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Frequently Asked Questions - Material Handling

Part of a good show experience should happen before the show even opens. That means what goes on behind the scenes - including how smoothly your exhibit gets there in the first place - is just as crucial an element as the overall show itself. With that in mind, Freeman continues to develop programs and procedures to ensure our material handling services are the best in the industry.

If this list doesn't answer your questions, please feel free to call us at (888) 508-5054 or (817) 607-5000.

1. What is Material Handling?

Material handling includes the unloading of your exhibit materials, storing for up to 30 days in advance at the warehouse address, delivering to the booth, the handling of empty containers to and from storage and removing of material from the booth for reloading onto outbound carriers when the show closes. It should not be confused with the cost to transport your exhibit materials to and from the convention or event. You have two options for shipping your advance freight - either to the warehouse or directly to show site.

2. How do I estimate my Material Handling Charges?

The quickest way to estimate your charges is to use the material handling estimation tool on Freeman Online. Login to Freeman Online, go to your show, click Order Products and Services and then click Order Freeman Products & Services. You'll see Material Handling on the left navigation. Click Material Handling and then select the Estimate and Print box to begin the step-by-step process to estimate your potential charges.

Charges are based on the weight of your shipment. Each shipment received is considered separately. The shipment weight will be rounded up to the next 100 pounds. Each 100 pounds is considered one "cwt" (one hundred weight). There is a 200 lb. minimum charge for each shipment weighing less than 200 lbs. All shipments are subject to reweigh.

You will indicate whether the freight will arrive at the warehouse or be sent directly to show site.

You will select the category that best describes your shipment.

There are four categories of freight:

Crated: material that is skidded or is in any type of shipping container that can be unloaded at the dock with no additional handling required.

Special Handling: material delivered by the carrier in such a manner that it requires additional handling, such as ground unloading, stacked and constricted space unloading, designated piece unloading, loads mixed with pad-wrapped material, loads failing to maintain shipping integrity and shipments that require additional time, equipment, or labor to unload. Federal Express and UPS are included in this category due to their delivery procedures.

Uncrated: material that is shipped loose or pad-wrapped, and/or unskidded machinery without proper lifting points.

Carpet and/or Pad Only: shipments that consist of loose carpet and/or padding only require additional labor and equipment to unload.

Add overtime charges for inbound if material is delivered to the booth during the overtime period stated on Quick Facts. This includes both warehouse and show-site shipments.

Add overtime charges for outbound (the location the freight will go to after the show) if material is loaded onto the outbound carrier during the overtime period stated on Quick Facts.

Add the late delivery charge listed on the Order Form if the shipment is accepted at the warehouse or at show site after the deadline date listed on Quick Facts.

The above services, whether used completely or in part, are offered as a round-trip service and the charges will be based on the total inbound weight of the shipment.

Shipments received without receipts or freight bills, such as UPS and Federal Express, will be delivered to the booth without guarantee of piece count or condition.

3. How do I ship to the warehouse?

  1. We will accept freight beginning 30 days prior to show move-in.

  2. To check on your freight arrival, call Exhibitor Services at the location listed on your Quick Facts form. This form may be found in your Exhibitor Service Manual or on Freeman Online (www.freemanco.com/store)

  3. To ensure timely arrival of your materials at show site, freight should arrive by the deadline date listed on Quick Facts. Your freight will still be received after the deadline date, but additional charges will be incurred.

  4. The warehouse will receive shipments Monday through Friday, except holidays. Refer to Quick Facts for warehouse hours. No appointment is necessary.

  5. The warehouse will accept crates, cartons, skids, trunks/cases and carpets. Loose or pad-wrapped material must be sent directly to show site.

  6. All shipments must have a bill of lading or delivery slip indicating the number of pieces, type of merchandise and weight.

  7. Certified weight tickets must accompany all shipments.

  8. Warehouse freight will be delivered to the booth prior to exhibitor setup.

  9. Please call the number located on Quick Facts if you want to ship oversized material that requires special equipment to the warehouse.

4. What about prepaid or collect shipping charges?

  1. Collect shipments will be returned to the delivery carrier.

  2. To ensure that your freight does not arrive collect, mark your bill of lading "Prepaid."

  3. "Prepaid" designates that the transportation charges will be paid by the exhibitor or third party.

5. How should I label my freight?

Proper Labeling identifies your shipment and ensures safe and timely movement. Labels should be placed on both the long and short sides of each carton or box.

PROPER LABELS SHOULD INCLUDE:

  • Name of Show or Event
  • Exhibitor Name/Company Name
  • Booth Number
  • C/O Freeman
  • Address to be delivered to

Shipping Labels should be placed on every piece of your shipment. The shipper and consignee information must match the bill of lading information correctly, and your labels must be legible and complete.

6. How to package your freight?

  • Crated: Material that is skidded or is in any type of shipping container that can be unloaded at the dock with no additional handling required

  • Special Handling: Material delivered by the carrier in such a manner that it requires additional handling, such as ground unloading, stacked and constricted space unloading, designated piece unloading, loads mixed with pad-wrapped material, loads failing to maintain shipping integrity and shipments that require additional time, equipment or labor to unload Federal Express and UPS are included in this category due to their delivery procedures.

  • Uncrated: Material that is shipped loose or pad-wrapped, and/or unskidded machinery without proper lifting points.

  • Carpet and/or Pad Only: Shipments that consist of loose carpet and/or padding only require additional labor and equipment to unload.

7. What happens to my empty containers during the show?

  1. Pick up "Empty Labels" at the Freeman Exhibitor Service Center. Place a label on each container. Labeled containers will be picked up periodically and stored in non-accessible storage during the show.

  2. At the close of the show, the empty containers will be returned to the booth in random order. Depending on the size of the show, this process may take several hours.

8. How do I protect my materials after they are delivered to the show or before they are picked up after the show?

Consistent with trade show industry practices, there may be a lapse of time between the delivery of your shipment(s) to your booth and your arrival. The same is true for the outbound phase of the show - the time between your departure and the actual pick-up of your materials. During these times, your materials will be left unattended. We recommend that you arrange for a representative to stay with your materials or that you hire security services to safeguard your materials.

9. How do I ship my materials after the close of the show?

Each shipment must have a completed Material Handling Agreement in order to ship materials from the show. All pieces must be labeled individually.

To save time, complete and submit the Outbound Shipping Form from your Exhibitor Service Manual or Freeman Online in advance. Regardless of which carrier you use, if you submit this form to Freeman in advance, we will print your shipping labels and bring them to your booth before the show closes. You may also contact the Freeman Exhibitor Service Center at show site for your shipping documents.

After materials are packed, labeled and ready to be shipped, the completed Material Handling Agreement must be turned in at the Freeman Exhibitor Service Center.

Freeman Transportation can handle all of your transportation needs, including outbound shipping. Simply call 800-995-3579 to arrange outbound shipping, order through Freeman Online, or check in at the Exhibitor Service Center while at show-site.

If you have a preferred carrier that is different from Freeman Transportation, you may arrange in advance for them to pick up your shipment. Please refer to Quick Facts for the time that your shipment will need to be cleared from your space by the outbound carrier. In the event your selected carrier fails to show on final move-out day, your shipment will either be rerouted to the Freeman carrier of choice or delivered back to the warehouse at the exhibitor's expense.

For your convenience, show-recommended carriers will be on site to handle outbound transportation.

10. Where do I get a forklift?

  1. Forklift orders to install or dismantle your booth after materials are delivered to your exhibit space/booth may be ordered in advance or at show site. We recommend that you order in advance to avoid additional charges at show site. Refer to the Order Form for available equipment.

  2. Advance and show-site orders for equipment and labor will be dispatched once a company representative signs the labor order at the Freeman Exhibitor Service Center.

  3. Start time is guaranteed only when equipment is requested for the start of the working day.

11. Do I need insurance?

Be sure your materials are insured from the time they leave your firm until they are returned after the show. It is suggested that exhibitors arrange all-risk coverage. This can be done by riders to your existing policies.

12. Why was I charged Overtime for Material Handling?

Overtime for Material Handling will apply based upon when the labor is performed. This is determined when the freight is received and placed in your booth as well as when the freight leaves the event. Please note that Overtime can apply toward shipments that are received at our Advance Warehouse if the freight is moved from the Warehouse to your booth during Overtime hours.

To find when Overtime would be applicable for your event, please use the Material Handling Rates form found on FreemanOnline. To find this form within your event, click 'Menu' in the top left corner, select 'Show Information' along the left side of the page, and finally select 'Forms & Brochures' under the section titled 'Show Information'. From here, you may locate the Material Handling Rates form that will show the overtime hours and when this billing would be applied.

1. What is an Importer of Record?

The U.S. Government requires that an individual or company take responsibility for importations into the U.S. Freeman is not the Importer of Record.

2. Does the Importer of Record have to be a U.S. Company?

No, non-U.S. companies can be Importers of Record. A customs form 5106 must be completed by the Customs Broker and submitted to customs on behalf of the importer. Customs will assign a Foreign Port Assign Number which will be the Importer of Record number, however, if a foreign company has a Foreign Port Assign Number on file with customs, it is NOT possible to obtain another number; nor is it possible to obtain the number from Customs. The foreign company MUST provide the Foreign Port Assign Number that they have been assigned.

3. What is a Power of Attorney Form and is it required for Customs Clearance?

A Power of Attorney form is required for any shipment coming into the U.S. for which a Customs Broker will be making an entry. The Customs Broker is NOT allowed to make clearance without this form. The Vice President of the importing company (either U.S. or Non-U.S.) and the Corporate Certification on the back of the Power of Attorney must be completed by a different "Officer of the Corporation". Yes, two different signatures are required.

4. How long before the show moves in do I need the freight in the appropriate city?

Because of increased lead times due to homeland security regulations, plan on having cargo arrive in the final city of destination at least 5 business days prior to move in. For ocean freight, ten business days prior to move in is a good idea.

5. Will I incur additional charges with the airlines and SS lines for this earlier arrival?

Yes, you will probably incur additional charges for the extended lead time; however, the number of inspections by customs is up dramatically and not planning enough time might cause delays that are irreversible.

6. Does Customs treat Trade Show merchandise with any preference?

No, all goods cleared through U.S. Customs go through the same process with no deference to time requirements.

7. What if my goods are not cleared by the move in date?

It is highly suggested that you bring a provisional shipment (partial) with you in your luggage to ensure that you have enough to show in your booth.

8. Can I ship food in my cargo?

New U.S. Government Bio-Terrorism Laws require that all importers of food must be registered prior to December 12, 2003. If you put candy in your shipment, it will require compliance with the new laws and most likely will not clear as you will not have the required information on the U.S. partner of the candy company. We suggest that you purchase any food locally that will be distributed at your booth.

9. Can I ship alcohol in my cargo?

All liquor requires an Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms department license. If you do not have a license, do not ship any alcohol.

10. What are the Customs Entry Types?

There are 4 possible entries for trade shows in the United States.

  1. Permanent duty paid entry - All goods are cleared, duty is paid, and the importer may do as they wish with the cargo.

  2. TIB or Temporary Import Bond - Only good for items which will absolutely be re-exported. If goods are not re-exported, they are subject to penalty of double the duty up to the full value of the merchandise.

  3. Carnet - ATA Carnet is applied for in the country of export. Goods are duty free but MUST be re-exported.

  4. Trade Fair Entry - Only for shows which are Registered U.S. Trade Fairs under the law (not all shows qualify).

Goods can stay in bond for up to 90 days after the close of the show. They can be transferred into Permanent entries, exported, put in a bonded warehouse, or destroyed.

11. Solid Wood Packing Materials (SWPM)

In a final rule published in the Federal Register on September 16, 2004, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) amended its regulations with the goal of decreasing the risk of introducing plant pests into the United States. USDA has adopted the international standard for wood packaging material (WPM) that was approved by the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) on March 15, 2002. The IPPC standard calls for most WPM to be either heat treated or fumigated with methyl bromide in accordance with the Guidelines and marked with an approved international mark certifying that treatment. The final rule, which became effective on September 16, 2005, will affect all persons using wood packaging material in connection with importing goods into the United States.

1. What is an Importer of Record?

The U.S. Government requires that an individual or company take responsibility for importations into the U.S. Freeman is not the Importer of Record.

2. Does the Importer of Record have to be a U.S. Company?

No, non-U.S. companies can be Importers of Record. A customs form 5106 must be completed by the Customs Broker and submitted to customs on behalf of the importer. Customs will assign a Foreign Port Assign Number which will be the Importer of Record number, however, if a foreign company has a Foreign Port Assign Number on file with customs, it is NOT possible to obtain another number; nor is it possible to obtain the number from Customs. The foreign company MUST provide the Foreign Port Assign Number that they have been assigned.

3. What is a Power of Attorney Form and is it required for Customs Clearance?

A Power of Attorney form is required for any shipment coming into the U.S. for which a Customs Broker will be making an entry. The Customs Broker is NOT allowed to make clearance without this form. The Vice President of the importing company (either U.S. or Non-U.S.) and the Corporate Certification on the back of the Power of Attorney must be completed by a different "Officer of the Corporation". Yes, two different signatures are required.

4. How long before the show moves in do I need the freight in the appropriate city?

Because of increased lead times due to homeland security regulations, plan on having cargo arrive in the final city of destination at least 5 business days prior to move in. For ocean freight, ten business days prior to move in is a good idea.

5. Will I incur additional charges with the airlines and SS lines for this earlier arrival?

Yes, you will probably incur additional charges for the extended lead time; however, the number of inspections by customs is up dramatically and not planning enough time might cause delays that are irreversible.

6. Does Customs treat Trade Show merchandise with any preference?

No, all goods cleared through U.S. Customs go through the same process with no deference to time requirements.

7. What if my goods are not cleared by the move in date?

It is highly suggested that you bring a provisional shipment (partial) with you in your luggage to ensure that you have enough to show in your booth.

8. Can I ship food in my cargo?

New U.S. Government Bio-Terrorism Laws require that all importers of food must be registered prior to December 12, 2003. If you put candy in your shipment, it will require compliance with the new laws and most likely will not clear as you will not have the required information on the U.S. partner of the candy company. We suggest that you purchase any food locally that will be distributed at your booth.

9. Can I ship alcohol in my cargo?

All liquor requires an Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms department license. If you do not have a license, do not ship any alcohol.

10. What are the Customs Entry Types?

There are 4 possible entries for trade shows in the United States.

  1. Permanent duty paid entry - All goods are cleared, duty is paid, and the importer may do as they wish with the cargo.

  2. TIB or Temporary Import Bond - Only good for items which will absolutely be re-exported. If goods are not re-exported, they are subject to penalty of double the duty up to the full value of the merchandise.

  3. Carnet - ATA Carnet is applied for in the country of export. Goods are duty free but MUST be re-exported.

  4. Trade Fair Entry - Only for shows which are Registered U.S. Trade Fairs under the law (not all shows qualify).

Goods can stay in bond for up to 90 days after the close of the show. They can be transferred into Permanent entries, exported, put in a bonded warehouse, or destroyed.

11. Solid Wood Packing Materials (SWPM)

In a final rule published in the Federal Register on September 16, 2004, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) amended its regulations with the goal of decreasing the risk of introducing plant pests into the United States. USDA has adopted the international standard for wood packaging material (WPM) that was approved by the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) on March 15, 2002. The IPPC standard calls for most WPM to be either heat treated or fumigated with methyl bromide in accordance with the Guidelines and marked with an approved international mark certifying that treatment. The final rule, which became effective on September 16, 2005, will affect all persons using wood packaging material in connection with importing goods into the United States.

Material Handling - Material Handling includes the unloading of your exhibit materials, storing for up to 30 days in advance at the warehouse address, delivering to the booth, the handling of empty containers to and from storage and removing of material from the booth for reloading onto outbound carriers when the show closes. It should not be confused with the cost to transport your exhibit materials to and from the convention or event. You have two options for shipping your advance freight - either to the warehouse or directly to show site

Shipping - Freeman provides reliable, cost-effective transportation services that deliver your exhibit materials where they need to be, when they need to be there.

1. What are Priority Empty Container Return Labels?

On select shows, we offer Priority Empty Container Return Labels as a service to exhibitors who wish to receive their empty packing materials faster at the end of show to speed up their move out. These labels are usually only available on our largest shows, where it may take four hours or longer to receive your empty containers due to the size and complexity of the show.

There are only a limited number available at each eligible show, so order yours via the FreemanOnline Product Catalog or at Show Site before they sell out!

2. How fast will I receive my empty containers when I order these labels?

You'll receive your empty containers first, not to exceed two hours from show close, guaranteed.

3. How many Priority Empty Container Return Labels do I need?

You'll need one label for each carton, case, crate, or skid / pallet you used to ship your booth to the event. Any container without its own label will not receive priority return.

4. How do I receive my Priority Empty Container Return Labels?

At Show Site, a Freight Operations floor supervisor will deliver your pre-ordered Priority Empty Container Return Labels to your booth.

5. What if I don't purchase Priority Empty Container Return Labels?

Don't worry! You will still receive your containers at the originally scheduled time based on your placement on the show floor (visit the Freeman Service Center during the event for more information). The complex process of disassembly and move-out of an event is carefully choreographed taking several factors into consideration.

We carefully plan the tear down of every show to make it as safe and efficient as possible. However, we recognize that some exhibitors may have urgent commitments such as travel plans or family needs that require an expedited departure. Priority Empty Return is an option for those exhibitors and the fee is in place to ensure only those in need opt for this ancillary service.

6. Why can I purchase Priority Labels for one of my booths but not the others?

On select shows, due to the complexity of the show floor we can only offer a limited number of Priority Empty Container Return Labels for each section of the show. Available Priority Labels for each booth depend on which section of the show floor they're located in, so labels may be available for one of your booths but not for others.

7. How do I purchase Priority Labels for each of my booths?

Priority Labels may only be purchased for one booth at a time. Once you complete checkout for your current booth, you will be able to add Priority Labels for another booth to your cart.

8. What if Priority Labels are sold out?

If labels are sold out, you may check with the Show Site Helpdesk as they may have additional labels available for purchase.