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.

Every year WFP reaches more than 90 million beneficiaries in 74 countries. To achieve this goal, WFP relies on an impressive logistics capacity.

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:

  • 50 aircraft
  • 30 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 78 cargo 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 200 locations worldwide.

Download the WFP Logistics brochure

Logistics Latest

From Italy to Liberian Jungles: Follow the Ebola Cargo Trail

Another cargo plane is flying from the Italian coastal town of Brindisi to Monrovia, the capital of one of three West African countries being ravaged by the deadly Ebola disease. This aircraft - the fifth chartered plane to leave the UN Humanitarian Response Depot in Brindisi – is carrying more than USD$600,000 worth of equipment needed to respond to the crisis. Does it look like a bunch of big boxes? It is! But follow the cargo trail below to see how the cargo is reaching remote corners of Liberia and helping the Government, WHO and other organizations fight Ebola.

8 Loggies in Liberia You Need to Meet

More than ever before, the humanitarian community is relying on WFP’s logistics team as their ally in the fight against Ebola. International contributions are forthcoming and generous, but the success of this unique emergency response depends on getting critical supplies of protective gear, medical items, equipment and aid workers wherever they’re needed. WFP ‘loggies’ from UNHAS, UNHRD and the Logistics Cluster are working in overdrive. Meet eight of them in Liberia.

An Inside Look at WFP's Main Logistics Hub in Monrovia

Boxes filled with essential relief and supplies for the Ebola response are piled up in a Liberia basketball stadium, ready to be dispatched all over the country. They sit in front of the stands, where crowds of basketball fans would usually cheer on their team. The sounds of truck engines and pallets being moved now fill the air. This is the heart of the WFP’s main logistics hub in Monrovia.