Outside broadcasting (OB) vans are an essential part of the high-definition digital production equipment used at the sporting event in Rio. Since several sporting events take place simultaneously at different venues, many OB vans are needed. OB vans are not off-the-shelf products, however, which is why the broadcaster must hire vans from media companies in Europe and the United States.

WWL transported OB vans to and from Beijing in 2008, and it was again asked to carry out this special task to provide the same logistics services for Rio this year.

“We have a relationship based on trust that goes back to Beijing in 2008 when we did a similar shipment of OB vans from Europe to China, and back again,” says Trond Tonjum, WWL Vice President. “So when Rio came, we were a natural choice.”

About 80 vans with trailers, as well as a few boats and containers, were shipped on a dedicated vessel directly from Europe to Rio, with only a few days to spare before the events commenced. From the United States, the shipment of about 20 vans with trailers used WWL’s regular liner service from Galveston, Texas, to Rio.

“We were under enormous time pressure,” Tonjum says. “OB vans are frequently used for sporting events and other non-studio filming in both Europe and the US, so the main challenge was time. The vessels needed to sail and arrive when planned, and nothing could go wrong.”

The service also required its fair share of paperwork. Since all the equipment must be returned after the games, a huge number of documents had to be completed ahead of the shipment and in compliance with European, US and Brazilian regulations.

“WWL’s teams in all three locations worked together with the shipper to make sure the shipments were arranged smoothly and with express handling at all customs points,” Tonjum says.

All worked according to plan, and upon arrival, both vessels discharged on the same day, with enough time to clear all the cargo, distribute it to the various venues and hook up to viewers around the world.

By the end of August, all OB vans are to be returned from Rio to Europe and the United States.