Humanitarian Insights

Master of Advanced Studies in Humanitarian Logistics and Management

Data: 17 Ottobre 2017 / 18:00 - 19:00

USI | A-11

Insights from Centre-of-Gravity Analysis in Network Design Pre-positioning Emergency Relief.

The current UNHRD (United Nations Humanitarian Response Depot) network will be the basis of the discussion.

Gerard de Villiers

Professional Transportation Engineer, Arup Consultants

External Lecturer, University of Pretoria, South Africa


The efficiency of emergency relief depends to a large extent on the availability of the right goods at the right time in the right condition and in sufficient quantities at the right place. There is usually very little time to reorder incorrect items or replenish inadequate quantities, but at the same time, the emergency response supply chain should not be burdened with unnecessary stock, especially in the wrong place.

Centre-of-gravity analysis has been used very effectively in commercial network designs and the development of suitable channel strategies. De Villiers will explain the usefulness of applying this concept to emergency response situations. He will start with a discussion of network design and continue with an overview of disaster event locations, and why it is important to establish pre-positioning facilities for emergency relief items at the correct locations.

The current UNHRD (United Nations Humanitarian Response Depot) network will be the basis of the discussion, with the location of disaster events in Africa as a case study to suggest how centre-of-gravity analysis can be usefully applied. The talk will end with a brief reference to channel strategies and how each strategy can be aligned with an appropriate network.

The presentation will be followed by a Q&A session.


Speaker Profile

Gerard is a professional transportation engineer for almost 38 years and specialises in transport economics, logistics and supply chain management at Arup Consultants since May 2011 in Johannesburg, after four years as Chief Logistics Officer of World Vision International.

He started his career as a railway engineer in 1979 and subsequently spent time at various consulting engineering companies in transport, transport economics, humanitarian logistics, freight logistics and supply chain management projects.

He was logistics specialist from 2004 to 2005 at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research where he served as co-leader of the team that developed the first Freight Logistics Strategy for South Africa. More recent projects include project leader for the development of a container terminal strategy for Transnet Gauteng terminals, the Regional Corridor Development Strategy study for the Department of Transport and the North-South Corridor Rail Pre-Feasibility study from Lubumbashi in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to Durban in South Africa.

Gerard has various local and international post-graduate qualifications and teaches part-time at the University of Pretoria as well as the University of Lugano in Switzerland. He was Honorary Professor at the University of Pretoria from 2009 to 2011.

He is a Fellow of SA Institution of Civil Engineering, member of many other local and international vocational societies and has presented technical papers at conventions, seminars and vocational societies in South Africa, the US, and Australia. He has also contributed to "Business Logistics Management" textbook published in 2002 as well as co-editing "Strategic Logistics Management," published in 2008 and revised in 2016. He also provided input to "Land Use Management and Transportation Planning," published in 2015 and "Transportation, Land Use and Integration: Applications in Developing Countries, published in 2017.