Large-scale sport events in 2024 in Paris: what impact for carriers?

The summer of sports 2024 promises to be one of the most significant events of the decade, drawing worldwide attention to the French capital. However, behind the moments of sporting glory and festivities lie significant logistical challenges that affect numerous sectors, notably that of carriers.

World sports games bring together thousands of athletes, spectators, and media from around the world. The event in Paris is no exception to this rule, with an expected 15 million visitors. Such an event requires substantial organization that will undoubtedly impact the activities of logistics and transport stakeholders.

In this article, we will explore the logistical challenges faced by carriers as the Paris Games approach, with a focus on the relevant venues, traffic restrictions, and exemptions. We will examine how transport stakeholders can prepare for this global-scale event and the implications it may have on their daily operations.

Traffic in Paris during the Games: what restrictions?

The location of competition sites

The planned competition sites for the Games will mainly concentrate in:

In Paris (75) :

  • In the north: Arena Porte de la Chapelle
  • In the center: Grand Palais, Concorde, Trocadéro, Pont Alexandre III, Hôtel de Ville, Invalides, Eiffel Tower, and Champ de Mars
  • In the east: Arena Bercy In the west: Roland Garros Stadium and Parc des Princes
  • In the south: Arena Paris Sud (Porte de Versailles)

In Ile-de-France :

  • Seine-et-Marne (77): Vaires-sur-Marne Aquatic Center
  • Yvelines (78): Versailles Palace, Colline d’Elancourt, BMX Stadium, National Velodrome, and Golf National in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines
  • Hauts-de-Seine (92): Paris La Défense Arena in Nanterre and Yves-du-Manoir Stadium in Colombes
  • Seine-Saint-Denis (93), which will also host the athletes village: Stade de France, Saint-Denis Aquatic Center, Bourget Climbing Site, and Arena Paris Nord in Villepinte

In addition to the Paris region, other French cities will host events: Bordeaux, Nantes, Lyon, Saint-Etienne, Nice, Marseille, Lille, and Teahupo’o in Tahiti.

Security perimeters around competition sites

The games will have a significant impact on road traffic in the region. Areas around the competition sites will be restricted to motor vehicles, while access in an expanded perimeter will be strictly regulated. These perimeters will be activated simultaneously around the sites, each day of competition, 2 hours and 30 minutes before the start of the first event and will be lifted 1 hour after the end of the last event.

Four distinct perimeters will be established around each site hosting events or related activities for the games. Each of these perimeters involves specific access and circulation conditions for motor vehicles, as shown in the example below.

Périmètres de sécurité autour des sites olympiques et paralympiques de Paris
  • The “organizer” perimeter is represented in gray and corresponds to the competition site itself. It is only accessible to ticket-holding spectators and individuals accredited by the organization.
  • The SITL (Internal Security and Counterterrorism) protection perimeter, marked by a blue outline, generally overlaps with the previous one and follows the same rules.

Logistics actors do not have access to these two perimeters.

  • The red perimeter is strictly forbidden to motorized traffic, whether four or two-wheeled vehicles, except with special authorization. This perimeter will be open to pedestrians and cyclists. No specific justification will be required for deliveries made on foot or by bicycle. Cargo bikes, however, must undergo security checks from specific entry points within the perimeter. Finally, motorized deliveries will be prohibited during the perimeter activation hours (2 hours and 30 minutes before the start of the first event until 1 hour after the end of the last event). The passage zones are being defined and will be communicated later (1st semester of 2024). For motorized deliveries, a dedicated registration platform for justifications will be opened in spring 2024.

  • Lastly, the blue perimeter constitutes a regulated traffic zone. Its main objective is to reduce motor vehicle flows around the red perimeter by diverting transit traffic. Only drivers who can justify a need for access, such as delivery personnel, breakdown vehicles, movers, or those who need to access their home or workplace, will be allowed to circulate within it. The system will involve checks conducted by law enforcement.

Special measures will be implemented for road events such as cycling and the marathon. The day before each event, a perimeter will be established around the course to allow athletes to train and familiarize themselves with the competition. Passage points will be clearly defined along the route to allow the passage of emergency vehicles while ensuring the safety of athletes and spectators. No vehicles will be allowed on the course except in emergencies. The possibility for residents or other users to use these passage points is being discussed with the organizer, but it will be very limited.

Depending on your activity, access to the perimeters varies. For example, cash transport is allowed in both blue and red perimeters, as are home care services, whereas the transport of hazardous materials is not permitted in any zone. Be sure to check according to your situation.

Reserved lanes

In addition to traffic restrictions, the creation of “reserved lanes” is planned for athletes, emergency services, officials, taxis, and public transport during the games. These lanes are designed to ensure that athletes can quickly access their events, with a travel time of less than 30 minutes for sites located within 10 km of the athletes village.

Some of these lanes will be permanent, usable throughout the duration of the Games, while others will be “dynamic,” activated based on traffic conditions and competition schedules. These measures cover a total of 185 kilometers of lanes, representing only 0.5% of the road network in Île-de-France. However, these are crucial routes to ensure smooth access and traffic flow, notably:

  • The entire ring road (boulevard périphérique), which will be closed to traffic from 6 a.m. to midnight, from July 24 to September 14. 
  • Highway A1 between Roissy-Charles de Gaulle and Porte de la Chapelle.
  • Highway A13 between Boulogne and Porte d’Auteuil.
  • Highway A4 between Champigny-sur-Marne and Porte de Bercy.
  • Routes serving the athletes village and the Stade de France.

Disruptions beyond the official dates of the games

It is crucial to emphasize that disruptions related to the gmes will not be limited strictly to the period of the competitions, which will take place from July 26 to August 11, 2024, and from August 28 to September 8, 2024. In reality, the repercussions will extend well beyond these dates, also encompassing the phases of assembly and disassembly of temporary infrastructures that will be erected in the heart of central Paris to host these exceptional events.

During the assembly phase, scheduled from March to July 2024, notable disruptions will affect traffic at key points in the city. For example, starting from early March, access restrictions will be imposed at the Champ de Mars site, while May 17 will mark the beginning of disruptions at Place de la Concorde, and May 1 for the Trocadéro area. It is worth noting that several days before the opening ceremony, on July 26, almost all quays and roads along the Seine will be closed to motorized traffic.

As for the disassembly phase, its schedule is still being defined. Authorities, both at the state and city levels, will strive to free up spaces as quickly as possible. With this in mind, disassembly will begin immediately after the conclusion of the last competitions at each site and will be completed no later than the end of October 2024, marking the full restoration of public space.

In summary, from March to October 2024, those who need to travel within Paris to deliver goods, transport people, or meet the needs of their clients will need to exercise patience and adapt to the logistical constraints inherent in this exceptional period.

How can logistics actors prepare for the Games?

Inventory and delivery management: a major challenge for logistics players

With the arrival of the games, various economic sectors such as large-scale distribution, catering, retail, and tourism are gearing up for a significant increase in demand and activity. According to Christian Rose, Environmental, Transport, and Logistics Manager at the Confederation of Wholesalers of France, “an additional 3,200 tonnes of goods will enter each day during this period.” The consultancy firm Logicités predicts that the number of deliveries will increase by 1.5 to 2 times depending on the sectors.

This implies the crucial necessity for effective inventory and delivery management to avoid supply shortages, which is particularly challenging for the restaurant industry, heavily reliant on fresh products.

It is important to note that traffic restrictions in certain zones will also impact traffic in neighboring areas not directly affected by the restrictions. Therefore, reorganizing deliveries to account for these constraints will be crucial for all economic actors, whether directly involved in the Games or not.

Thierry Quaranta, Director of Food Supply Chain Operations France at Carrefour, testified during a webinar on the logistical challenges of the games organized by InTerLUD: “The warehouses of the retail chains are located outside Paris intra-muros; we won’t have problems with production, but rather with delivery. This requires reorganizing our flows with different deliveries to make life easier. 80% of deliveries are made between 6 and 9 in the morning. Earlier than that, it will be difficult because of residents and store personnel. We will certainly have to reduce the frequency of deliveries to some stores (every 2 or 3 days).

Having goods delivered in advance and storing them is obviously the most practical solution to ensure having the necessary stocks. However, depending on the companies, this can be complex to implement, as storage spaces within Paris intra-muros are rare and expensive.

💡 Key figures on the 2012 Games in London (TIF survey before and during the Games):

  • 57% of logistics operators made changes following the Games.
  • 51% of respondents made changes to their usual freight transport schedules to avoid delivery interruptions during the Games.
  • 24% postponed non-essential orders.
  • 19% chose an alternative delivery mode.
  • 18% opted for off-peak delivery times.
  • 15% placed larger orders with fewer deliveries.
  • 13% used different suppliers.
  • Ultimately, 14% of respondents reported experiencing supply disruptions during the Games.

Night delivery: a preferred solution to address traffic restrictions

Off-peak delivery, particularly at night (from midnight to 6 a.m.), is a suggestion put forward by many actors to facilitate operations and alleviate traffic congestion. Businesses would thus be supplied outside of opening hours, allowing them to have their packages ready for storage or shelving.

However, night delivery entails several difficulties:

  • This approach is not feasible for all deliveries: home or office deliveries as well as express deliveries cannot be made at such hours.
  • The issue of redeliveries is also raised by Pascal Barillon, Vice President of the Syndicate of Bakers of Île-de-France, who gives the example of a butcher who receives his meat before 6 a.m. but then has to redeliver it to his restaurant clients. A solution must thus be found for the concerned professionals for whom a delivery after 6 a.m. will be difficult.
  • The use of silent equipment to reduce the noise of delivery operations to avoid disturbing residents. For example, equipping with electric rear doors, noise-absorbing coverings for liftgates, electric pallet doors, etc.
  • Delivery locations need to mobilize staff to receive goods at night if they do not have a secure vestibule where drivers can drop them off without entering the store.

Cyclologistics and river freight mentioned as potential avenues

According to Pascal Barillon, many professionals already use cyclologistics for redelivery but less for provisioning (due to capacity limitations). However, bicycles could be a good solution for delivering goods in areas subject to traffic restrictions. Indeed, this mode of transport is favored in red zones where motorized deliveries will be prohibited during certain hours (2 hours and 30 minutes before the start of the first event until 1 hour after the end of the last event).

However, as Thierry Quaranta, Director of Food Supply Chain Operations France at Carrefour, indicates, the limited capacity of cargo bikes does not allow for the delivery of the supplies to their stores. They are rather used to deliver proximity orders for individuals.

One increasingly suggested avenue is river transport, which is not affected by traffic jams and allows delivery in the heart of Paris. Complementarity with other modes of transport (truck, bike) is, of course, crucial for the last mile, but river transport reduces CO2 emissions from kilometers traveled upstream (five times less emissive than road transport per tonne). However, as Thierry Quaranta points out, river transport is not well suited to food products (especially fresh ones) because the transit time is quite significant.

This mode of transport will have limitations during the opening and closing ceremonies of the Games where almost all quays and roads along the Seine will be closed to motorized traffic. Traffic will also be limited at certain times of the day for nearly three additional weeks.

💡 For further information, watch the webinar on the logistical challenges of the games organized by InTerLUD, in partnership with the “Logistics in Gold” Club

A database to record traffic and parking orders

The games will mark the beginning of the deployment of the first phases of a national database called Dialog, which will record traffic and parking orders, whether permanent or temporary, issued by all local authorities. This project is supervised by the DGITM (General Directorate of Infrastructure, Transport and the Sea). The aim is to make this data available dynamically, directly integrated into GPS navigation systems during the first half of 2024.

Initially, a mapping will be deployed for Île-de-France via the B.A.C. IDF platform, in which functionalities will be available to model the impacts of the Games on traffic. For carriers, this platform aims to make temporary regulations put in place by each municipality during the Games more understandable so that they can better organize their operations. This device should continue after the Games for better communication of traffic restrictions among the various stakeholders.

B.A.C. JOP 2024

In conclusion, the Games in Paris represent a major event that will pose significant logistical challenges for transport and delivery players. Competition sites will be surrounded by security perimeters, leading to traffic restrictions and reserved lanes for various categories.

Faced with this large-scale event, logistics actors will need to monitor and adapt in real-time to regulatory changes, especially with “dynamic” reserved lanes that will evolve. Deliveries will likely take longer due to increased traffic, restricted routes, and checks in certain zones. Therefore, real-time optimization of routes, responsive to contingencies, will be essential to meet these logistical challenges.