The logistics of the 2018 FIFA World Cup

2018 Russia football

Not only do we watch the football here at International Forwarding but we also sponsor local grassroots football (here’s our local U8s team in their next season IFL kit) and we are, of course, fascinated by the logistics of the world’s biggest football tournament.

Putting on the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia is no easy task with many logistical challenges to overcome. So, as we enter the second week of the competition we’ve searched high and low – yes, we even went onto page two of Google – to dig up a few interesting transport and logistics stats and stories.

As a reliable UK independent freight forwarder, we can’t believe IFL wasn’t selected as FIFA’s official logistics partner but we do specialise in shipping to Europe (20 countries, with daily or weekly trailers), as well as to destinations further afield (here’s where where we ship to).

So if FIFA does want to call for a fast quote and great freight rates for future events, our sales team will be waiting.

1. How many footballs?

A total of 700,000 footballs were produced in one month at the Pakistan factory where the Adidas Telstar 18 official match ball was manufactured – they wouldn’t reveal how many World Cup balls they have had made for Russia. (Source: South China Morning Post)

2. Banned items

Banned items not allowed into World Cup stadia include: sporting gear or equipment, flags or banners larger than 2×1.5m, promotional materials of any kind and umbrellas longer than 25cm when folded (that’s tiny!) For courier deliveries, there are also big restrictions on size/weight of cargo and no private/confidential deliveries are permitted. (Source: BMMagazine)

3. Russia-UK trade

Russia was (briefly) the largest market for UK goods exports outside of the US, the European Union (EU) and China in 2012, but trade has since been hit by sanctions on Russia. (Source: Business Advice)

4. Tough customs

Regulations, restrictions, sanctions and tight Customs checks are the lay of the land when shipping to Russia, with extra security restrictions during the tournament. B2B shipping to business addresses and for commercial purposes are much swifter than sending consignments to private addresses. (Source: Parcelhero)

5. Journey time

A typical drive from London to Moscow takes approximately 32 hours. (Source: Freightlink)

6. Rail top for transport

Russia is the largest country geographically to ever host the tournament, with matches being played in four times zones. Rail transport is the preferred method of travel during this year’s World Cup, according to the poll results of a 2018 FIFA World Cup Transport Directorate held in nine languages. About 60% of respondents chose rail transport as their means of transport with almost 60% planning to follow their national team from city to city, up until it either loses or wins the Championship. (Source:

7. New transport infrastructure

Half of the $10 billion budget for World Cup preparations was assigned to key transport infrastructure, including the reconstruction and construction of more than 100 transport sites and facilities, with airport infrastructure and the road network the top priorities. [Source: Russia Beyond)

8. Customs & Freight forwarding manual

Always read the fine print. The FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 ‘Customs & Freight Forwarding manual’ provides an overview of the import, export and customs clearance procedures for the event and is 64 pages long. (Source: FIFA)

9. Hazardous cargo

In December 2017, the Harbour Master of the Large Port of St Petersburg… informed the port operators that handling of all dangerous chemical, biological, toxic, radioactive and explosive substances will be suspended during the World Cup… (Source: Port Today)

10. Valuable cargo

Make sure high-value cargo is adequately insured. The FIFA World Cup Trophy is the most valuable in all of sports – it is 36.8cm high, weighs 6.175kg and is made of 18-carat gold. (Source:

For more information on IFL’s European forwarding services, visit our freight forwarding page. As a platinum member of Palletways, we are part of Europe’s largest and fastest-growing pallet delivery network – find out more benefits of booking with IFL here.

Image: (CC) Pixabay




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