Getting Olympic Horses To Rio Requires Impressive Logistics Feats

When people think of the Olympics, it’s normal to focus on the athletes. After all, they are the ones taking center stage – and if everything goes according to plan, the podium. It was easy enough to get the athletes to Brazil for this year’s games; they simply hopped on a flight or two and arrived in Rio. However, it’s the non-human athletes that pose a special logistical challenge few people think about.

More than 300 horses needed to make their way to Rio for the Olympics. On July 29, the first of 12 horse transport flights left Stansted Airport in London for a 12-hour flight to Rio on Emirates SkyCargo, while the last ones departed on August 7. At the Galeao airport in Rio, more than $600 million has been invested in improving infrastructure, including the construction of a ramp to connect the horses with the trucks that bring them to the competition.

Horses Need To Arrive In Peak Fitness
These animals are considered high-value cargo, so each of the Boeing 777 freighters transporting them will carry 11 grooms. Each flight must have at least one vet on board, and the jets have stalls that will give these horses room to move around. In addition, their flights are scheduled to arrive at 11pm to keep unloading congestion a minimum.

The German company that has been in charge of transporting Olympic horses since the Montreal Games in 1976, Peden Bloodstock GmbH, started preparations for the feat more than a year ago.

A total of more than 30 million items will be involved in the games, from condoms to firearms. It is estimated that around 70 percent of the imports will arrive on container ships, with 25 percent arriving by air and the remainder being sent by truck.

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