Setting up shop

Setting up shop

The Volvo Ocean Race fleet has completed its Cape Town stopover, but, while the sailing world’s eyes were on the seven boats, GAC Pindar has been working hard to tackle its own logistical challenge …

First up, the global integrated shipping, logistics and marine services provider had to ensure that the Cape Town race village was ready on time. Second, as the official logistics provider for the Volvo Ocean Race, GAC Pindar’s role includes the logistics and customs clearance of each race village in each port.

A few hiccups occurred in the first port, however, as Wikus van Jaarsveld, Cape Town project manager, from GAC Laser, explains: “Cape Town is the first port stopover for the second race village (two identical race villages leapfrog each other across the globe) so everything arrived separately. It’ll be easier with everything in one place for our bump out, and at the next port, but we’ve had to deal with multiple deliveries that complicated the operation.”

He notes that, in addition, two sections of the race village weren’t due to arrive in time for the immovable November 1 deadline. “We needed to collect these containers from Port Elizabeth and Durban and truck them to Cape Town (which involved a total of 66 hours of driving time), to ensure that the race village opened as planned.”

Space was another issue in Cape Town. “The race village was positioned in a unique location, across three piers, so there was room for only one delivery truck or crane at a time. We’ve also been restricted by noise regulations between 20:00 and 08:00, so the key build activity could only take place during the day.”

To tackle all of these challenges, GAC drafted a “Smart Sheet” document; the logistics bible for the whole operation – as Van Jaarsveld puts it. “Everything you’d ever need to know about the Cape Town bump in and bump out is there. It was also updated on a regular basis to ensure that everything ran smoothly.”

The bump out started on November 19, with all 117 containers transported by truck to Port Elizabeth, an 18 hour drive. From there they will be shipped to Hong Kong on their way to Sanya, China.

Be sure to grab a copy of our December edition for more on the Volvo Ocean Race and to find out why Dongfeng Trucks sponsored the Dongfeng Race Team.

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