On- and Off-Shore Prepositioning and Delivery Mechanism for Humanitarian Relief Operations

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Traditionally, international humanitarian organisations have used on-demand dispatch of disaster relief goods from regional logistics units (RLUs) for sudden onset disaster response. This paper investigates the improvements in efficiency and resilience of disaster relief operations by combining the existing method of onshore prepositioning of relief items in RLUs with offshore prepositioning of relief items on-board vessels and at seaport terminals. The problem is formulated as a linear programming model that incorporates different logistical costs, including inventory cost, replenishment cost, and transportation cost, to find the best combination of disaster relief methods. At the tactical level, the model determines how much and where disaster relief items need to be prepositioned. At the operational level, the model addresses how much and by which mode of transport the disaster relief items need to be transported to disaster points. The model is tested on 16 major disasters in Southeast Asia. The main finding is that offshore prepositioning can contribute to cost reduction and resilience without compromising on the speed or the scale of the response. The results also suggest that the benefits depend on the duration of the disaster emergency period and the ratio of offshore storage cost to onshore storage cost.


External organisations
  • BI Norwegian Business School
  • Norwegian Refugee Council
  • Texas A and M University
  • California State University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Transport Systems and Logistics
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6164-6182
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Production Research
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Publication categoryResearch