Event Industry News often talks about the production builds involved with events and the on-site issues faced by organisers.
However, without the specialist logistics and trucking companies who help to transport the hardware, these events could not even take place.
Companies and individuals that specialise in event logistics require an understanding of the nature of business they are working in and how that affects the work they undertake. Drivers need to be prepared to drive in the middle of the night, at weekends and also as part of a double manned team, whilst the logistics planners need to have not just plan A and B, but C, D, E and F in order to make sure that pick ups and drop offs are completed on time.
Agility Logistics have operated a specialist events & fairs division since the early 1900’s, helping some of the world’s biggest brands to transport equipment across the globe for conferences, trade fairs and major events. Andrew Bates is a Key Account Coordinator for the company and spoke to Event Industry News about the type of people they work with.
“As a specialised freight forwarder we utilise road, air and sea to move our clients equipment. We have partner trucking companies and drivers that also specialise in the events industry as they have a better understanding of the industry and how to work within it.”
Discussing the role of the drivers that they utilise for road transport, Andrew explains that their role can be very different from your average long distance trucker.
“With respect to other HGV drivers, hauling a load of groceries for a supermarket is vastly different to taking a full trailer of AV equipment or back line concert equipment across Europe. The drivers who work with us understand the value of both the equipment and its critical importance to the event itself. Drivers are expected to supervise the loading and unloading of their truck in conjunction with the crew. On a tour, a driver and his truck will assume responsibility for the same load at every stage, ensuring continuity in how the load is packed and unpacked.”
Using both trucking companies and drivers that specialise in the events industry is not just down to their experience, explains Andrews. There are some important factors that production companies and organisers should bear in mind when sourcing a contractor to carry out this work.
“It has to be highlighted that the insurance differs greatly, which is then reflected on the price a production company or organiser is quoted. The UK haulage industry has been impacted by the increase of cheaper alternatives coming from Eastern Europe. However, whilst there is nothing to suggest that the drivers or vehicles are sub-standard, it is fair to say that they don’t experience the same level of scrutiny as far as their insurance and licenses are concerned and the ability to speak to them in English is vastly reduced. When it comes to hauling event related equipment, production companies and organisers should ensure that their chosen contractor has both the experience and the correct paperwork to back them up.”
As with other aspects of organising events, the technology used to plan event haulage has also moved on considerably. Along with some of the other specialists, Agility now use purpose built software to load-plan trucks and containers, allowing them to pack equipment in the safest and most efficient way.
“How a truck, container or aircraft pallet is packed affects both the safety of the load and the overall cost of transportation. It’s common sense that by getting more in to a truck or container then you’ll save money on the total cost, but it’s also vital that we can calculate total packed weights to ensure safe transit.”
Having dealt with all the complications of getting the equipment to the venue on time, logistics companies can still experience issues if they are not kept up to speed with any on site changes.
“It’s vital that organisers keep us informed of any changes to venues, especially due to the size of the vehicles we are dealing with. Some events allow us to leave trailers on site so that the truck itself can be deployed elsewhere. We’ve had instances where this has changed but not been relayed to us. As some events grow, the space for moving trucks has also been reduced, which has caused issues. It’s important that organisers let us see detailed site plans ahead of the event so that we can plan exactly how our trucks can load, unload and, crucially, manoeuvre.”
Category: Event Production Features and Advice