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Rugby World Cup 2023 France: there’s no such thing as a sporting event without perfect logistics!

International sporting events cannot exist without impeccable organization and coordination.

France is currently hosting the 2023 Rugby World Cup, and behind the scenes, organization is key to ensuring the success of this kind of sporting event.  


Imagine, for example, a sporting event of this scale without efficient modes of transport. Obviously, there's no question of postponing a match or event because the athletes' equipment has not been delivered on time. At a time when major sporting events are broadcast live on screens the world over, logistics need to be flawless. Failure or mistakes aren’t an option.


Well in advance of the day itself, this requires advance organization and coordination between the various stakeholders, ready to respond to the slightest emergency that might arise.

Preparation: a crucial phase


Logistics and transport for these kinds of sporting events are prepared months or even years in advance.

It is estimated that it takes at least a year to make sure everything is in place when the time comes.


Take the case of transporting equipment. It is important to plan the routes and consider them carefully. Several criteria are taken into account, depending on the country of origin, the destination, the type of freight and the desired delivery time.


An operational management team needs to be set up to plan dedicated means of transport and drivers, guarantee that deadlines are met, ensure real-time tracking of goods, and manage last-minute changes. Each segment of the logistics chain, from air freight to overland transport and warehousing, needs to not only be considered individually, but also as a whole


Each flow needs to be optimized by in-house transport and logistics experts. They are responsible for ensuring the safety of the goods, the conditions for transporting fragile or unusual objects (canoes, volleyball courts, etc.), as well as coordination with customs, administrative issues, the availability of suitable vehicles, etc. In short, the logistics experts set up a veritable control tower to ensure smooth overall execution. 

Taking action: transporting equipment


Once the preparation phase is complete, and storage and transport organized and coordinated, the action phase begins. The first stage is often air transport, to bring in equipment for the teams traveling from several continents, as well as for the media and other professionals on site. Customs operations and administrative procedures prepared beforehand facilitate customs clearance of goods, in accordance with the regulations in force and the competent authorities, so that the freight can be accepted in the territory.


For each sporting event, sufficient storage space needs to be secured, to deposit all the required materials and equipment. To facilitate the carrier's work, these are stored, categorized, and packed by the logistics specialist.

As the date of the event draws near, multiple transport flows intensify to ensure that equipment is in place within the sports and hotel sites hosting the various teams.


Perfect execution of this task is only possible if the vehicles and their drivers are dedicated to it. There needs to be enough of them, with back-ups in case of unforeseen events or emergencies. Tracking deliveries is obviously essential, to coordinate the timely dispatch and receipt of equipment. The goal is for all shipments, secured in coordination with the authorities, to arrive "just in time": neither too early, nor too late.


And if you thought transportation was just the last stage of organization for logistics specialists, it's not. During international sporting events, the race goes on, and other elements come into play: the IT equipment necessary for the smooth running of infrastructures or live broadcasts, the distribution of drinks to the public, catering for athletes, tourists, or spectators – all of these require different and specific treatments.

Security and flow management: the importance of a diversified team


As we mentioned earlier, all this organization would not be possible without excellent team coordination. Because the goods and equipment stored and transported on site of a very diverse nature, the team needs to have several experts covering all the fields concerned.


There is no room for error. To keep things running smoothly, the logistics specialist must put together a tailor-made, skilled team. Employees who work together hand-in-hand also need to be sufficiently available, responsive, and flexible. Knowing how to react in an unexpected or emergency situation is essential when organizing major sporting events. 

The key to choosing the right logistics partner is to make sure it has all the necessary specialists at its disposal. Other factors can also make the difference, such as careful attention to the resulting carbon footprint. At GEODIS for example, we are committed to an ecological transition through the use of low-emission vehicles (electric or biogas-powered) to reduce the carbon footprint associated with transport.

GEODIS, a trusted partner for the organization of sporting events


We've had the opportunity to work behind the scenes to ensure the success of world-class sporting events, such as the Women's World Cup in 2019 and the European Football Championships in 2016, and currently as Official Freight Carrier for the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.


Our experience enabled us to highlight our strengths: a network of branches throughout France as well as a worldwide presence, plus competent, professional, and rigorous teams. From preparation, months before the event, to the first whistle, they have risen to every challenge – including the biggest!

To learn more, contact our teams!

Bruno Touze

Bruno Touze

Director of Sports Events for GEODIS' Distribution & Express activity

With more than 30 years of experience in engineering and commercial functions at national and international level within GEODIS, Bruno Touze has developed expertise in the B2B and B2C services market as well as in the world of sporting events (UEFA Euro 2016 - Football Women World Cup 2019 - Rugby World Cup 2023). Taking charge of engineering within the commercial management of GEODIS | Distribution & Express, where he was Director for 10 years.