The main objective of this study is to investigate the inclusion of lateral transhipment opportunities into the humanitarian relief chain and to examine the effect of different parameters on minimizing the average distance travelled per item while serving the beneficiaries. Direct shipment model (DT), lateral transhipment model (LTSP) and maritime lateral transhipment model (MLTSP) are developed and compared between each other by using a real life earthquake scenario prepared for the city of Istanbul by JICA (Japanese International Cooperation Agency). Developed mathematical models decide on the locations and number of disaster relief facilities, quantity of relief items to hold at those facilities, and quantity of lateral transhipment between the facilities. Vulnerability of the roads and heterogeneous capacitated facilities are also considered. It can be concluded that both LTSP and MLTSP models gave better results than DT model and lateral transhipment option helps beneficiaries to obtain relief items faster and with higher service level. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.