Oftentimes the last leg of WFP’s supply chain ends with surface transport. Moving food through a network of road, rail and river, WFP delivers to the some of the most remote and inaccessible areas of the world. Navigating rough and hostile terrains, some 3,000 logisticians with unrivalled local knowledge manage an expansive network of trucks, trains, and barges in over 70 countries. The ability to go that final mile has earned WFP Logistics its reputation as the world’s leading humanitarian logistics provider.
Roads and bridges
On any given day, WFP has approximately 5,000 trucks on the road – making land transport the most common form of WFP’s logistical line. Across the Sahara desert or through the jungles of Cameroon, WFP uses its own fleet as well as those of commercial transporters when possible. Heavy duty and all-terrain trucks ensure that WFP brings food through humanitarian corridors all over the world, making these roads, paths and trails the lifelines for millions of beneficiaries.
In times of natural or man-made disasters, such as earthquakes, droughts or civil conflict, WFP Logistics experts are often called upon to repair roads and bridges, and when required will call in civil engineers to co-ordinate rehabilitation and repair work. If necessary, they will even construct new roads.
Rail and rivers
While roads are an important means of transport, they are not the only way that food arrives at its destination. In some countries, WFP transports food entirely by rail while in others, their primary form of transport could be via river barges.
Where trains are available, they remain an effective way of moving large volumes of food aid to where it's needed. WFP Logistics works closely with railway authorities to ensure that the rail capacity available is used effectively, coordinating the use of trains in several regions to supplement limited trucking capacity.
WFP also taps into river networks to transport food aid. In DRC, river transport forms the primary transport infrastructure in this vast and logistically challenging country. Barges loaded with WFP food travel the Congo and Kasai rivers and their tributaries every day, ensuring the needs of WFP’s beneficiaries are met.
Some places are so remote that they are just not reachable by conventional means of transport, in particular in difficult weather conditions. Depending on the local circumstances, WFP Logistics will always seek to use the most practical, efficient and economic means of transport and in some cases, that means using animals.
• In Pakistan, mules have been used to ferry food to remote villages in the mountains.
• In Nepal, WFP Logistics has turned to yaks.
• In the mountainous Andes, supplies have been packed on to the backs of donkeys.
• Camels are often used to transport food aid in the Sudan.
In countries with limited infrastructure, WFP can offer logistics services such as storage and transport to humanitarian organisations and governments on a cost recovery basis. Each request will be taken into consideration at the local office level, and consideration will be given to the current workload of WFP operations before any service can be performed. To inquire about logistics services in a particular country, please contact the local WFP Country Office, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.