5.1 Defining transport needs

The logistics team will need to organise international and national transport options for the relief operations. Transport is the link in the logistics chain that ensures humanitarian assistance reaches its destination.

The supply chain usually involves different stages of moving goods with different transport options required at each stage, such as:

  • bringing relief supplies into the country
  • moving people
  • moving relief supplies from main warehouse to secondary warehouses or distribution points.

Getting emergency supplies from their point of origin to their final destination involves the combined use of different means of transport over air, land or water. Transport is also categorised as either national or international.

The logistics team must ensure that supplies reach their destination, safely and on time. Transport planning for relief operations must therefore consider the best option for getting supplies from one place to another and identify alternative means, methods and routes to counteract any identified risks associated with the primary means of transport.

When deciding which means of transport to use, consider:

  • How urgently are the supplies needed?
  • What types of supplies are being shipped?
  • How large and heavy is the shipment?
  • What distances must be traversed?
  • The cost (in consultation with the budget holder).