Logistics terminology is a language all its own. Even if you have shipped dozens of times, memorizing all the lingo of the industry can be daunting.

Since trade shows, expos, and special events shipping is the most important part of any event (without merchandise or a booth, there is no show), Transit Air Cargo has compiled a list of the most commonly used terms. TAC’s goal is to provide you with a better understanding of not only these terms but the industry as a whole.


Advance Order

An order for services sent to a service contractor prior to installation date. Contractors will usually discount service rates if they are ordered prior to this cut-off date

Advanced Receiving

A warehouse Location set by the General Contractor to receive freight before the start of a show. Freight is stored at the provided location and then shipped to the exhibit’s venue at the appropriate time.


Bill of Lading [B/L]

A document establishing terms, between a shipper and transportation company for transit of merchandise between specified points, for a specified charge.

Blanket Wrap

Uncrated merchandise covered with blankets or other protective padding and shipped by van line. Also called “Pad Wrap.”


Storage area at show site for empty crates and contractor materials.



Certified Trade Show Manager.

Canadian Customs Invoice

A Canada Customs Invoice is a form or document, required by Canadian Customs officials to verify the value, quantity, and nature of the shipment, describing the shipment of goods and showing information such as the consignor, consignee, and the value of the shipment.


A skilled worker employed to uncrate, install, dismantle and re-crate exhibit properties.

Commercial Invoice

The commercial invoice is the official document used to communicate between an exporter and importer. The purpose is to document and communicate the origin, contents, HTS codes and commercial value of a shipment. A commercial invoice is required to contain specific information. Transit Air Cargo has provided a blank commercial invoice for your use. If you have a company commercial invoice, we are happy to review it to make sure it includes the required information.

Common Carrier

A transportation company that moves people or goods. For exhibit freight, the carrier usually accepts only crated materials and consolidates properties of several customers into one shipment bound for the same location. They ship through a hub and spoke system designed to efficiently move product freight.

Customs Power of Attorney

A Customs broker must have a valid power of attorney on file for the principal party in order to process your customs entry.


Declared Value

A shipper’s stated major currency value for a shipment’s contents.

DIM Weight

Length x Width x Height divided by 194 for domestic shipments; or divided by 166 for international shipments.


Movement of show materials from a shipping dock to a booth for exhibit set-up, then back to the dock for return shipment, at the end of the exhibition.


Exhibit Appointed Contractor

A person or company hired by an exhibitor to perform trade show services independently of show management-appointed contractors:  Shippers, I&D companies and other rental companies.


Forced Freight

Exhibit materials left on the trade show floor past the designated time set by show management for carriers to check in. Shipping materials past the deadline are redirected or “forced” to a pre-assigned carrier who is then responsible for carrying out the terms of the original carrier’s bill of lading.

Freight Forwarder

A paid contractor who handles shipments, and may also act as a carrier or consolidator.


Labor Call

(1) Method of securing union workers.
(2) Specified time for labor to report (such as an 8 a.m. call).
(3) Minimum amount for which labor must be paid.

Less Than a Truckload [LTL]

Rate charged for freight weighing less than the minimum weight per truckload.


Marshaling Yard

A yard or lot where trucks gather for orderly dispatch to a trade show site.

Material Handling Agreement [MHA]

Agreement between a trade show exhibitor and General Contractor for post-show movement of exhibit materials from their booth space to a loading dock which specifies the exhibitor’s carrier and what to do with exhibit freight, in the event that the designated carrier does not arrived before the preset time deadline.


Official Contractor

Trade show management appointed company that provides services to a trade show and/or its exhibitors. Also called General Contractor.


Pipe & Drape

Tubing covered with draping fabric to dress up the rails and back wall of a trade show exhibit.

Power of Attorney

A legal instrument authorizing one to act as the attorney or agent of the grantor

Power of Attorney authorizes Transit Air Cargo, Inc., the Forwarding Agent, to act for and on its behalf as a true and lawful agent and attorney of the U.S. Principal Party (client).


Security Cages

Cages provided to trade show exhibitors for securing materials. Transit Air Cargo provides Trans-Shield containers for this purpose.

Service Desk

The location where trade show exhibitors are able to order services from show contractors at the show site.

Service Kit

A packet of trade show related information and order forms provided to exhibitors by show management. This is also called Exhibitor Kit or Exhibitor Prospectus.

Shippers Export Declaration

The Shippers Export Declaration is used by the U.S. Census Bureau for compiling the official U.S. export statistics for the United States and for export control purposes. The “S.E.D.” is generally only required for shipments exceeding $2,500.00 in commercial value. Exhibit Transport will help you determine whether or not an S.E.D. is needed, and will process it on your behalf by completing your AES Filing electronically.

Show Decorator

A person, or company, responsible for providing draping, carpeting and signage for the trade show and its exhibitors.


A low, wooden frame that supports heavy objects, or groups of materials, for easier handling and transit. Usually used as a platform for objects moved by forklift. Also called a Pallet.

Special Handling

This applies to exhibit shipments that require extra labor, equipment, or time to delivery to a trade show.  This includes small packages, stacked and pad wrapped freight.


Transit Air Cargo’s Terms and Conditions

These are the general terms and conditions of doing business with Transit Air Cargo. The client is assumed to agree to these terms and conditions. unless otherwise documented and agreed upon.


Union Steward

As on on-site labor official, this person is elected by coworkers to oversee a particular union’s work in a facility, and to resolve any disputes over labor jurisdiction. Also known as a Shop Steward.



“Value Added Tax” is a state levy that has been added to the overall price of a product, reflecting its value added to the product by processing.



“Waybill” is a document issued by a carrier giving details and instructions pertaining to shipment of a consignment of goods. Typically a waybill will show names of the consignor and consignee; the point of origin of the consignment; its destination route and method of shipment; and the amount charged for carriage. Unlike a Bill of Lading/AWB, which includes much of the same data, a waybill is not contractual agreement.