What is forced freight?
If you have materials that need to be shipped from your exhibit space after the show, and they are not removed by the time the General Service Contractor (GSC) has to have the floor cleared they will "force your freight" which typically means have it moved to their warehouse. The fees for this can be steep. And most forced freight is not due to negligence on the part of exhibitors, but rather on miscommunication. From an exhibitor's standpoint, freight is often forced because the necessary paperwork is not complete or turned in to the GSC desk. If you have hired a freight carrier to handle these details, as Sandra says below, assure that they understand the requirements for the show.
Learn more about trade show shipping in the Now What eGuide's Module F - Prepare for Exhibit Installation.
Thanks to Sandra Launsbach, Account Executive~Specializing in Trade Show Logistics at The Shaker Group, Inc. for sharing this information with the Exhibitor LinkedIn Group.
Just make sure your freight carrier knows their way around the "Exhibitor Manual". It will save you time and money on "Waiting Time" charges and getting your booth to the show on time. The exhiibitor does not have the time or knowledge to worry about the "real" check in time, the address to the marshaling yard (which you typically still have to check into when going Direct to Show). If you do not use a Carrier that specializes in Tradeshow Shipping, here is a quick guide on what your freight carrier NEEDS to know:
I'll start with her last point first, since this is what you most likely want to know....
13. How do you avoid having your Freight Forced?
Turn in the Material Handling Agreement (MHA) before the end of the show. Please do not leave the Material Handling Agreement at your booth. It must be handed into the Service Desk before you leave. Without this paperwork, any left-over freight will be 'forced'. When an item is forced, it will be sent to the show contractor's warehouse for storage and delivered COD using the contractors chosen freight carrier. This 'forced' service of course can come at a high and unexpected cost sometimes doubling or tripling the original cost of shipping.
1. What is the Description of your shipment?
Provide an accurate piece count of the items being shipped, including weight, dimensions and type of freight (crates, cases, pallets, cartons, etc.) Your exhibit supplier should provide this for you. But if you don't have it computerized yet you can get a free worksheet for creating that list here: Checklist F13 Exhibit Inventory
2. What is the Exhibitor Name, Booth # & Show Name? Tradeshows have specific labeling requirements.
3. Will your freight require any Special Equipment? Confirm any special requirements for loading or handling your freight.
4. Do you require any additional Insurance?
5. When does your freight need to arrive?
6. Where will the driver be picking up the freight?
7. Shipping to the advanced warehouse or direct to show?
One of the most critical pieces of information is whether your freight is shipping to an Advanced Warehouse or Direct-To-Show. We'll also need to know if the venue provided you with an address for, or directions to, the Marshaling Yard. This information is located in the Exhibitor's Manual. Please keep in mind, if you ship "Direct to Show" do not expect your freight to be at your booth at your "Targeted Move-In Time". It is best to order labor the following day. Your freight is only guaranteed to be at the booth at the "Targeted Move-In Time" if you ship it ahead of time to the Advanced Warehouse.
8. What is the Deadline for Shipping to the Advanced Warehouse & Direct to Show?
9. Who is the Decorator or GSC (General Services Contractor)?
The show's Decorator or GSC manages the advance warehouse, marshaling yard, and shipping docks. For the most part, we are at their mercy! But it helps to know who the Decorator is (Freeman, GES, etc), and acknowledge them on the BOL (bill of lading) in case there is more than one show at a venue.
10. What is the full name of the trade show venue? To avoid confusion, especially in major cities where there may be multiple exhibition facilities, we'll need the full name of the venue or hotel, address and any pertinent, dock, hall, room, or floor information.
11. What is the full show name, exhibitor name, and booth number? We need to make sure the Bill of Lading has all of this information, and each matches the show's exhibitor list and directory. Be sure to include the full name of the show as opposed to its acronym. There are many shows, and several have similar acronyms.
12. What is the final destination of your freight? Is your shipment on a one-way trip? Or have you scheduled an outbound shipment - either back to origin or to another event? We want to help make sure your freight doesn't get "forced" at the end of the show!