Rock-it Global keeps the party moving
TIACA Air Cargo Forum 2022
in Freight Forwarders, Specialty Cargo
by Ashley Mowreader
MIAMI — Looking up at the stage at a music festival, the average attendee might not think about how far that set piece has traveled, how large the chartered freighter was or where the next customs declaration is going so the artist can continue performing on their world tour.
But freight forwarding group Rock-it Global has thought about it for over 40 years, and they’ve got it taken care of. The company specializes in live event forwarding, what it affectionately calls “sexy freight,” Ken Ying, vice president of marketing for parent company GCL, told Air Cargo World. The forwarder moves all types of events — from car, film and TV tradeshows to sporting events, live music and theater.
Whether it’s watches, gold statues, a million-dollar bra or a towering barricade set piece, Rock-It Global made it its mission to move freight to any destination and secure the necessary capacity to keep artists’ shows on the road.
Strumming the right chord
The biggest challenge with live event forwarding is time and space, said Michael Skinner, business development head at Rock-it Global.
Some artists have unique pieces that won’t fit into a box — like a statue or DJ booth — creating challenges for the forwarder to package and ship the freight. Artists will also stop at a smaller city on a tour, which impacts transportation logistics as well, Skinner said.
Creating a touring schedule can be a collaborative experience, he said. Artists will call the freight forwarder and talk through their tour destinations and establish a timeline that works with the transportation.
“I just had an artist send me next year’s route for me to put the dates in before each are selling out,” he said. Other artists, however, sell out shows and ask Rock-it Global to “make it happen” Skinner added.
The COVID-19 pandemic created some challenges for the forwarder’s business, but the company stayed busy helping artists move back home.
This year,concerts and other live events have resumed in a pre-pandemic model and have even picked up.
“A lot of things were delayed or postponed, and [events] all just started happening kind of all at once again,” Ying said.
Pre-pandemic, equipment was moved seasonally, according to Skinner. When it was summer in Europe, rentals moved north, and when summer happened in Latin America, rentals followed. Now, “everything’s happening everywhere,” he added.
“We’re fortunate that we can keep up the pace, but there’s stuff like equipment rentals, audio and video that are actually running out before we do,” Skinner said. “As long as the artist still sells, we’re moving them.”
Rock-it Global is drumming up business in the South American market as the world engages with more Latin artists, Skinner noted. The company will open an operations office in Miami in the next year.
Not all locations are glamorous, and there are very few places you can’t find the forwarder’s representatives and partners, Skinner said, adding, “We accept the challenge of going to whatever hole-in-the-wall place an artist goes to.”