistics. Our goal is to create awareness and help you minimize the costs associated with transporting your event materials.    To connect with a skilled advisor, contact Legacy Logistics at 717.833.6384 or email your questions to



Ernie Magalotti, Founder and President of Legacy Logistics, will be taking a deeper dive into this topic when he presents “The Fine Print of Transporting Exhibit Materials. Are Your Assets Protected?”  at Exhibitor Live 2019.  For more information go to: