This year, from June 17 to July 2, the national soccer teams will battle for victory for the tenth time at the FIFA Confederations Cup. The ‘Confed Cup’ tournament, which started in 2001, is the final organizational rehearsal for the World Cup. The Confed Cup takes place in the same country as the approaching World Cup; therefore, this year’s tournament is being held in Russia.
A final rehearsal for a sports event may sound a bit weird at first, but the World Cup, and similar events of this size, pose a special logistical challenge for organizers. The transportation of goals, TV equipment, lighting and sound systems, as well as their assembling and dismantling, need to be precisely planned and appropriately aligned. All transports have to be organized very carefully, including loading and unloading, the storage of the transport packaging, insurances and customs. Past experiences in event logistics have shown that challenges are lurking around every corner.
The event venue itself also plays an important role. The logistics expense varies strongly depending on the climate, infrastructure and the mentality of the responsible authorities in the host country.
Event logistics require extraordinary commitment
Depending on the venues’ conditions, new airports, railway stations and tracks may have to be built or modernized for the big soccer event.
In 2016, the European Championship, held in France, cost the country around 1.7 billion Euros to expand and build new soccer stadiums and infrastructure. The previous European Championships, held in Ukraine and Poland, are examples that underline the amount of effort needed from host countries to plan such an event. Originally, Poland´s expressway network was intended to be expanded by about 1118 miles, but plans were not implemented until the start of the event. Among other things, large areas of the route between Warsaw and Germany were not finished in time for the event.
In such cases of delays, smooth logistics processes are even harder to achieve. Efficient infrastructure is crucial for transports; therefore, appropriate access roads have to be planned in advance for events such as the European Championship or the Confed Cup. The space for loading and unloading activities as well as the storage areas for equipment and empty runs also need to be organized.
Flexibility is required
Despite the long-term planning involved in a huge event like the Confed Cup, short-term incidents can lead to logistical problems. For example, truck transports need to be organized so they run trouble-free, despite unexpected disturbances. If a truck is too early, too late or delivers a different load than expected, it will not only effect the processing of this particular truck, but the whole fleet, and perhaps, the punctuality of other aspects of the event. Therefore, the subsequent loading and unloading processes in event logistics will also be directly affected. This means, time slots for deliveries need to be planned realistically and decisions need to be made quickly when handling disruptions. For instance, tracking incoming trucks via geographic data helps identify the exact location of the trucks. This way, transparency of all deliveries and collections is increased. In addition, the use of time slot booking avoids the creation of peak times within delivery and collection.
By having an even distribution of deliveries throughout the day, congestions at the venue can be reduced; thereby enabling smooth event logistics processes. Flexible, real-time planning also allows minimized waiting times in inbound and outbound logistics, and the best use of the available resources on-site.
It is quickly apparent that there is a huge logistical challenge behind the scenes of an international sports event, as well as the need for tight organization. Besides international routes, the number of transports and conditions of every single event venue can complicate the logistical planning and its coordination. This is why the planning often starts years in advance. A successful event with smooth processes can only be achieved when different logistics areas work together harmoniously. Transparency allows detailed insights into the deliveries´ status or storage situation and the condition of transports at any time. However, there has to be enough flexibility in planning in order to offer a quick response. Unexpected changes to the original plan are daily occurrences in event logistics.
I hope it will be an interesting tournament for those watching in our readership and a trouble-free event for the host country!
What other logistical challenges are posed by international sports events?
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