Exhibitor Transportation Costs on the Rise
The cost of exhibit transportation has gone up in the past several years. Unfortunately, companies who rely on trade shows for their revenue are left with exorbitant fees and no clues about how to avoid them or how they racked them up.
There’s no one factor behind the rising rates of the trade show freight market- it’s the result of a multitude of factors. Luckily, we’ve investigated these variables and brainstormed some simple methods for how to beat them.
Transportation Driver Shortages
It’s no secret that the United States driver population has taken a hit. Current driver shortages are estimated to be between 50,000-75,000 and are projected to reach 175,000 by 2026.
For companies, this means there’s a lower supply of drivers to meet a skyrocketing demand. This leads to transportation carriers having to pay drivers more to secure and retain them, which is reflected in a customer’s final invoice, where costs have increased 10%-30%.
Strong Economic Demands
As mentioned above, demand for drivers is skyrocketing as a result of positive economic growth. Now the ramifications of COVID-19 have yet to make themselves known, but before the pandemic, companies reported an increased demand for stuff to be shipped, directly related to increases in consumer spending. Increased delivery of goods leads to additional needs for transportation services and more drivers.
Working Around natural Disasters
For the last several years, the United States has seen an unexpected influx of natural disasters, from the pandemic to forest fires to floods and hurricanes. These natural disasters have rendered some drivers incapable of performing their job, which results in transportation from other regions being pulled in to cover their work, further spreading the driver population thin and resulting in higher expenses.
Electronic Logging Devices
Congress mandated Electronic Logging Devices in an effort to provide a safer work environment for drivers by keeping track of duty status data. These devices are meant to log hours electronically and enforce road-time compliance.
These devices have had two effects on transportation companies. One, the price of these devices cannot be covered by all firms, which leads to a decreased amount of transportation options. The firms that can afford to comply must then levy the cost of ELDs and their subscription fees onto the consumer.
Additionally, because they keep a closer watch on the time a driver is on the road, they’re restricting the time a driver can be working. Good for the worker, bad for transit time.
How You Can Save Money On Transportation Rates
While driver shortages, natural disasters, and other factors driving supply and demand remain outside of your control, there are initiatives you can implement to decrease shipping costs and better manage your transportation needs.
Contact a Logistics Firm
Transportation and logistics firms have a network of qualified drivers, so if your driver drips your shipment you’re more likely to be able to find another driver who will be familiar with your exhibit and will get it there on time.
Stay Aware of Rates
Changing external circumstances, demand, and weather can affect transportation rates. You can stay up to date with transient costs by asking for a quote a few weeks before you plan to ship–so you can adjust your budget or your shipment–and then request another re-rate close to the actual ship date. This way, you stay in the know, your budget stays optimized, and you can modify your shipping dates to select more economical times or services.
Minimize Wait Times
Before a driver even gets there, make sure that everything in your shipment is ready to go. By doing this, you’re ensuring that all of your driver’s hours are being spent in actual transportation–not waiting around for products to be loaded.
Optimize your Shipments
There are several ways you can decrease your transportation load. The first is being picky about the products you bring to your exhibit. What will most appeal to the attendees? You can also optimize the structure of your exhibit –what will be the most effective display in your booth?
You also can rely on interactive tech and smart graphic design instead of bringing all of your marketing materials. There’s also the option of distributing marketing materials electronically, so you can avoid bringing boxes and boxes of catalogs, brochures, and more.
Transportation rates are greatly affected by a variety of differing factors. But with smart organization and detail-oriented strategizing, companies won’t have to dedicate a large percentage of their budgets for exhibit transportation.