3.1 Logistics preparedness planning key questions

Capacity and risk assessment

  • Type of disaster: determine what types of disaster are likely to occur and analyse their impacts.
  • Entry point/access: be informed on the different sea/air/land entry points.
  • Existing transport infrastructure
  • Have a good knowledge of the existing transport routes and determine how they could be affected by a disaster.
  • Resources available: assess and determine your existing logistics capacity.
  • Definition of logistics needs of potential response scenario: determine your additional logistics needs in case of an emergency in line with planning scenarios.

Procurement (see also Chapter 2 Procurement)

  • Establish a list and specification of the programmes and support items required for an emergency response.
  • Identify suppliers of standard essential items for emergency response locally/ internationally. Assess their delivery capacity/time. Develop master contract (frame work agreement).
  • Have the contents and specification of emergency kits already defined (operations and programme kits).
  • Ensure that a simplified emergency  tendering process exists, which can be adopted once emergency has been declared by the Country Director.
  • Ensure that the procurement process is as fast and as streamlined as possible. Check what exceptions can be made for the emergency period to speed up the process while staying within the audit requirement. Be familiar with donor exceptions for emergency contexts.

Identification of resources and partners

  • Freight forwarder: identify freight forwarder to be able to import and transport internationally required items.
  • Transporter: have a good knowledge of the local transport market and identify potential transport partners.
  • Government agencies: identify government agencies with an emergency mandate and their focal points .
  • Distribution partners: identify potential local partners to implement the emergency response.
  • Humanitarian actors: establish link with other humanitarian actors so that there is a coordinated log response, and share resources and information through  the Logistics cluster whenever activated.


  • Define your transport requirements for personnel and   supplies.
  • Consider all transport modes and always establish alternative options.

Vehicles (for example cars, trucks, motorbikes)

  • Assess the number of vehicles (type, condition) that could be available. Evaluate your requirements in case of emergency response.
  • Assess your sourcing options to meet your requirements (for example; renting, local or international purchase, loan).
  • In case of a significant increase in the fleet size, consider hiring an experienced fleet manager, assess the capacity to scale-up maintenance. Check what the supply of spare parts is like. Check fuel availability and, if necessary, consider having contingency stocks.

Air charter

  • Check the possibility of chartering aircraft for cargo (type, payload, cost). Ensure that you are prepared to face the logistics involved in air operations.
  • Know the procedure and regulations to receive charter aircraft with cargo (customs, handling, landing strips, permits etc.).

Sea transport

  • Assess the sea freight entry point (warehousing, handling).
  • Check if risk areas are reachable by boat (type of boat, payload). Identify where you can find these boats and the cost.


  • Determine what surface and volume would be needed in case of emergency.
  • Identify where you can hire/borrow/share warehouse space at short notice.
  • Check the possibilities of finding temporary mobile warehousing structures (for example, a Rubb hall-a large tent for storage).
  • Ensure that you have a well-functioning monitoring system to track and report on movement of supplies (waybill, bin card, stock report).
  • Ensure you have staff with skills in warehouse management.
  • Identify where you can get additional resources (forklift, extra labourers).


  • Be aware of customs procedures and regulations for importing goods.
  • Have a good freight forwarder, customs clearing agent or someone who understands customs regulations to help ease the customs process.
  • Check the possibility of a tax exemption. Do you have the relevant documentation required if goods need to be imported?
  • Check if some goods are prohibited or restricted (for example, communications equipment often needs licenses, some drugs might be banned)


  • Consider identifying a local partner for distributions.

Logisticians can assess the logistic capacities and assist in training/capacity building when needed.