Heikki Mattola of CHS and Ville Köngäs of the Finnish Olympic Committee supervise the loading of a container to Korea in the Port of Vuosaari in Helsinki, Finland

Heikki Mattola of CHS – Logistics expertise in four different Olympic Games

Salt Lake City 2002, Vancouver 2010, Rio de Janeiro 2016 and PyeongChang 2018 – CHS’ Director for event logistics, Mr. Heikki Mattola, has a long track record in the Olympic Games and other sports events, as well as logistics connected with them. Two of the above events were Winter Games like PyeongChang. Rio, on the other hand, was the scene of the latest Summer Olympics.

CHS Group and the Finnish Olympic Committee

As the official logistics partner of the Finnish Olympic Committee and the Finnish Olympic Team, CHS makes sure that the Olympic Committee and all athletes can concentrate their energy in promoting athletic issues and be sure that their freight will arrive punctually and safely at the destination of any sports event.

CHS’ Heikki Mattola is an expert in sports logistics

Sports logistics is a unique form of event logistics. At the moment, the joint journey of CHS and the Finnish Olympic Team  is well under way towards Korea and the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang in February 2018. The journey actually began in September last year almost right after the return back home from the Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympics.

The seamless trip of the Olympic Team of almost 200 people to the Olympic scenes is every time a project involving the work of hundreds of professionals. As the official logistics partner of the Finnish Olympic Team, CHS Expo Freight takes care of the punctual and safe arrival of the Team’s equipment.

– We will make sure that the equipment is ready for loading in time and all the necessary documents in order. The packings must tolerate the conditions of sea transport and everything must be correctly marked. We will ensure relevant insurance coverage and check in advance the regulations and formalities of the receiving country. Co-operation with the customer is important, for one cannot overemphasize the importance of information and guidelines from the customer, Heikki Mattola explains.

Things happen during the journey

In the Summer Olympics in Rio, everything went surprisingly smoothly according to Heikki Mattola.

– Prior to the event we were expecting more challenges with the Brazilian customs processes than we actually faced in practice. One of the most memorable pieces of equipment we transported to Rio was the Finnish paralympic sailor Niko Salomaa’s boat. Its trip to the competitive scene in Brazil and back to Finland again went through several ports, Heikki describes.

In addition to the equipment needed in the competitive events, different kinds of goods, Finnish foodstuffs, and other products were transported to Rio. These included, for instance, garden furniture used to create an atmosphere resembling home in the Olympic Village. Finnish bicycles were used in the Village for moving around.

From the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Heikki Mattola remembers the strict regulations of the state of Utah. For return transport, the Finnish Olympic Committee had its own charter flight, on which Heikki had booked the entire freight space.

– In this way, we were able to secure the loading of all the Finnish Olympic Committee’s equipment in full and before anything else in the fully-booked plane, Heikki remembers.

– In the Vancouver Olympics, we had to sort out dangerous goods (e.g. hairsprays and other cosmetics products), which had not been declared in advance, but had been placed among other equipment. These undeclared products unfortunately had to be left out of the transportation.

PyeongChang 2018 is in the middle of the winter sports season

The road from Finland to PyeongChang is over 7 000 kilometres long.  In addition to the Finnish Olympic Team of over 200 people, a huge amount of the Team’s equipment, such as ski waxes and massage tables, is travelling to the Olympic city. This time the Olympic project is really demanding, for it is in the middle of the hectic winter sports season. For instance, the world cup in both cross-country and alpine skiing is under way, which means that the athletes will continue in the cup right after the Olympics. The equipment has to travel punctually again to the next competitive event.

The functioning and reliability of logistics play again key parts in the Winter Olympics in Korea next February. Special attention must be paid to organizing all transportation. Thorough advance planning is crucial in its success.

– Our co-operation with the Finnish Olympic Committee has begun well in advance. Finnair has direct flights from Finland to Korea. CHS and Finnair have together made arrangements for air freight to Korea and back again to secure successful logistics. I am looking forward to the coming Winter Olympics as our work progresses,  Heikki Mattola from CHS concludes.