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

WFP recognized with award in truck fleet management

WFP recognized with award in truck fleet management

At the recent 2015 Fleet Forum Annual Conference, WFP’s Afghanistan team was recognized with an award for their achievements in delivering food to hard-to-reach locations – thanks to efficient and effective management of WFP-owned trucks.

From Port to Plate: The Critical Role Of Mersin, Turkey And WFP Logistics In The Syria Emergency

The World Food Programme (WFP) Staffer Victoria Clasen pens a guided tour of the enormous logistical effort behind the food assistance WFP provides to displaced communities inside Syria. Starting from a warehouse belonging to one of Turkey’s major food producers in Mersin, to the trucks and ships crossing borders to bring food to Syria, Clasen paints a vivid picture that culminates in WFP’s ultimate objective: food for conflict-affected families inside Syria.

Aspiring Humanitarians in Nepal

Aspiring Humanitarians in Nepal

In the aftermath of the recent Nepal earthquake, a group of six local women found their way to WFP's Humanitarian Staging Area in Kathmandu, determined to support the humanitarian operation in any way they could. With a little luck, plenty of determination and the guidance of a seasoned logistician, it wasn't long before the women were managing stocks, driving forklifts and doing just what they came to do.