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

Bringing school supplies to the children of Gaza

Students from Gaza are benefitting from a delivery of school supplies this week, as they begin a new academic year. A humanitarian convoy recently brought these supplies along with other relief items including cooking oil, flour and bed sheets.

Supporting the Ebola Response: An Interview with a WFP Logistician

Alastair Cook is a WFP logistician deployed to Monrovia, Liberia to support much needed food deliveries across the country, where WFP has reached over 43,000 people since the beginning of July. We were able to speak with Alastair about how things are going in Liberia, and this is what he had to say:

Combatting Malaria in Zambia, One Mosquito Net at a Time

During 2013 and 2014, the Government of Zambia is undertaking the mass distribution of nearly nine million insecticide-treated mosquito nets, distributing to all provinces across the country. Working together with donors, the UN community, faith-based organizations, civil society, and the private sector, all of the country's ten provinces will be covered.