Making the Games Happen Is a Logistical Miracle

August 18, 2016


Even as the games near the close, the world’s eyes continue to be set on Rio as the drama unfolds. But most of the drama, at least from a packaging and logistic standpoint, has already been seen.

As we Buzzed about before, getting ready for the Olympics is a challenge. You have athletes, fans and media from every corner of the world descending on one location at the same time. Luckily, the Port of Rio de Janeiro, the host city, is pretty massive with 23,000 feet of continuous wharf ready to take on everything the athletes need for to pull off the games.

Here are few of the astounding stats behind what it takes to make the games happen:

  • Everything from beds and mattresses for the Olympic Village to firearms for security teams have arrived on more than 6,000 containers (4,200 container ships, 1200 cargo planes, 300 trucks).
  • Everyday, athletes eat 460,000 lbs of food made in the Olympic Village kitchen that is the size of a football field! Each of the 60,000 meals per day served on biodegradable plates which also needed to be shipped in.
  • 310 horses have also been shipped to Rio on dozens of flights. Each flight also included least one vet for animal safety.
  • According to, the 350 person New Zealand Olympic team alone had three container ships with bikes, pole vaults and yoga mats just for them waiting at their hotel when they arrived.

In other words … WHOA THAT IS A LOT OF STUFF!

Would Ernest be up for the challenge? We talked with Tim Andrisani, Ernest’s Senior Design Specialist for Inner Packaging to see if we could stump him on how he would pack complicated athletic gear.

Challenge 1: Packaging a gymnastic leotard covered in sequins

How would you package something as thin and flexible as a leotard so that it doesn’t get torn to shreds by sequins or rhinestone decorations?

Tim A: “There is a product called microfoam. It is a polypropylene-based foam product with a lot of sheer strength so it doesn’t tear easily. But just as important, it doesn’t grab either. This means they won’t get stuck on anything and damage the fabric or rip off a stone. If you take a 3×3 sheet of this stuff and form a pouch and slide the leo in there I think it would work.”

Challenge 2: Packaging bows and arrows for archery competition

You can’t win gold with broken bows and arrows. How would you protect these thin sporting goods on the journey?

“We have a lot of customers that do trade shows and they ship equipment to and from these shows quite often. They found that they were having trouble getting all of their booth equipment back into the packaging to take home after each show, so we set them up with Pelican™ cases. We created custom foam inserts so everything fits back into place safely and securely the way it should. With bows and arrows I’d recommend the same thing. Custom cutouts into foam for each piece of equipment that would then be protected by this tough rigid Pelican™ case would be great. No sliding around, no breaking.”

See a Pelican™ case in action in our Bigfoot Ernest Challenge video.

Challenge 3: Shipping computers, tablets and other electronics to use during downtime between events.

There is a lot of time between events and athletes need to be entertained. How would you get their electronics down there in one piece?

“You have to think of both transit in the plane as well as transit around a busy, bustling competition area. Little cases, again like a small Pelican™ case would be perfect for this. But there is also a cool item called ChamberPak by Pregis. They are really popular in the wine industry but they make these inserts for electronics too.”

Challenge 4: Packaging the gold, silver and bronze for the trip home.

No packaging needed. Wear it with pride!

The Verdict? Ernest Packaging Solutions is up the challenge!

If you’re looking for a gold medal partner (sorry, we had to say it), go with Ernest Packaging Solutions. Whether you’re shipping to a rainforest in Brazil or the Alaskan glaciers, we have the solutions that will get your product there in one piece. So give us a call and let us bring our team to meet with yours’.