Journal of the Operational Research Society

, Volume 57, Issue 5, pp 475–489

Humanitarian aid logistics: supply chain management in high gear

Blackett Memorial Lecture


This paper builds on the idea that private sector logistics can and should be applied to improve the performance of disaster logistics but that before embarking on this the private sector needs to understand the core capabilities of humanitarian logistics. With this in mind, the paper walks us through the complexities of managing supply chains in humanitarian settings. It pinpoints the cross learning potential for both the humanitarian and private sectors in emergency relief operations as well as possibilities of getting involved through corporate social responsibility. It also outlines strategies for better preparedness and the need for supply chains to be agile, adaptable and aligned—a core competency of many humanitarian organizations involved in disaster relief and an area which the private sector could draw on to improve their own competitive edge. Finally, the article states the case for closer collaboration between humanitarians, businesses and academics to achieve better and more effective supply chains to respond to the complexities of today's logistics be it the private sector or relieving the lives of those blighted by disaster.


emergency relief operations humanitarian logistics supply chain management 

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan Ltd 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.INSEADFontainebleauFrance

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