Visit to Finnish Red Cross Logistics Centre with the Humanitarian logistics course students

(February 13th 2017)

As a part of Humanitarian logistics course, 16 students had the opportunity to visit the Finnish Red Cross logistics centre in Kalkku, Tampere. Ari Mäntyvaara, logistic coordinator, was the guide during the visit of the centre and shared with the participants some of his experiences of operations on the field.

1.jpg  Finnish Red Cross logistics centre is the only warehouse of FRC in Finland, which means that it is a very centralised system. Its location has been chosen as it is considered as the middle of Finland in terms of population repartition in the territory. The building used to be a factory facility, which was extended in 2009. Some additional outsourced warehouses are also used around Tampere.

In the Finnish Red Cross Logistics Centre, 15 people are working full time.

The students had the opportunity to visit 3 different areas of the centre:

  • Where donated clothing is sorted
  • Where material aid is stored
  • Where online shop goods are stored

And to know more about:

  • What is an Emergency Response Unit


  1. Where donated clothing is sorted

Here is where all the clothing donated in Finland is collected, checked, carefully packed and stored before being sent for the target countries. Clothing comes from private donors, either individuals or companies.


The Logistics Centre of the Finnish Red Cross offers subsidised work placements for the long-term unemployed people. This means that a part of the staff, around twenty people, is composed of people who used to be long-term unemployed and who need to receive support as they are for different reasons excluded from the regular job market. The Red Cross decides to give them the opportunity to work, but a part of the salary is paid by public money. The purpose is for the employees to gain working experiences, thus to have better chance to find a regular job and overall a better situation in the society. Through employing people in need, the Red Cross Finland is also having a positive impact locally.



  1. Where material aid is stored

The Logistics Centre maintains the Finnish Red Cross’ international ability to help.

This mission can be divided into 3 mains tasks:


  1. Taking care of the procurement needed for disaster relief and development cooperation activities.

The procurement rules are based on Finnish legislation, EU regulations and the rules of the Humanitarian Aid department of the European Commission (ECHO). In order to ensure a uniform quality of emergency aid, the international Red Cross has developed standards for the most commonly used aid products. The Finnish Red Cross ensure that all purchases are made cost-effectively and according to the indicators such as quality, suitability (regarding the context of the delivery countries), and time of delivery.


  1. Taking care of storage, packing and transport of aid supplies

Stocks are composed of tents, blankets, water cans, mosquito nets, hygiene packages…


The disaster preparedness in term of shelter capacity stored at the warehouse is composed of full shelter and NFI (non-food item) package for 2000 families (10000 people), this includes for example 2000 tents and 2000 kitchen sets.



  1. Maintaining a national stockpile for disasters

Aid supplies needed for sudden domestic disasters are also stored in the centre. The Finnish Red Cross has entered into an agreement for the storage of aid supplies with the National Emergency Supply Agency. The Finnish Red Cross procures and stores the items on behalf of the NESA, and makes sure that those are used on good time regarding their expiration date, while NESA provides the funding.


  1. Where online shop goods are stored

Red Cross Finland receives some funding by selling marketing products. Every product available in the online shop is carefully stored.
Red Cross Finland is also here having a positive impact on the local community as they are employing young people who are at the same time learning to become logistics professionals.


  1. What is an Emergency Response Unit?

When something happens, like a natural disaster, being able to provide solutions locally quickly and efficiently is crucial to help people in need and save lives. Emergency Response Units are created to respond to needs that are beyond the local, national, and regional Red Cross/Red Crescent capacities.


The Emergency Response Unit of Red Cross Finland is composed of:

  • General field hospital
  • Surgical field hospital
  • Basic health clinic; both fixed location and mobile versions
  • Relief
  • Logistics
  • IT and communication



The Finnish Red Cross is one of the only local Red Cross able to deploy a field hospital and this within two days.

At the end of the mission, the equipment remains in the country in order to support local actors improving their capacity.

Red Cross delegates are working together and supporting local Red Cross/Red Crescent staff and volunteers. Local Red Cross/Red Crescent is always the first to take action; they have the local knowledge and language skills.

Here is the list of international operations in which Red Cross Finland has been involved. In addition, Red Cross Finland has been and is really much involved in the reception of asylum seekers and refugees in Finland.