Often, the last leg of WFP’s supply chain ends with surface transport. WFP delivers to the some of the most remote and inaccessible areas of the world by moving food through a vast network of road, rail, and river. Some 3,000 logisticians with unrivalled local knowledge manage an expansive network of trucks, trains, and barges in over 70 countries across rough and hostile terrains. The ability to go that final mile has earned WFP 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. 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 emergencies such as earthquakes, droughts or civil conflict, WFP Logistics experts are often called upon to build or repair infrastructure for local communities. When required, WFP will repair or build roads and bridges and will even call in civil engineers to coordinate rehabilitation and repair work when required.
Rail and rivers
In some countries, WFP transports food entirely by rail while the primary form of transport is via river barges in other regions.
Where trains are available, railroads remain an effective way of moving large volumes of food aid to where it's needed. WFP Surface Transport works closely with railway authorities to ensure that the rail capacity available is used effectively and effeciently to supplement limited trucking capacity in a region.
WFP also taps into river networks to transport food aid. In DRC, river transport is the primary mode of transport in such a vast and logistically challenging country. Barges loaded with WFP food travel the Congo, the Kasai and their tributaries every day, ensuring that those in some of the most inacessible areas are reached.
Some areas are so remote that they are just not reachable by conventional means of transport, particularly during natural disasters and difficult weather conditions. Depending on the local circumstances, WFP will always seek to use the most practical, efficient and cost-effective means of transport. 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, including 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 inqurie about logistics services in a particular country, please contact the local WFP Country Office or contact firstname.lastname@example.org