Glossary of Tradeshow Terms

ADVANCED WAREHOUSE: facility designated for freight received prior to the tradeshow move-in date; typically, open 30 days prior to show and closed a week before show start date.

BILL OF LADING (B/L): A commercial shipping document that establishes the terms of a contract between a shipper and a transportation company under which freight is to be moved between specified points for a specified charge.

BONE YARD: The contractor's on-site area where extra inventory and sometimes empty crates and cartons are stored during exposition.

BOOTH: One or more standard units of exhibit space. A standard unit is generally known to be a 10' x 10' space. However, if an exhibitor purchases multiple units side-by-side or back-to-back, the combined space is still referred to as one booth.

BOOTH NUMBER: Number designated by show management for each exhibitor’s space.

BOOTH SIZE: Dimensions of assigned space (usually allocated in 10’ X 10’ portions.

CARAVAN: Multiple exhibit shipments transported from one trade show to another trade show in a sufficient quantity to create a truckload or loads that will be transported to destination without transfer.

CARRIER: Transportation company that transports freight (common carrier, van line, rail car, airplane).

CHARGEABLE WEIGHT: Weight at which any freight shipment or material handling will be charged; usually rounded up to the nearest hundred pound (CWT). For example, 515 lb. = 6 CWT.

CLASSIFICATION (Rating): The freight class an article is assigned for the purpose of applying transportation charges. Exhibit material is typically rated as class 125.

CONSIGNEE: Organization or person to whom goods are shipped.

CONSIGNOR: A person or company shown on a bill of lading as the shipper.

CONSOLIDATE: Shipping freight to a central depot where several loads bound for the same destination are put together before being shipped to that destination.

CRATE: Container used for shipping displays; usually made of wood.

CUSTOM BROKER: Person or company which provides customs-clearing services to shippers of goods to and from another country.

CUSTOMS: The governmental authorities designated to collect duties levied by a country on imports and exports. The term also applies to the procedures involved in such collection.

CWT RATE: Cost per "hundred weight."

CWT: An abbreviation for Per Hundred Weight.

DECORATOR: Craftsperson used to install drape, fabric, signs, etc.; also, a common term for General Service Contractor.

DISPLAY HOUSE: A company that manufactures trade show exhibits. Additional services may also include warehousing and shipping exhibits for exhibitors, as well as providing set up and dismantle labor.

DOCK: A place where freight is loaded onto, and taken from, vessels, or vehicles.

DRAYAGE: Delivery of exhibit materials from the dock to an assigned exhibit space, removing empty crates, returning crates at the end of show for re-crating, and delivering materials back to dock for carrier loading. More commonly referred to as Material Handling. Show decorators charge drayage to exhibitors.  Freight charges never include drayage fees.

EAC: Exhibitor Appointed Contractor; non-official service contractor; usually supplies services related to displays requested by individual exhibitors. EACs are arranged by exhibitors well in advance of the show.

EXHIBITOR-APPOINTED CONTRACTOR (EAC): Any company other than the designated show contractor providing a service to an exhibitor. Includes I & D houses, photographers, florists or any other type of contractor not designated as an “official” contractor of services.

EXHIBITOR KIT (Exhibitor Services Manual): Booklet containing general show information, service order forms, show rules and regulations, and other information pertinent to an exhibitor's participation in an exposition.

FLATBED: Open sided trailer used to transport large equipment.

FLOOR PLAN: A map showing the layout of exhibit space.

FREIGHT DESK: At a show, handles inbound and outbound exhibit materials.

GENERAL SERVICE CONTRACTOR: The company hired by the trade association or sponsoring organization or a trade show to handle the overall coordination, freight logistics, sub-contracting of ancillary services, and decoration of the exhibit hall.

GROSS WEIGHT: The full weight of a shipment to include goods and packaging.

HOUSE CARRIER: Carriers promoted by the service contractor to handle transportation services for exhibitors at a respective trade show. Also known as Preferred Carrier or Primary Carrier.

I&D: An abbreviation for Installation and Dismantling.

I&D Houses: Companies that install and dismantle trade show exhibits.

INDEPENDENT SERVICE CONTRACTOR: Any company (other than the designated "official" contractors listed in the exhibitor service manual) providing a service (display installation and dismantling, models/demonstrators, florist, photographers, audiovisual, etc.) and needing access to an exhibit any time during installation, show dates, and/or dismantling.

INSTALLATION & DISMANTLING: The set-up and tear down of exhibits. Also known as I&D.

KIOSK: A small, freestanding structure, often inside a facility, where printed or electronic information is available.

LTL: An abbreviation for Less-than-Truckload. A quantity of freight less than required for the application of a truckload rate.

MARSHALLING YARD: A trailer yard or lot designated by the service contractor where all incoming and outgoing carriers report before and after pickups and deliveries at show site. The area functions as a trailer staging area throughout the duration of a trade show.

MATERIAL HANDLING: Term used for moving freight between the loading dock and an exhibitor’s booth.

MOVE-IN: Date(s) set for installation.

MOVE-OUT: Date(s) set for dismantling.

NMFC: An abbreviation for National Motor Freight Classification. A publication for motor carriers containing rules, descriptions, and ratings on all commodities moving in commerce.

NET WEIGHT: Weight of goods alone without any packing, packaging, pallet, etc.

OFFICIAL CONTRACTORS: Service organizations appointed by show management.

OS & D: An abbreviation for Over, Short, and Damage, which is usually discovered at shipment destination/unloading.

PALLET: A platform with or without sides, on which several items may be loaded to facilitate handling by a forklift.

PREFERRED CARRIER: Carriers promoted by the service contractor to handle transportation services for exhibitors at a respective tradeshow. Also known as House Carrier or Primary Carrier.

PRO NUMBER: A number issued to each shipment of freight by the carrier and used for tracking of the shipment to its destination and for any other reference to the shipment.

PROOF OF DELIVERY (POD): The delivery receipt copy of a freight bill by receiver at time delivery.

PUP: A short semi-trailer, approximately 28 feet in length, usually connected in tandem to another semi-trailer to create a twin trailer or a set of trailers.

RECONSIGNMENT: Changing the consignee or destination on a bill of lading while the shipment is still in transit.

SERVICE CONTRACTORS: Company that provides services to management and exhibitors.

SERVICE DESK: On-site location for ordering or reconfirming services provided by general service contractor and specialty contractors and where the contractor customer service personnel and transportation representatives are located.

SERVICE KIT: (See Exhibitor Kit)

SHOW BREAK: Time specified for the close of the exhibition and beginning of dismantling.

SHOW MANAGER: Person who manages the overall functions, arrangements, and logistics for a tradeshow. Also known as Exposition Manager, Show Organizer, and Show Producer.

SHOW OFFICE: On-site show management office.

SHRINK WRAP: Process of wrapping loose items on pallet with transparent plastic wrapping.

SKID: Wooden platform used to support machinery or a collection of objects for easier handling. Also, thick wood blocks attached to crates which allow forklift access for easier handling.

SPOTTING: Placement or "dropping" of a trailer by a carrier for loading or unloading.

TEARDOWN: The dismantling or disassembly of exhibits for removal from an exhibition hall following a tradeshow.

TERMINAL: Local “distribution” hub for common carriers’ freight.

THIRD PARTY VENDOR: Any company (other than designated "official" contractor) providing a service (such as display installation & dismantling) employed by the exhibitor. See Independent Service Contractor.

TL: An abbreviation for Truckload.  Also, FTL (full truckload).

VENUE: Site or location of an event.

W & I: An abbreviation for Weighing and Inspection.

WAYBILL: Description of goods sent with a common carrier freight shipment.