Logistics


Desert, swamp or jungle, to get food to the hungry, WFP's logistics team has to negotiate some of the toughest terrain on the planet.

On average, WFP reaches more than 80 million people with food assistance in 75 countries each year.

When the areas needing food are not accessible by road, rail or river, other methods are brought into play. An emergency may require a cargo drop from aircraft or a helicopter airlift, but there are other options too. Locally engaged porters, as well as teams of elephants, yak, donkeys and camels are also used when necessary. 

Always on the move

On any given day WFP operates an average of:

  • 70 aircraft
  • 20 ships
  • 5,000 trucks

The different ways WFP transports food can be grouped into three categories: surface transport, shipping and aviation

Rapid response

About half the food distributed by WFP is sourced directly within the country or region where it is needed. The other half, sourced internationally, is shipped by sea and unloaded in more than 70 ports around the world.

Thanks to a range of strategies, WFP is always able to provide a rapid response to hunger emergencies. A key element in this response is the WFP-managed network of UN Humanitarian Response Depots. These are hubs, positioned near disaster-prone areas around the world, where emergency supplies are stored in readiness.

Serving the humanitarian community

WFP's expertise in logistics meant that in 2005 the agency was mandated to lead logistics operations whenever a humanitarian emergency requires a joint response from UN agencies and the humanitarian community. The group of agencies or organisations which work together is called the Logistics Cluster.

WFP also provides passenger air transport to the entire humanitarian community through the UN Humanitarian Air Service (see video on right), which goes to more than 250 locations worldwide.

Key Logistics Documents

Logistics Latest

How Did WFP Logistics Rise To The Challenges Of 2014?

How Did WFP Logistics Rise To The Challenges Of 2014?

The World Food Programme (WFP) faced an unprecedented number of large-scale emergencies in 2014, from the ongoing crises of Syria and South Sudan to the multiple challenges of the Ebola response.

Five Ways Logistics Is Going Green

The World Food Programme (WFP) relies on its logistics capacity to reach an average of 80 million people each year. While speed and planning are essential, WFP is also committed to environmentally sustainable operations wherever possible. Below are five key ways that WFP's logistics is going green.

Going The Distance To Deliver In Malawi

Going The Distance To Deliver In Malawi

In response to the 2015 floods disaster in Malawi, the WFP co-led Logistics Cluster has teamed up with the government and communities to deliver vital relief assistance.