There are only a few days to go until the Olympic flame is lit at the Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium, marking the official start of the 23rd Winter Olympics. For fans of the Swiss athletes, the starting pistol for the winter sports highlight of 2018 – for the team at DB SCHENKERsportsevents, meanwhile, the closing act of a logistical feat. But there is still plenty to do beforehand.
Preparations underway since November
The first ocean freight containers of materials and equipment were loaded for the journey to South Korea in November, working closely with the twelve-member logistics team from Swiss Olympic. With a delegation of more than 400, Switzerland will be one of the largest national teams in Korea. The freight takes around five weeks to reach its destination. Sixty slalom poles, 200 kg of muesli and around 1,000 litres of the Swiss national drink Rivella are just some of the items that the Swiss athletes will not have to forego when competing. "We have been kept on our toes, especially by the very complex customs formalities for the medical equipment," laughs Christian Bolfing, head of the Sportsevents team at DB Schenker in Zurich. Bolfing has been coordinating transport and logistics in Korea for Swiss Olympic since mid-January.
End in sight
The imposing Alpensia Sliding Centre, which Swiss bobsleigh pilots will soon be navigating at high speed, has already been finished on schedule in typical South Korean fashion. Meanwhile, the bobs of the Swiss Olympians are still awaiting their finishing touches in Pfungen, Zurich. To ensure the last of the race equipment arrives in time, the two-seater and four-seater bobs are being sent by air freight in specially made containers. "Everyone is in overdrive during the Summer and Winter Olympics," says David Wechsler, Project Manager Sports Events at Schenker in Zurich. "The days leading up to the Olympic Games are intense. But as soon as I see our athletes in qualification at the starting gates with the equipment intact, it all feels worthwhile."
Schenker Switzerland wishes the Swiss Olympic Team good luck and hopes to help them bring some medals home.