A few weeks ago, the Finnish Olympic and Paralympic Teams’ container started its journey towards Tokyo on a cargo ship, and I got to wave it goodbye together with YLE’s camera crew.
The 12-metre-long container held for example a cold pool, coffee made in Finland, bicycles, Olympic-themed board games, and face masks – all goods that might be hard to obtain on-site, and which will help the athletes participating in the Tokyo Summer Olympics and subsequent Paralympics to enjoy their time in the Athletes’ Village.
The Finnish Olympic Sailors’ maintenance equipment container was also sent towards Japan, but its starting point was Spain. From there it will first go to Yokohama harbour and after that to the venue for the sailing competition, Enoshima Yacht Harbour.
Some people might wonder why we sent a container from Finland to Japan as early as 100 days before the games commence, when sea freight to Tokyo only takes 45 days from Finland. The reason is simple: in a project of this magnitude, both the Finnish Olympic Committee and we want to play it safe. We are proud to be the Olympic Team’s partner in freight services and forwarding – and being on time is a matter of honour for us.
Recapping the freight and schedules
For things to work out in a unique project like this, planning with the customer starts well in advance. We held meetings with the Finnish Olympic Committee, exchanged emails and discussed issues over the phone since the beginning of the year.
We reviewed the timetables and the content of the cargo on several occasions, but already at the first meeting it became clear how to act locally. At these games, the Tokyo Olympic Games organiser has taken over the delivery of the incoming containers from the port to the Athletes’ Village, while in some other tournaments we have handled this stage.
During the spring, we took care of preparations on our side. We contacted the shipping company and made an advance reservation for the container – in order to secure the desired departure date. We planned how to get the goods to our warehouse well in advance for intermediate storage, and in what order goods secured to pallets and separate goods would be loaded into the container. We made sure that there were no forbidden items amongst the goods, like meat, for example.
We arranged for a trusted partner to deal with the cargo reception and handle customs duties in Japan. We took care of all these issues in Finland. The coffee and porridge, for example, were sent as final exports, which means that they will be consumed in Japan, and not brought back to Finland.
The other goods were sent as temporary exports, which will be returned to Finland in due time. All the other goods apart from the maintenance equipment will remain in Japan until 2022, as the goods will be used by athletes during the Peking Winter Olympics and Paralympics as well. Due to the exceptional circumstances, one container will provide goods for many games, because the coronavirus “organised” the games during successive years.
Freights are proceeding as planned
In the beginning of this blog, I described waving goodbye to the container. At that moment, I felt calm and happy, because everything had gone smoothly, and the freight’s journey started advancing in our planned logistics chain.
Now the freight’s first stop in Rotterdam is behind us and the container is continuing its journey on a larger cargo ship, until it will be loaded on a smaller ship in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
What’s in store once the container arrives at its destination? We will tell you about that next time.
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