UPS set to open Olympic facility in Tilbury

United Parcel Service Inc. (UPS), the world’s largest package-delivery company, is preparing for its biggest one-time logistics operation at the London 2012 Olympics.

UPS will deliver 30 million items, ranging from 1 million pieces of sporting equipment such as javelins, racing bikes or sailing boats to anti-doping equipment and the Olympic medals, to 34 competition and training venues. The Games, which start on July 27 next year, will eclipse the 2008 Beijing Olympics, when UPS moved 19 million items, Alan Williams, the company’s London 2012 sponsorship and operations director, said in an interview.

The shares of UPS have risen almost 15 percent in the past year as the Atlanta-based company takes advantage of the economic recovery. UPS and its competitor FedEx Corp. deliver products and documents, making them economic bellwethers.

UPS yesterday opened a 331,000-square-foot warehouse and distribution facility located 33 miles (54 kilometers) in Stevenage, the first of its kind in the U.K. A second warehouse will open in Tilbury in the next few months.

“The biggest challenge is the sheer scale,” Williams said. “The key thing with the Olympics is that it’s a temporary supply chain. There are a lot of unknowns in Olympic logistics.”

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