How Much Does Trade Show Shipping Cost?

The importance of participating in trade shows is immeasurable. A local event in your city, for example, is where customers from other regions and countries could come and see your products. Or, you could display your goods in another location and open a new market. After contemplating and deciding to join an exhibit in Canada or the USA, one other thing you need to do is to arrange transportation. Expenses need consideration, and so you would want to know the trade show shipping cost beforehand.

As an exhibitor, setting up the booth to look impressive is critical to generating as many leads as possible. You want your best products on display for potential customers to inspect. Not only do your products and sales materials need to arrive at the convention center on time, but they have to be safe and free of damage.

Knowing the cost of shipping your products and materials helps you plan your trade show budget. A more important consideration is the reliability and proven track record of the freight companies in delivering cargo on time.

Factors Affecting Cost of Shipping Cargo for Trade Shows

Some exhibitors save time by using the services of a shipping company recommended by the trade show organizers. However, you may also have reasons to seek a third-party trucking company. For example, if you are shipping delicate equipment or machinery, you need specialized trucks. It may also be a matter of convenience, or simply that you prefer to choose a freight company that passes your standards.

At any rate, there are more than a few factors that affect the transportation costs for a trade show.

1. Location and Distance

The location of your warehouse and the venue of the trade show affects cost the most. The further the distance, the higher the shipping fee. It costs even more if there are other expenses, as is the case with cross-border shipping to/from Canada and the United States.

2. Permits, Customs Fees and Taxes, and Other Documentations

Shipping within Canada is straightforward. For the most part, the shipping rates depend on the type of truck, load, and distance. However, it gets more complicated (and costly) when moving cargo across the border. In this case, you cover other expenses incurred, such as customs duties and taxes, permits, and additional fees.

3. Remote Warehousing Fees

For companies participating in two or more trade shows, it may be better to avail of warehousing services. For example, you have scheduled events in different Canadian provinces (or states in the USA). It would be costly to have your cargo shipped back to the warehouse, then sent to the next trade show location.

If the logistics company offers storage solutions, and where possible, they can keep your cargo in their warehouse before delivering to the next destination. It may be a cost-effective solution for you, considering you would no longer have to deal with and incur cross-border expenses. Indeed, it saves time, which may be necessary if the trade shows’ schedule is too close to one another.

Related article: Leverage the Benefits of Warehouse Storage and Cross Docking

4. Cargo Type, Size, Quantity, and Weight

The type of product or materials, size, quantity, and weight are important considerations that affect cost. Naturally, the cost per weight is more if you are shipping loose cargo compared to full-load. It would also determine if you need regular trucks or specialized trucks. Perishable food, for example, requires temperature-controlled reefer trailers.

5. Drayage

If your cargo arrives in the warehouse after a trade show, you would have your personnel unloading. That is not the case when your shipment arrives at the venue ahead of a trade show. You would incur more charges to have your cargo unloaded and transported to your booth. Since the typical fees are calculated based on weight, it can add to the cost significantly.

6. Forced Freight

Though this may be an expense transacted with the trade show organizer, you should also consider forced freight. It only happens when after the trade show event, the hired shipping company failed to finish loading all the items into the truck within the allotted time given by the organizer.

Once the allotted time elapses, the shipping company can no longer pull out your items and has to leave the loading dock. The organizers will have your items transferred to local storage. You pay for all the expenses incurred.

Shipping cargoTrade Show Shipping Costs

Many variables affect trade show exhibit expenses, and shipping is one of them. Even the fluctuating prices of fuel, for example, can affect the total cost. For a precise estimate, you should discuss the details with your preferred logistics companies.

It is preferable to stick with one logistics service provider for convenience. However, it is a good business practice to keep two or three companies with stellar reputations. One reason to do that is to ensure that there is an available truck. Another is for cost comparisons.

Sample Computation of Shipping Cost Within Ontario:

Note that this is only a rough estimate of how much it costs to ship goods within the Canadian border.

  • Service acquired: One-way transport of shipment to a trade show in The International Center located in Mississauga, Canada
  • Origin of shipment: Toronto, Canada
  • Item specification: 500 units of all-in-one wireless inkjet printer
  • Total weight of items: 5,000 lbs.
  • Average drayage cost per pound: CAD 8.00
  • Average local shipping cost (fuel charge, base rate, declared value, and other miscellaneous charges): CAD 37,000

The first thing to do is to calculate the total drayage cost as follows:

Drayage per pound * total weight of all items:

CAD 8 x 5,000 lbs. = CAD 40,000

To get the total cost for the trade show shipping service availed, you need to add the drayage cost to the average local shipping cost:

Drayage cost + average local shipping cost

CAD 40,000 + CAD 37,000 = CAD 77,000

The total cost to ship and unload 500 units of all-in-one wireless inkjet printers on the merchant’s booth in The International Center in Mississauga, Canada, is CAD 77,000.

As can be seen from the sample computation, joining trade shows can be pretty costly. However, as an exhibitor, having the opportunity to have your product line introduced in trade show events can be fruitful in the long run. Joining these events can land you long-term customers that more than pays for the expenses.

Related article: What Should You Know About Trade Show Shipping?

Choose a Reliable Trade Show Shipping Partner

When you plan to transport products into the trade show, you must ensure that the products get to your booth in a timely and safe manner. To be possible, you must choose a shipping company with a known reputation to deliver high-quality services – preferably with experience in trade show shipments. At RoadLINX, we always strive to make our customers satisfied in all transactions they have with us. You can contact us at 905-760-1141.

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