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

Fighting Hunger by Supporting Supply Chain Reforms in India

India operates one of the largest food safety nets in the world. Through the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS), the Government aims to provide around 800 million people with subsidized monthly household rations each year–that’s about 67% of India’s population.

One Month Since Malawi’s Disaster Declaration

One month after historic floods engulfed much of southern Malawi in January 2015, devastating the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of thousands, WFP continues to respond to the crisis by providing food assistance to flood-affected people and logistics support to the entire humanitarian community. 

One Woman's Story From The Mozambique Floods

Until the floods came, Esperança Gonçalves (34) had been living a quiet life, running her shop and earning enough to feed her family of six in Mocuba, Quelimane province, northern Mozambique.