Crash Course in Humanitarian Logistics

Professor Maria Besiou during a presentation

Streams of refugees, hunger, and natural catastrophes are challenging the world community to an unheard-of extent. Due to the 50 million people worldwide who are fleeing their homelands now, humanitarian logistics’ fields of activity is expanding.

However, its main focus is still to provide assistance quickly and efficiently to any location in the world, at any time.

In October 2015, a logistics training session especially for aid organizations took place in Hamburg for the first time. With the support of Kühne Logistics University (KLU) and the Kühne Foundation, the Humanitarian Logistics Organisation (HLO) invited the representatives of eight relief organizations, including Johanniter, Malteser, Medikamentenhilfswerk, action medeor and arche nova, to a two-day training program at KLU.

“The program is targeted to non-profit organizations that send humanitarian aid from Germany and have little or no knowledge of logistics,” explained Dr. Maria Besiou, associate professor for humanitarian logistics at KLU. Besiou provided the participants with an overview of the current challenges and latest research in the field of humanitarian logistics. Experts from logistics companies explained the special features of the individual modes of transport on land, sea and in the air to them. “Our goal is to make planning and implementing future humanitarian aid shipments easier,” said Besiou. The team of experts was obviously very successful. “The training course was an excellent introductory course. It gave me insight into humanitarian logistics,” said Jan Klassen from Mission Aviation Fellowship at the end of the second course day.

The Humanitarian Logistics Organisation thanks lecturers Maria Besiou, Thorsten Busch, Thorsten Biermann and Marco Wehrle, and the Kühne Foundation for their wonderful support during the preparation and implementation of the workshop. The HLO and its partners plan to offer this training course regularly in the future. According to Besiou: “This crash course was a very promising beginning. However, the need is much greater.”

The Humanitarian Logistics Organisation (HLO) was founded in Hamburg in 2014. The non-profit organization has set itself the task of improving the logistics in the humanitarian area and supporting the non-profit sector in its efforts to implement and optimize aid activities worldwide.

Prof. Dr. Maria Besiou
Phone: +49 40 328 707…
Email: maria.besiou(at)

Humanitarian Logistics Organisation e.V.
Phone: +49 40 228 686 750
Email: info(at)