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Marshalling Yard Do’s & Don’ts

Marshalling Yard Do's and Don'ts

A marshalling yard is vital to trade shows, especially when dealing with large shows that fill more than one convention center or space. If you are unfamiliar with the functions of a marshalling yard, they handle the check-in, check-out, weighing and dispatching of trucks coming in and going out of a trade show.

Convention facilities have a limited number of dock spaces to unload/load FreightConvention facilities have a limited number of dock spaces to unload/load freight. The marshalling yard keeps track of the freight dock doors and dispatches trucks for unloading/loading in the order they arrived and checked-in. This keeps the facility and the surrounding streets clear of truck traffic and maintains an orderly flow of freight.

One thing to be certain of is the type of carrier you hire to transport your freight. Procedures for freight delivery to trade shows is different from standard delivery. Having an educated, or uneducated freight carrier for that matter, could make a huge difference in the level of service you receive.



Bill of Lading Exampleimage source

Do provide paperwork (bill of lading (BOL’s), certified weight tickets, target move-in and/or move-out information), your 24/7 on site contact name and phone number, any hired contractor(s) name and phone numbers, hall location and booth number to your driver for a smoother move-in.

Do inform your carrier of the limited facilities available at the marshalling yard. Some do not have food readily available and are not within walking distance of any. Upon the driver’s check-in, the driver should not leave the marshalling yard, or they risk missing their dispatch call. This will delay the delivery of your freight.  The driver should be equipped to stay in the yard for an extended period.


Do inform your driver of the targeted check-in time vs. freight unload time. There is usually a waiting period in between the two. The more advanced information your driver has, the better prepared he is to handle the situation, and the more prepared you will be for any wait time applied to your transportation bill.

Do inform your driver that most marshalling yards require a lightweight ticket (re-weigh after delivery), in addition to a heavyweight ticket upon arrival (weight with all freight on the truck).  It is possible that you will be charged the full weight of the truck as drayage, if your driver fails to go back over the scale for a lightweight.

Do tell your driver to pay attention to his cell phone while in the marshalling yard. This is how the marshalling yard contacts the driver to move ahead in the dispatch line for loading/unloading.



Do not have your driver check in any earlier than the published move-in time or assigned target date unless you have received an early delivery approval per the instructions in your show manual. You need to ensure your driver has the correct delivery day, time, and check-in address.

Do not instruct your driver to leave the yard for any reason once they are checked-in. The driver will have to go back over the scale and get back in line if they leave. This could cause additional wait fees for you.

Do not send your driver to the marshalling yard without the proper paperwork (certified weight tickets, bills of lading (BOL’s) clearly stating freight type, itemized piece weights, facility address, and booth number). There will be a delay in check-in without all the required information.

Remember, knowledge is key to maintaining control of your shipping costs. Make sure your carrier is trade show savvy and knows delivery procedures. If you are unsure of any of the information provided in your show kit, contact your general contractor for more information.

Want to learn more about shipping?  Continue to A Guide to Trade Show Shipping, Freight & Material Handling.