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

Four Ways WFP's Supply Chain Expertise is Fighting Post-Harvest Losses

Four Ways WFP's Supply Chain Expertise is Fighting Post-Harvest Losses

Global food production has reached an all-time high, however one-third of all food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted - approximately 1.3 billion tons. Post-harvest food loss is one of the leading causes of food insecurity for millions of farm families around the world, impacting their nutrition, health, and financial stability.

Here’s how the World Food Programme's supply chain expertise is helping to achieve Zero Loss for Zero Hunger:

I’m a Humanitarian Air Transport Officer – Here Is What I Do and Why

I’m a Humanitarian Air Transport Officer – Here Is What I Do and Why

As Chief Air Transport Officer, Pascal Vuillet leads operations for the WFP-managed UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) in Ethiopia. UNHAS provides passenger air services for the humanitarian community, enabling them to reach and carry out life-saving work with isolated populations in some of the world's most remote and challenging locations that are not served by commercial airlines. He took the time recently to speak with us about his job, the highlight of his time working for WFP, and what it takes to head operations in Ethiopia every day. This is what he had to say.

What It Takes To Reach The Remote Corners Of Chad

What It Takes To Reach The Remote Corners Of Chad

Nestled in a far eastern corner of Chad lies the dusty town of Goz Beida. It's vast, orange-colored landscape stretches as far as the eye can see, and is particularly noticeable from the sky. For the thousands of humanitarian workers who travel to Chad each year, flying is often the only way to reach more than 2.4 million food-insecure Chadians and around 500,000 refugees and asylum seekers throughout the country.