Gothenburg – 17 June 2015 –As the Volvo Ocean Race fleet approaches the final stopover of the round the world race in Gothenburg, GAC Pindar is on the verge of completing its own unique round the world challenge. When the Gothenburg race village opens to the public on June 21, it will mark the completion of a monumental two year logistics management programme for GAC Pindar.
Logistics planning for the Volvo Ocean Race began over a year in advance, with GAC & GAC Pindar employees travelling over 30, 000 miles to reacheach of the host ports to understand the specific challenges that each would present. Since then, GAC Pindar employees have worked over 21, 000 hours to ensure the completion of the logistics task. This involved the bump-in and bump-out at 11 host ports, the production of over 100 ATA Carnets for import and export customs and the storage of over $2, 500, 000 of spare boat parts at three locations around the world – Auckland, Dubai and Rotterdam – which had to be available for deployment at a moment’s notice.
With the Volvo Ocean Race incorporating seven teams across 11 host ports and 5 continents, there have inevitably been many issues for GAC Pindar to contend with to ensure the smooth completion of the race.
Dongfeng Race Team mast recovery
GAC Pindar were key in successfully getting the Dongfeng Race Team back in the race after their mast broke on 30th March, over 2000 nautical miles from the next stopover in Itajaί, Brazil. GAC Pindar had just 20 days to deliver the 28.6 metre, $345, 000 dollar mast toItajaί so that the team could start leg six to Newport.
Emergency delivery was arranged from GAC storage in Dubai to Amsterdam and then to Sao Paulo by specially designed Boing 747 Cargo Planes. The mast was then transported to Itajaί by anover-sized truck and arrived two days ahead of schedule, allowing the Dongfeng Race team to re-join the raceand maintain their podium position in the overall leaderboard.
Team Vestas Wind re-join the fleet
GAC Pindar was also instrumental in the return of Team Vestas Wind to the race in Lisbon, following their unfortunate incident in a shallow reef in the Cargados Carajos Shoals in Mauritius. This set in motion a monumental recovery operation involving multiple parties across the world with GAC Pindar at the core.
Initially, GAC Pindar redirected the various Team Vestas workshop containers that follow the team around the world to Genoa. This was then followed by organising the transport and customs clearance of salvaged boat materials from the reef to Genoa, to aid in the repair procedure.
Once the stricken boat arrived in Genoa, GAC Pindar Technical Manager Ollie Smith was present on the ground in Genoa to oversee customs clearance for the vessel and to organise the transfer onto Persico Marine boatyard in Bergamo, Italy where the boat was re-built.
Race village logistics
However, it is not just issues with the boats that have presented GAC Pindar with challenges. Each of the host ports have had their own unique complications to overcome in order for the race villages to be ready for the start of each race stopover. GAC Pindar has facilitated the transport of two identical race villages, which have leap-frogged each other around the world.
The Sanya race village bump in provided GAC Pindar with a particularly difficult logistics task. Sanya’s location meant that a total of five modes of transport were required to transport the race village from Cape Town in time – planes, container ships, ferries, trucks and a specially chartered barge.
The location of the Sanya stopover meant that the two container ships containing the race village could only go as far as Hong Kong. The only credible solution was to charter a barge to make the 60 hour trip down to Hainan Island on the southernmost tip of China. Truck bans from 6.30am – 9.30pm on Hanain Island further complicated efforts to transport the race village to its final location.
To transfer the race village from Sanya to Itajaί, 112 containers were shipped to Vietnam, then onto Malaysia and finally to Itajaί. In addition, 16 air freight containers had to be flown to Sao Paulo and then trucked the 500 miles to the race village siteto meet theimmovable race village deadline.
While the distances between stopovers drastically reduced once the race reached Europe, this didn’t make the logistics challenge any easier for GAC Pindar. The challenge shifted to staying ahead of the race boats themselves, so that each stopover port was ready for their arrival.
Once the race arrived in Europe, no air freight was possible creating a significant challenge with vast amounts of equipment needing to be transported long distances, to tight deadlines by road. The transfer of the race village from Lisbon to Lorient was particularly difficult, requiring triple manned trucks, to travel 900 miles in just 26 hours to meet the tight deadline.
GAC’s Gothenburg born and bred Group President Bengt Ekstrand says: “The end of the Volvo Ocean Race is both a triumph for the seven competing teams and its organisers, and a true testimony to the power of GAC, its partners and our global reach and resources. GAC Pindar worked tirelessly with GAC employees at each venue to ensure the delivery of everything needed, regardless of the challenges that arose. Watching the boats sail into Gothenburg will be a proud moment for everyone involved.”
Tom Touber, Volvo Ocean Race, Chief Operating Officer commented: “Being almost at the end of the Race, from all of us at the Volvo Ocean Race we’d like to thank the team at GAC Pindar. As our Race is life at the extreme we are always confronted with the unexpected. In those circumstances it is vital to have a logistical partner that is not only able to stick to their promise, but also able to change the promise swiftly and deliver the new one. Working with the professionals at GAC Pindar was a very good experience and a solid basis for mutual trust has been built between our operations team and the GAC Pindar logistics team. And if we have learned one lesson that is that the people we have worked with at GAC Pindar have made the difference.”
The Gothenburg race village, the final stopover of the 12th edition of the Volvo Ocean Race, opens on June 21. The fleet are expected to arrive from June 23, with a final in-port race taking place on June 27.To keep up-to-date with all the action from the Volvo Ocean Race visit http://volvooceanrace.com