A steadily growing number of natural disasters is calling for a more efficient and effective handling of disaster relief operations. Since logistics accounts for up to 80% of the total relief expenditures of humanitarian organizations, it represents one of the main levers to achieve improvements in terms of cost, time and quality. In particular, investments in supply chain infrastructure and other preparations in the forefront of disasters are still limited, although they promise the highest return on investment. A general lack of coordination and cooperation between humanitarian organizations is among the issues criticized most. But why should and how could humanitarian organizations cooperate with each other in the area of disaster relief logistics?
This thesis investigates what synergies and potential types of benefit a horizontal cooperation between humanitarian organizations could produce, and what impediments to their realization exist. Potential solutions and concrete implementation guidelines are offered to overcome the main barriers identified. Three extensive case studies on logistics cooperation initiatives recently set up by major disaster relief and donor organizations provide deep insights into existing logistics structures of humanitarian organizations.
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