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Minimizing damage when exhibiting over the long haul

With more high-tech gear becoming standard components of tradeshow displays, minimizing damage during transport can mean the difference between success and failure when exhibiting.



Proper packing can go a long way in getting your exhibit to the show floor in one piece.

Preparing to transport an exhibit across the country or overseas also requires a great deal of preparation and knowledge of state, federal and even international transportation laws. And the increased use of electronic equipment increases the need to adhere to shipping laws and proper packing methods.

“Moving electronics is very difficult,” said Greg Keh, vice president, TWI Group. “Not to pack, but to adhere to proper regulations. Lithium ion batteries, which are in nearly everything now, cannot simply be transported by airfreight. Items that emit radiation, such as DVD players or even monitors, can also be heavily regulated.”

While state and federal laws must be abided by, so must proper packing and shipping methods for the often times fragile components of various tradeshow exhibits.

“For so long now, tradeshows and events have required the movement of fragile equipment,” said Pete Morgan, owner, Time Logistics. “We have actually reduced costs for less than truckload show shipments because our volume of similar delicate and time-critical freight enables us to provide consolidations to advanced receiving or direct to show deliveries. Our tradeshow coordinators and drivers are trained to properly handle these items. ‘Fragility’ in client’s shipments is now more the norm than the exception.”

And protecting those fragile items begins with proper packing of materials for transport.

Shock-absorbing flooring in crates and pallets along with the use of shock-watch indicators and tip-and-tell indicators inside and outside of crates enable the people moving the items to see if something is being handled properly.

Labeling cargo as fragile certainly helps as well, but high value equipment of an extremely fragile nature can be protected by reserving an entire loading device or container to ensure only the exhibit items are being moved instead of combining the equipment with other cargo.


Electrical and lighting components pose extra challenges during shipping.

“In all cases, make your transport arrangements with proactive solutions in place,” said Keh. “If you have a tall fragile item, be sure to book space in the right transport equipment that can accommodate the size. Many times items are laid down or turned to fit, and this is most damaging to fragile items. Both packing and proper coordination with all transport lines will help. Never assume you can do one without the other.”

Knowing how to prepare for transporting tradeshow exhibits can also save a great deal of aggravation and increase the likelihood of a successful tradeshow experience.

“Our driver’s first priority prior to leaving an exhibitor, builder or hall is to ensure all exhibitry and products are properly secured with E-track bars, tie downs and, if necessary, wrapped with blankets,” said Morgan. “Damage for electronics, flat screens and lighting systems may also come from the truck ‘jostling’ over a long haul. To prevent this, all show and event trailers are air-ride equipped.”

Morgan also said that completely padded vans and additional insurance should be used for highly sensitive items.

Using experienced drivers familiar with a wide variety of tradeshow venues also can help keep fragile cargo safe during transportation.

“TTS Logistics has an edge on servicing the tradeshow industry because it is all we do,” said Kelly Christy, president, TTS Logistics. “All employees who are hired by TTS have both freight and tradeshow industry experience. This ensures that all freight moving around the world with TTS is treated with the urgency that all tradeshow freight demands.”

While there is no sure-fire way to ensure exhibits arrive at venues intact and on time, taking a few proactive steps in regards to packing and shipping can make the experience go much more smoothly.

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