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GAC Pindar’s logistics operation going to plan as the Volvo Ocean Race reaches Brazil

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    15 April 2015

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Itajaί, Brazil – The boats competing in the Volvo Ocean Race are now at the fifth stopover of the round-the-world sailing challenge, after weathering the thrills and spills of the fifth leg from New Zealand to Brazil. And while the attention of the media and sailing fans has been on which crew would arrive first, another team was working behind the scenes to ensure the Race Village and all the related equipment were safely delivered ahead of their arrival.

As the official logistics provider for the Volvo Ocean Race, GAC Pindar is charged with the transportation of the shipments from one stopover to another. Due to the sheer size of the Race - 38,739 nautical miles across five continents and eleven ports including a pit-stop in The Hague in just nine months - two identical race villages are leapfrogging one another to stay one step ahead of the competing boats as they circumnavigate the globe.

For the Itajaί stopover, the GAC Pindar logistics team worked feverishly behind the scenes to safely deliver the shipments from Sanya in China, clear them through customs, and rebuild the Race Village at the Brazilian port - all in just 55 days after packing them up.

Richard Mallen, GAC’s Advance Planning Manager, says the route from China to Brazil was not straightforward: “A total of 112 containers were shipped from Sanya to Vietnam, then on to Malaysia where they were loaded onto a container ship which reached Itajaί on 24 March. Another 16 air freight containers brought crew kit, media equipment and two Volvo life size scale model cars were flown into São Paulo, then trucked 500 miles to Itajaί.”

Mike Millar, GAC Pindar’s Commercial Director, adds: “Thanks to careful planning and great cooperation with multiple GAC agencies, everything was delivered on time. That planning started back in July 2014 with a site recce and followed up with two further visits to make sure every detail was taken care of.”

Itajaί marks the halfway point for the teams competing in the Volvo Ocean Race, coming after an eventful fifth Leg across the South Pacific, around the treacherous Cape Horn and up the South American Atlantic coast. Three of the teams experienced a ‘Chinese gybe’, otherwise known as a death roll, in heavy conditions and one suffered a broken mast, forcing them to retire. But they were given a warm welcome in the Brazilian port, where everything was in place waiting for them.

The boats will depart Brazil on the sixth leg of the Race, bound for Newport in the USA on Sunday 19 April. As soon as they leave, the GAC Pindar team will be hard at work packing up the Race Village and preparing it for the journey to the seventh stopover in Lisbon, Portugal.

By the time the Volvo Ocean Race finishes in June in Gothenburg, Sweden, GAC Pindar’s employees - including eleven permanent staff - will have worked over 21,000 man hours to meet this unique logistics challenge.

To keep up-to-date with all the action from the Volvo Ocean Race visit http://volvooceanrace.com 

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