The logistics behind the 2014 Sochi 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.

Source: Author: Joseph Wilkes. Date: 5 FEB 2014