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HLA Annual Dinner & Participation at Aidex 2013

The HLA held its traditional annual dinner at Brussels in conjunction with Aidex. This year’s dinner had the largest ever turnout – a reflection of the increasing development of a true“community of practice” of like-minded humanitarian logisticians & associated professionals, which is one of the aims of the HLA. It was a truly multinational and multicultural gathering, with a vibrant exchange of ideas,opinions, best practices and plenty of useful networking. The celebrations were however understandably low key in view of the tragedy of the developing situation in the Philippines, which many of our colleagues were responding to.

Photos from the HLA Dinner: Top – Chairman, George Fenton addressingthe gathering

This was then followed by the 2days of the Aidex Expo and Conference; wherein the HLA had its own stand to provide information about our programs and activities & to sign up new members to the community.

The HLA would like to take this opportunity to thank the volunteers that helped staff the stand. Significant visitor numbers were recorded and several useful new connections made. Beyond that it was pleasant to witness the homely atmosphere at the stand which served as a “hub” for several members visiting the Expo.

Pic: Chairman, George Fenton at the HLA Stand at Aidex 2013



The Humanitarian Logistics Association [HLA] held its first GeneralAssembly for the Asia Region in Bangkok, Thailand on the 29th January 2013. TheTheme for the conference was “Challenges & Opportunities – Learning fromexperience” with an emphasis on promoting Performance, Efficiency andProfessionalization in Humanitarian Logistics.

The conference was held at the Impact Convention Centre in Bangkok in partnership with, and sponsored by the RMA Group and Aid & InternationalDevelopment Forum (AIDF) and was well attended by an exceptional mix of representatives from industry, academia and other stakeholders. A total of 55 delegates with a range of backgrounds in the humanitarian sector from across the world and particularly Asia, ensured that the deliberations and discussions were well rounded and truly representative of the current trends influencing the sector.

Pic: Delegates, Speakers& HLA Trustees at the HLA General Assembly 2013

Conference Program Details:

Monday 28th January

18:30 – 21:00                 Participant Networking – Informal Cocktails


Tuesday 29th January 

Moderator: Mitsuko Mizushima, HLA Trustee / Director

08:30 – 09:00


09:00 – 09:10

Opening Remarks

George Fenton, HLA Trustee / Chairman

09:10 – 09:40

09:40 – 10:00

Supporting Disaster Preparedness – HLA Programmes:

Maggie Heraty,  HLA Trustee / Director & Martijn Blansjaar, Oxfam GB / HLA Advisory Committee Member

The Need to Professionalize

Inter-Agency Logistics Career Pathway Project

Mike Goodhand, Head of Logistics, British Red Cross / HLA Trustee

10:00 – 10:30


10:30 – 11:00

11:00 – 11:15

11:15 – 11:40

11:40 – 12:00

CILT / Fritz Institute  humanitarian logistics certification programmes

Nathalie Butcher, Fritz Institute

Kuehne Foundation Humanitarian Logistics Training Initiative

Dr Robert de Souza, Executive Director, The Logistics Institute, National University of Singapore

Role of ASEAN Humanitarian Assistance Centre in Disaster Response

Arnel Capili, Emergency Preparedness & Response Officer, AHA

Logistics Capacity Building

Supply & Logistics (Performance) Evaluation Tool

Rebecca Vince, Supply & Logistics Advisor, Oxfam GB

12:00 – 13:30


13:30 – 14:30

14:30 – 15:15

Humanitarian Logistics in Asia – The Role of HLA, Working As  A Community of Practice

Break out discussion topics/groups:

-      Engaging front line logisticians in asia

-      training & education in asia

-      professional development in asia

-      research & development in humanitarian logistics

Report Back from Break Out Groups

15:15 – 15:45      


Learning from Asia

15:45 – 16:10                

16:10 – 16:35

16:35 – 17:00

Food Banks in Asia – Managing the Supply Chain

Charles McJilton, CEO, Second Harvest ASIA

Freight Forwarding and Logistics Support for Disaster Response

David Yokeum, President, World Cargo Alliance

Transport  Operations in Asia – A Supplier’s Perspective

What’s been learned so far?

Phil Jones, RMA Group

17:00 – 17:30

Closing Remarks

18:00 – 20:00

Participant Networking – Informal Cocktails

Thursday 31st January      AIDF Event Venue (Focus Stream)

09:45 – 11:00

Humanitarian Logistics Professionalization

Building upon and sharing our discussions

HLA Team

Highlights & KeyFindings (Thematic Grouping):

HLA Centric: Strong interest & support in Asia for the HLA and itsmission. Many participants expressed interest in the Red Dot program with itsgoal to create local networks and candidates from four countries volunteered tobe a focal point.    There are highexpectations from the HLA in terms of providing support to its members in Asiathrough effective programming and in raising the profile of logisticians in thehumanitarian sector. We take this as an encouragement and a challenge tocontinue this momentum.

Professionalization: 3 key strands defining humanitarian logisticians’competences were highlighted – Technical, Soft Skills & Humanitarianism. Ahealthy debate ensued on the facets of the humanitarian strand including how itcan be defined and developed through training. The Asian cultural perspectivecame up in terms of how humanitarian logistics can be best showcased as anattractive career option in Asia – where career choice & education are anoverarching paradigm. The need to highlight real life examples of successfultransitions into & from the humanitarian logistics sector was also identified.Overall there was a strong consensus and support for the career pathway projectand the need to involve other key stakeholders.

Training & Education: The increasing availability of professionaleducation & training programs in the sector was appreciated as a positivedevelopment. The Fritz Institute’s pioneering effort in providing practicaltraining backed by theoretical knowledge was lauded and welcomed by the Asiandelegates as a very important training option. The Logistics Institute’s (NUSsupported by Kuehne Foundation) array of offerings including publications,research, reports and training initiatives in Asia holds promise to yieldseveral new exciting partnership opportunities.

Performance & Efficiency: The need for and availability of standardised& objective performance evaluation and management tools in the sector issignificant. Delegates were impressed with the best practice sharing of theOxfam team’s SLEAT tool & experiences & their willingness tocollaborate on such initiatives. A need was also expressed for the HLA to bethe facilitator for such cross organizational sharing & for provision ofbasic templates and tools for the less resourced members. 

Asian Case Studies:  The effortsof two young Asia centric organisations – the ASEAN Humanitarian AssistanceCentre & Second Harvest Asia were showcased as case studies from Asiademonstrating the innovation and efforts of this region to develop resourcesand infrastructure in the humanitarian sector; of particular interest was theunique challenges of logistics in the region – characterised by greaterurbanisation than other developing regions & the use of technology indeveloping solutions to these problems. Through this conference, it is hopedthat these two highly promising organisations build new linkages and achievegreater visibility.

Private Sector Partnerships & Collaboration: A relatively new optionfor freight forwarding was presented to the audience in the form of thesweeping new trend of global freight forwarder associations being able toprovide a credible alternative to multinational global forwarders. The pros andcons of such groupings as the World Cargo Alliance (WCA), acting as serviceproviders for the humanitarian sector were discussed. Advantages included thedeep local expertise of the members of such associations & competitivepricing due to lower overheads. Concern areas included the risks to globalsupply networks that most NGO’s operate, the perceived lack of end to endsupply network visibility and control and the commercial risks of working withsmaller companies. It will be incumbent on such associations to improve theirsystems and guarantees based on the feedback received.

The RMA Group also presented an interesting overview of the latestdevelopments in humanitarian sector fleet and transportation arena & theAsian nuances of humanitarian operations.


The conference succeeded in achieving its core objectives of sharing andunderstanding the current pressing issues in humanitarian logistics withparticular emphasis on the Asian context. The participative nature of the conference afforded ample opportunitiesfor members to form relationships and professional partnerships. Thisconference served to build on the learnings from previous HLA conferences inAfrica & Europe to forge a deeper & more global understanding of thekey issues facing the sector.  This willultimately benefit all the members of the association through strengthening theplatform for advocacy and professionalization on a wider global scale.


For a full list of the delegates, soft copies of the presentations,conference photographs & other material please log in to the members areaof the HLA website. The Board of the HLA would like to take this opportunity tothank the sponsors, speakers, delegates, volunteers and everyone else involvedfor engaging effectively to make the conference a resounding success.  The various feedback received are very muchappreciated and will  make the HLA anever more responsive and representative voice of the Humanitarian Logistician!

We look forward to meeting again in 2013 at AIDF Washington DC, DIHADand AIDEX. Please continue to check the website and your emails for furtherdetails re. HLA’s potential participation at these events. 

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