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The ambivalent role of governments in humanitarian supply chains

2012-2-24, Kunz, Nathan, Reiner, Gerald, Grubbström, Robert, Hinterhuber, Hans

Humanitarian supply chains aim to deliver food and medicines to victims of natural or man-made disasters. Through a multiple case study research among four Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), we analyze the impact of import barriers imposed by governments on humanitarian supply chains. We find that, in the short term, import barriers have negative impacts on the performance of humanitarian logistics operations, and in the end, on beneficiaries, because they can create important delays and additional costs. However, we also find that in the long term, these barriers can have positive effects on the sustainability of humanitarian aid and the country’s economy, as they encourage NGOs to increase their local sourcing.