Humanitarian Logistics is a branch of logistics that focuses on organising and managing the delivery of supplies during natural disasters. Humanitarian organisations and logistics providers from all over the world collaborate to provide disaster relief in emergency situations.
TNT has been an active partner of the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and is committed to sharing its knowledge, skills and resources in fighting world hunger. TNT also partners with UN WFP in a programme called ‘Moving the World’ to provide assistance and support with aviation, transportation and communication in humanitarian emergencies. Earlier this year, TNT assisted in relief operations in flood-stricken Pakistan after more than half a million people fled their homes. For six months, it provided the workforce for two WFP operated warehouses.
Other logistics providers are also offering humanitarian help and are playing a key role in disaster relief operations. Probably the most recent calamity that shocked the world was the Haiti earthquake in January 2010. UPS donated US$1 million worth of support to the international efforts to assist the survivors. DHL was active in its commitment to provide support to the people of Haiti by providing drop-off locations and information guides for shipments from around the world.
There are different challenges for humanitarian logistics. Technology remains a key factor in achieving better results in humanitarian logistics and disaster relief operations. Implementing up-to-date information, humanitarian logistics software and tracking systems can increase the effectiveness of relief operations and achieve better coordination of the relief effort.
Another challenge is how to amplify awareness in humanitarian logistics. There is a need to increase collaboration among privately owned companies, local governments, humanitarian organisations and logistics partners. One such organisation that strives to bridge the gap in awareness is the Humanitarian Logistics Association (HLA). It aims to create opportunities for dialogue and create cooperative relationships between the various parties involved in humanitarian logistics. All these efforts are for the sole objective of increasing efficiency in providing disaster relief all over the world.