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Drayage Costs – Trade Show Terminology Your Exhibit Company Should Tell You About

Drayage costs

Are you staring at a surprise invoice for drayage costs after your first trade show? You are not alone. Many a venue or exhibit company doesn’t explain drayage to first-time exhibitors, so it can be a big shock. And drayage is not exactly a common term outside the logistics industry. So, you may not even have heard the word before.

So, what exactly is drayage? While container shipping logistics companies may use the word in many situations, it always means “transporting goods over a short distance.” But how does that apply to trade show venues?

Drayage costs are about unloading, loading and moving trade show materials from the dock at the entrance of the venue to your booth before the show and afterwards. Also, the invoice you receive for drayage includes the storage and handling of empty trade show crates, pallets, and anything else not in your booth during the show.

Why Are Drayage Costs Extra?

Your exhibit company quoted you a shipping cost, and now this drayage is over and above that quoted amount. Frustrating if you weren’t expecting it, but yes, absolutely the normal process. Drayage costs, unlike shipping, are paid to the organizer at the venue itself. So, it is always on top of your shipping costs to get the booth to the entrance of the venue. Drayage pays to move your items from the entrance to your booth location and store your boxes etc., during the show. Every location (and organizer) has different fees, but they all work the same way.

The shipping company or booth designer you hired does not have permission to transport your booth from the entrance to the booth location. So, the fees are between you and the organizer. Sometimes the drayage is more than shipping across the country! Some of this is because you are really “captive” to the one and only one supplier of the drayage service onsite. But mostly, it is because the drayage is a much more hands-on process. The fees are set by the unions, though, so don’t expect to negotiate. Just be sure you book in advance, so you are not paying for overtime or weekend rates.

Your best bet is to use as few containers or pallets as possible. Pack everything well and keep everything well organized. This planning at least minimizes drayage costs and other extra charges.

If you have questions about past drayage costs or wonder what your next invoice will be, reach out to the experts at Local Exhibits. We do this every day!

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