May 17, 2020

The logistics behind the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics

Supply Chain Digital
Supply Chain
supply chain news
Freddie Pierce
4 min
Logistics is key to winning
Provided be Wasp Barcode Technologies In another month, the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics shall begin. Teams from around the world are training vigorously...

Provided be Wasp Barcode Technologies

In another month, the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics shall begin. Teams from around the world are training vigorously in the hopes of bringing home the glory and the gold medal in their chosen sporting venue. There will be 17 days of winter events and 9 days of Paralympic games as a full house of spectators fills every seat in the 75,000 capacity Sochi Olympic Park.

What has held everyone's attention is the enormous amount of money spent to host the games in Russia. An estimated $51 billion has been spent on the Sochi Winter Olympics -- making it one of the costliest Olympics in history. It is reported that $6 billion went toward Olympic-related expenses, and $8.7 billion was spent completing the road and rail infrastructure to transport spectators, the media, volunteers, workers, the Olympic athletes, and the athletes' families. Yet, one thing that falls short in gaining the public's attention is the cost and manpower spent hauling all of the Olympic equipment and goods to the games.

A Massive Logistical Undertaking Going On Behind The Scenes Of The Winter Olympics

From a logistical standpoint, the Winter Olympics is one of the largest freight and shipping nightmares to happen on a global scale. There will be packages, parcels, and pallets of goods shipped from other countries to one central location -- en masse -- for the athletes, spectators, media representatives, and workers. These goods will be shipped by sea, air, rail, and land as all transportation routes will be monitored by the Federal Customs Service and managed by the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee.

Types of eligible goods coming in by freight include:

  • sports equipment for training and competition
  • sports firearms and ammunition
  • professional broadcast and press equipment
  • hospitality goods
  • medicines and medical equipment
  • computer equipment
  • portable radio sets
  • marketing materials
  • gifts
  • awards
  • give-away items

There is no quantity limit imposed for the amount of goods that can be shipped for the 2014 Sochi Olympics. So, the true logistical numbers won't be available until after the Olympics have ended. Yet, keep the following factors in mind:

1: There will be more than 5,500 athletes and team members attending.

2: There will be over 1,350 paralympic athletes and team members attending.

3: There will be 25,000 volunteers helping out with the Olympic games.

4: There will be over 12,000 media representatives from all over the world broadcasting the games to an expected 3 billion television viewers.

Each and every person will need some piece of equipment or good to play their Olympic sport, broadcast the games, or prepare the games to be played. For every piece of equipment to be used, there will be a certain amount of extra equipment in case the original piece is faulty or damaged -  all during the 17 days of the Winter Olympics. For every spectator, media representative, athlete, athlete's family member, and volunteer there will be the appropriate amount of hospitality goods for their stay in Sochi, food goods, and medical goods available.

The logistical numbers for shipped freight will be staggering. To handle such a massive undertaking, the 2014 Sochi Organizing Committee has appointed an official freight forwarder for every avenue of freight access to Sochi to ensure all goods are transported efficiently.

  • Aeroflot is the official airlines to be used as a cargo freight carrier
  • Russian Railways (RZhd) will be the official freight services provider as it can carry over 1.1 billion tons of freight annually

Once all goods and equipment clear through customs, the freight will be loaded on the Russian Railways train and shipped to one of two distribution centers based on the type of freight. The main distribution center has 2,700 square meters of space to house all Olympic game-related goods. This distribution center will be the central hub of all Olympic's logistics operations. The IBC warehouse has 8,400 square meters of warehouse space as it will house all broadcasting equipment. The IBC warehouse will be the main freight operations center for broadcasters.

From these two distribution centers, all the freight will be organized and available for use at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics. Shipping documents must accompany every piece of freight as it will then be shipped to the final venue of destination. Every freight forwarder used will need a delivery manifest and can only deliver goods within a specified delivery window to ensure the maximum security measures are taken at every venue.

Managing the large amount of freight for the Olympic games won't go without a hitch. Problems are bound to arise simply because of the sheer amount of freight passing through Sochi. With all logistical operations already in place, hopefully the number of issues are reduced for the 2014 Winter Olympics to efficiently function with all the goods and equipment needed to play these competitive sports.

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Jun 8, 2021

DHL Claim Multi-Sector Collaboration Key to Fighting COVID

3 min
Global logistics leader DHL’s new white paper highlights what supply chain professionals have learned one year into the pandemic

Since January, global logistics leader DHL has distributed more than 200 million doses of the COVID vaccine to 120+ countries around the globe. While the US and UK recently rolled out immunisation plans to most citizens, countries with less developed infrastructure still desperately need more doses. In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which currently has one of the highest per-capita immunisation rates, the government set up storage facilities to cover domestic and international demand. But storage, as we’ve learned, is little help if you can’t transport the goods.


This is where logistics leaders such as DHL make their impact. The company built over 50 new partnerships, bilateral and multilateral, to collaborate with pharmaceutical and private sector firms. With more than 350 DHL centres pressed into service, the group operated 9,000+ flights to ship the vaccine where it needed to go. 


Public-Private Partnerships

With new pandemic knowledge, DHL just released its “Revisiting Pandemic Resilience” white paper, which examined the role of logistics and supply chain companies in handling COVID-19. As Thomas Ellman, Head of Clinical Trials Logistics at DHL, said: “The past one year has highlighted the importance of logistics and supply chain management to manage the pandemic, ensure business continuity and protect public health. It has also shown us that together we are stronger”. 


Multisector partnerships, DHL said, enabled rapid, effective vaccine distribution. While international scientists developed a vaccine in record time—five times faster than any other vaccine in history—manufacturers ramped up production and logistics teams rolled out distribution three times faster than expected. When commercial routes faced backups, logistics operators worked with military officers to transport vaccines via helicopters and boats. 


In the UAE, the public-private HOPE Consortium distributed billions of COVID-19 doses to its civilians as well as other countries in need by partnering with commercial organisations such as DHL. For the first time, apropo for an unprecedented pandemic, logistics companies made strong connections with public health and government.


“While the race against the virus continues, leveraging the power of such collaborations and data analytics will be key”, said Katja Busch, Chief Commercial Officer DHL and Head of DHL Customer Solutions & Innovation. “We need to remain prepared for high patient and vaccine volumes, maintain logistics infrastructure and capacity, while planning for seasonal fluctuations by providing a stable and well-equipped platform for the years to come”. 


How Do We Sustain Immunisation? 

By the end of 2021, experts estimate that we need approximately 10 billion doses of vaccines—many of which will be shipped to areas of the world, such as India, South Africa, and Brazil, that lack significant infrastructure. This is perhaps the greatest divide between countries that have rolled out successful immunisation programmes and those that have not. As Busch noted, “the UAE’s significant investments in creating robust air, sea, and land infrastructure facilitated logistics and vaccine distribution, helping us keep supply chains resilient”. 


Neither is the novel coronavirus a one-time affair. If predictions hold, COVID will be similar to seasonal colds or the flu: here to stay. When fall comes around each year, governments will need to vaccinate the world as quickly as possible to ensure long-term immunisation against the virus. This time, logistics companies must be better prepared. 

Yet global immunisation, year after year, is no small order. To keep reinfection rates low and slow the spread of COVID, governments will likely need 7-9 billion annual doses of the vaccine to meet that mark. And if DHL’s white paper is any judge of success, multi-sector supply chain partnerships will set the gold standard.

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