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Winter sports logistics: "We’re the team behind the team"

Transport Bob Helper DHL Freight

Whether it’s bobsleds or balls, training or TV equipment, our colleagues from DHL Global Event Logistics get everything where it needs to be, right on time.

Team Lead Philipp Dianin tells us how DHL Global Event Logistics gets winter sports equipment to the rink and soccer kits to the stadium. He also treats us to a behind-the-scenes peek at the logistics involved in the 2022 Winter Olympics as well as a ride in a two-man bob.

Philipp Dianin Bob Interview about winter sports logistics
Team Lead Philipp Dianin tells us how DHL Global Event Logistics gets winter sports equipment to the rink and soccer kits to the stadium

The winter sports season is well underway. Where have your travels taken you recently?

I’m just back from Switzerland, where we signed the contract with the International Bobsleigh & Skeleton Federation (IBSF) in St. Moritz to make us their new logistics partner. Since the start of the season in November, we have been busy moving equipment for Germany’s BSD (German Bobsleigh, Luge and Skeleton Federation) athletes. Back at the start of November, after the last qualifying race in Altenburg, Germany, we took the bobsleds to Whistler, Canada, and to runs in Park City and Lake Placid, USA, among other destinations.

How do you divide the workload among the team? Are you all constantly on the road?

We are a team of nine, so not everyone is always on the road. After all, before we can transport something we need to carefully plan when and where to load it and which flights to take. In the office, we do everything from quoting, to organizing, processing, and invoicing. The timing is always fixed and we know when everything has to be on the ground. For the BSD we plan two to three months beforehand, for the Winter Olympics last year we started planning a year in advance.

What’s different about transporting bobsleds?

Their surface can be easily damaged, so a special cover is used to protect the carbon and paintwork. The German team’s 13 bobsleds fit exactly into the 4.20 x 1.20 x 1.20 m boxes. When loading, the athletes also lend a hand and push their bobsleds, which weigh several hundred kilograms, along two long metal runners into the container. At Lake Placid we then had to transport the boxes through two meters of snow.

Recently, you hopped into a bobsled yourself and shot down the track in Altenberg. What was it like?

It was exhilarating. I was blown away by the forces at work – it’s a bit like riding a rollercoaster only way more intense.

What do you transport outside the winter sports season?

We have been carrying out sports logistics for football teams and associations for several years. We transport the players' luggage, jerseys, kit, and fitness equipment from stadium to stadium. We also look after various TV and film production companies and bring their equipment all around the globe.

What’s the key to event logistics?

That everything gets there safely and on time. When the team arrives, everything has to be perfect. We've done our job well if nobody notices us. We’re the team behind the team.

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What was your most spectacular shipment?

Shipping equipment to the Winter Olympics in Beijing last year. We were in transit with more than 100 tonnes of airfreight and several hundred containers of ocean freight, working closely with DHL colleagues in China and Spain. Unfortunately, I couldn't fly to Beijing with them in the end. Two days before departure, I tested positive for Covid and sadly had to stay at home.

How did you end up where you are?

Fifteen years ago, after finishing school and doing my civilian service (military or civilian service was once compulsory in Germany – ed.), I completed vocational training as a freight forwarding and logistics services manager with the Trade Fairs & Events Team at DHL Global Forwarding, Freight. They taught me everything – road and rail transport, airfreight and ocean freight. In the beginning, we were mainly responsible for trade fair logistics, but today we're on the road to destinations everywhere. We’re close to the action and can see on site how our preparation has paid off. A year ago, I took over as team leader.

What special projects await you and your team going forward?

The first preliminary talks are currently underway for projects within the framework of the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris. I’d love to be part of it and support them again with our logistics know-how.

What are you more passionate about – winter sports or soccer?

Since we started transporting winter sports equipment for the BSD, I’ve been watching a lot more winter sports. But my heart beats for the beautiful game. I love watching my local team 1. FC Köln play.

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