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Challenges and constraints in humanitarian logistics

Puteaux. 11 September 2019

When humanitarian crises occur, be they natural catastrophes, armed conflict or an Ebola epidemic, logistics plays a crucial role in the success of operations. As demonstrated in the work of Bolloré Transport & Logistics, which has in-depth knowledge of the field and expertly handles all the specific issues involved.

The number of humanitarian entities has increased in the last 20 years to address the growing need for assistance. To establish links between small local NGOs, international organisations, the armed forces and populations in distress, private companies such as Bolloré Logistics have developed special logistics services to coordinate action at local, national and transnational level.

Cooperation vital both in one-off emergencies and ongoing crises

The unpredictable nature of natural catastrophes, together with the problems involved in accessing impacted areas and the diversity of the equipment to be shipped (including food, medicine, emergency housing, generators, vehicles and radio/telecoms equipment), makes logistics management particularly complex. Experts need to be mobilised quickly to establish the most effective logistics plans.

To best prepare for these constraints, it is crucial to take prior account of needs and identify local providers to simplify the deployment of assistance goods. This reduces transport costs both for emergency and long-term operations. 

Once the humanitarian crisis has been managed, both our local and and international teams remain mobilized over the long term as part of the reconstruction and population assistance programmes.

Eric Sanchez, Head of Front Office Global Development

Over 50 % of global humanitarian aid goes to Africa. With the strength of our network, the quality of our infrastructure and our agile management of logistics flows, we are able to deliver real-life solutions to the needs of our customers.

The impact of new technologies on humanitarian logistics

New digital resources boost visibility on the logistics and transport solution options available to respond to a crisis. By enhancing this set of information with detailed criteria on costs, reaction times and the geographical locations concerned, supply models can be developed and adapted to the specific nature of each operation, be it a response to an emergency situation or a long-term programme. In addition, identifying the type and amount of goods available for shipment can be simplified through the prior interfacing of applications with customer data systems.

The case of Mozambique after Cyclone Idai

In one week, Bolloré Logistics managed 17 aircrafts handling over 700 tons of airfreight cargo and offering warehousing services and office space at the Bolloré yard in Beira in order to support the efforts of the international organizations.

Bolloré Logistics teams also partnered with the NGOs to offer support with custom clearance, aircraft chartering, handling and distribution services in the areas affected.

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