FIFA World Cup 2018 and the logistics

FIFA World Cup 2018 and the logistics

About every four years, there is a virus circulating for a while. It is called the World Cup virus. It definitely broke out globally with the opening ceremony of the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia on 14th July. The national teams of 32 countries take part in the contest for the trophee that will be bestowed after the final in the Luzhniki-stadium of Moscow on 15th July. The terrific number of 81.000 spectators fits into this stadium. The smallest, in comparison, of all stadiums used during the World Cup is placed in Kaliningrad and has space for 35.000 people. A detailed ground attendance will be published only after the event, of course. But if you sum up the capacities of all the stadia, you reach a visitor number as high as 582.000. It surely is reduced by empty seats here and there, but dramatically increased again by the fact that some of the stadia host several matches.

Many, many people, one can say, who visit the tournament, domestic as well as international visitors. People who stay somewhere, who travel from one place to the other. Who consume foods and beverages at and around the venues, buy fan merchandise presented by the FIFA or by sport-related companies and take souvenirs home. And who also – unfortunately – produce and leave behind a lot of rubbish. Added to this, there are the teams themselves that travel from one site to the next, with the players, the substitutes, trainers, consultants, physicians, physiotherapists, cooks, clothes and all sort of equipment. The World Cup 2018 in Russia is staged in twelve different stadia. And the distances between them are tremendous. To get from the most western one in Kaliningrad on the Baltic Sea to the most eastern one in Yekaterinburg beyond the Ural Mountains, one has to travel 2482 kilometres. Between the most northern one in St. Petersburg on the Gulf of Finland and the most southern one in Sotchi on the Black Sea the distance is 1925 kilometres. Right down the way, such a World Cup is a gigantic apparatus of logistic services which in the end allows a smooth procedure.

The costs for planning, organising and realizing the World Cup go into the billions. And it seems that every four years more money is taken in hand and spent for the event in order to make it a real spectacle. After all, pretty much every host country pledges to present the best, the most beautiful, most impressive World Cup ever seen, outclassing the predecessors. Nobody economizes on superlatives. The money in circulation in the course of a World Cup is not only invested in building and modernising stadia, of course, but also goes to companies that from start to finish mount the whole organisation and realization, especially in the field of event and transport logistics.

The national team of Germany lost and is no longer part of the World Cup. German companies, however, have been involved from the beginning on and still take part in this raffle. According to the Head of External Trade from the Germany Chamber of Industry and Commerce, around forty companies are registered that have received additional orders through the FIFA World Cup in Russia. Most of them are technical, construction and logistics companies that have been active in topics of infrastructure and logistics. These additional orders have an estimated volume of two to three billion euros. Some companies advertise with special World Cup-packages and provide their clients comprehensive offers for transportation and logistics solutions in and around the host cities.

Russia itself invested about 3,8 billion euros in projects for upgrading the infrastructure and transportation system. Priority took the modernization and expansion of airports and the extension of the road network which, especially in rural areas, is supposed to connect the regions and contributes to long term economic developments. Furthermore, logistic solutions for handling the masses of passengers in the air and on the road were drawn up on communal and federal level. The three megacities with a metro, that is Moscow, St. Petersburg and Kazan, expect a plus of fifty to eighty thousand fans and World Cup tourists that encumber the daily stream of passengers. In other cities, the local bus system has to cope with the increased passenger volume. Special shuttle services have been set up as well. The FIFA has detailed traffic management concepts at its disposal, which had their positive effect in the last years in Germany, South Africa and Brazil. This time they were implemented in Russia. With the big difference that Russia is about 48 times bigger than for example Germany and thus every planning of logistics, transportation and traffic, be it passenger or material transport, is lifted to another level and takes on an enormous scale. It definitely is a challenge for Russia that can make the country grow and prosper.
This is to be mastered once more in four years, 2022 in Qatar - with new premises and new logistic challenges.