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:

  • 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 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.

Download the WFP Logistics brochure

Logistics Latest

Heads Up! Vegetable Oil Falls from the Sky in South Sudan

Heads Up!  Vegetable Oil Falls from the Sky in South Sudan

GANYIEL – The villagers in Ganyiel, a small village surrounded by swampland in southern Unity State of South Sudan, have become accustomed to seeing planes airdrop bags of cereal and pulses but seeing vegetable oil falling from the sky was something new. This happened in May when the  World Food Programme (WFP) carried out its first successful airdrop of vegetable oil.

Yemen: How is WFP supporting the humanitarian community?

Yemen: How is WFP supporting the humanitarian community?

Since the escalation of the conflict in Yemen, WFP has been working tirelessly to reach desperate families with life-saving food assistance. WFP is also helping humanitarian partners to deliver assistance by providing critical logistics support and services. Here are six ways that WFP is supporting the humanitarian community in Yemen:

Blog from the Field: Floods, Helicopters and Delivering WFP Food

Alastair is a logistics expert. He’s been working with us at WFP for almost 20 years in some of the most challenging emergency responses – from organizing the delivery of food aid in countries rocked by civil war, cyclones, earthquakes and floods to navigating the obstacles of providing humanitarian assistance during the Ebola Response.