An Empirical Analysis of Humanitarian Warehouse Locations

Sander de Leeuw, Wing Yan Mok

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The purpose of this paper is to empirically verify characteristics of current warehouse locations of humanitarian organizations (based on public information) and to relate those to the model developed by Richardson, de Leeuw and Dullaert (2016). This paper is based on desk research. Public data such as (annual) reports and databases are used to determine the features of the location in empirical terms. We find that a significant proportion of our sample co-locates their products at UNHRD premises. This suggests that organizations prefer to cluster their warehouse activities, particularly when there is no fee involved for using the warehouse (as is the case in the UNHRD network). The geographic map of the current warehouses, together with the quantified location factors, provides an overview of the current warehouse locations. We found that the characteristics of the current warehouse locations are aligned with literature on location selection factors. Current location can be characterized by infrastructure characteristics (in particular closeness to airport and safety concerns) and by the low occurrence of disasters. Other factors that were considered by us but were not supported by empirical evidence were labor quality and availability as well as the political environment. In our study we were only able to use a limited sample of warehouses. We also focused our research on countries where two or more organizations have their warehouses located. We did not account for warehouse sizes or the kinds of products stored in our analysis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-76
JournalJournal of Operations and Supply Chain Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes

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