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The Logistics Behind the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics

February 08, 2014

The 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics have begun.

Teams from around the world have trained 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.

Logistics vital for Sochi Winter Olympics 2014

The 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, which start today (7-23 February), have seen a huge logistical effort to ensure pallets and packages were transported from countries all over the world to one central location.

The goods which were shipped by sea, air, rail and road, were managed by the Federal Customs Service and Sochi 2014 organising committee.

Source: Lucy Smith, Lloyd’s Loading List

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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    Construction of the Olympic facilities began in 2007, with the main Olympic Park located in the coastal city of Sochi. The park included several competition venues, including the Fisht Olympic Stadium, which hosted the opening and closing ceremonies, as well as the Bolshoy Ice Dome and the Iceberg Skating Palace. Other venues, such as the Rosa Khutor Alpine Resort and the Laura Cross-Country Ski and Biathlon Center, were located in the nearby mountains. I also love to collect Pokemon cards (like golden Pikachu card) is my favorite. 

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