TOPLINE The Olympics are symbolic of peace, solidarity and happiness where all the world will come together. This worldwide event, held every two years, requires a lot of preparation to ensure that everything will run smoothly. But at the very present – the booming pandemic period is regarded as the best test of global Logistics competence on the face of nightmares named the Olympics.
- The supplies and necessities for all athletes were packed on pallets and shipped to the host country Japan many months ago.
- In the context of the current epidemic, everywhere is imposing distance measures, restricting travel, making it difficult for teams to move to Tokyo.
- How careful are Japanese logistics in the process of planning and choosing a construction site?
What is in the container shipped to Tokyo?
The worldwide events not only gathers millions and millions athletes around the world but also billions and billions of other goods from daily items to sport equipment.
As normal, hundreds of containers to Tokyo, are packed with items as sheets, blankets, pillows and towels for daily uses of athletes and officials staying at the Olympic village, a set of 21 high-rise residential buildings in the centre of Tokyo. It is so funny to mention that recovery drinks and snack packs are indispensable items for most Olympic teams. Britain’s team, for example, has 45.000 teabags and 8.000 porridge pots in their container. Or even our Vietnam’s team also brings alongs a lot of instant noodles as “Hao Hao” to serve athletes in case of not being favorite with the host country’s taste.
Then, it is unforgettable to list high-performance sport equipment such as boats, canoes, oars, surfboards and bikes, which take up a lot of space. And many billions of other items such as balls, rackets, gloves – name a sport and other related specialized equipment.
Especially, first introduced in the Olympics category: Covid-19 related items. More than 3 million disposable masks, aprons and shoe covers had been sent, along with megalitres of alcohol sprays and hand sanitizers. Most delegations stacked pallets in containers months ago, as if playing a Tetris game. The Brazillian teams shipped more than 20 containers early in April. The British team sent its gear even earlier in February, according to CNA.
As we know, 3 percent of costs and more than 70 percent of problems in transportation take place in the “last mile”, the few kilometers moving products from the delivery company’s warehouse to the final destination, especially in the pandemic. Hence, this huge last mile delivery requires a lot of effort from Logistics agencies around the world.
A nightmare named for Journey to Olympics Tokyo 2020
Only a surge in demand for masks or hand sanitisers also can cause a great burden on global Logistics or even a disruption on the global supply chain. However, global shipping only faces the real hurdle when over 10.000 athletes from 200 countries, plus their coaching and support staff, moves to Tokyo over 16 days during a pandemic. With increasing travel restrictions, numerous teams announced that their travel plans would be much less direct in the past.
Let’s take a look at Sri Lankan’s journey to Tokyo Olympics 2020. Under normal conditions, the Sri Lankan teams would have taken a transit flight through Singapore and then to Tokyo. But Sri Lankan, an island to the south of India with averaging almost 2.000 Covid-19 cases a day, is on many countries’ banned lists, including Singapore. This country does not allow anyone with a recent travel history to even transit through the city-state, reported Fortune.
In that event, Sri Lankan teams consisting of athletes of 10 disciplines from badminton, judo to archery were booked on Qatar Airways via Doha, according to the National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka President, Suresh Subramaniam. And the team also planned a back-up plight on Srilankan Airlines, in case of changes.
And even the odds-on favourite for the women’s 100 meters, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Prycer, can not be fast enough to escape from this nightmare wave. She had experienced a labyrinth of connecting flights, layovers and paperwork just to get to Tokyo. “I have a Jamanican passport so it’s even more challenging for me to travel”, the two-time Olympic champion shared.
The first time, the phrases “journey to the Olympics” or “path to the Games” were no longer something of fascination and success, but “a logistical nightmare” for many athletes. The long journey with a lot of transiting points makes athletes exhausted and depressed, or even affecting their training schedules.
How has the Japanese Logistics industry been playing the game?
In the face of many challenges, let’s see how Japanese have been playing this game. Firstly, the location of Olympic village, which is appreciated as meticulously organized, is about 18 km from the airport, 7 km from the Port of Tokyo, and 35 km from the Port of Yokohama, where most of the equipment will land.
There are 28 Olympic venues within 10 km of the village, including the Japan National Stadium. There are 14 other venues further away. The golf competition at the Kasumigaseki Country Club, for example, is 70 km away, a trip that would normally take up three hours by road, reported CNA.
Then, in response to a huge number of athletes, officials, Japan has called for a collaboration of many stakeholders. An elaborate transportation system has been shaped to make sure everything can run smoothly as much as possible. A system of 2.200 coach buses and 2.700 fleet cars were gathered to shuttle a large number of people around the city on dedicated Olympic traffic lanes. These buses are sourced from 600 different bus companies across the country, and training has already been completed.
“If you fail to prepare, you’ve prepared to fail”
This saying belongs to Mark Spitz, an American swimmer, who won nine gold Olympics medals and set seven world records. Looking at what is happening in the Olympics Tokyo 2020, we can see how determined and meticulous the host-country, Japan, prepared for this worldwide sporting event. The government’s Olympic Minister, Seiko Hashimoto, said Tokyo 2020 will be held in 2021 at “any cost”. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has also vowed the Games will go ahead. And they won the game!
What will be next?
Although the Olympics is taking place successfully, pulling off Tokyo as the Olympics Tokyo ends is also a big headache for logisticians and supply managers. And in the period of booming Delta cases over the world, movement is not just moving from point A to point B, but also how to keep athletes safe from the attack of new delta variants.
However, the success of Olympics Tokyo 2020 is a strong proof that many worldwide sporting events are completely able to take place despite the pandemic. And now Paris and Los Angeles are already running a race of planning and preparation for the projects of future 2024 and 2048 games which will be held in those respective cities.