When you think of the logistics of humanitarian aid there is no better United Nations agency in the world that documents, shares, and reports on the remarkable work they do than the World Food Programme (WFP). With a separate department devoted entirely to logistics, the WFP shares multiple ways in which they deliver food aid to those who desperately need it.
The WFP recently released its first annual logistics report that provides minute details about the air, sea, and surface transport used to deliver food as well as the cost-cutting measures they are taking to ensure monies that can be used for food aid is not frivolously spent on transport. For logistics geeks, the annual report is an eye-opening look into the way humanitarian food – most of which goes to Africa – is moved through the world. It is not easy nor is it inexpensive. In fact, the average cost to transport food is $100 per metric ton for sea delivery, $180 per metric ton per land delivery, and a whopping $3500 per metric ton for air drops. The World Food Programme’s logistics budget for 2012 was $986 million reaching 70 countries according to the report.
With such a massive workload of global humanitarian food distribution the World Food Programme is also tightening the way in which it monitors the food it provides to hungry populations. With a new system called LESS, the World Food Programme will be able to monitor all of its commodities online in one single system.
“LESS has empowered WFP country offices in Liberia and Sierra Leone, and their remote sub-offices and warehouses, with real-time supply chain management and commodity reporting capabilities. As two post-conflict countries, they are not the simplest places to deploy high-tech solutions, reaching far beyond the capitals. LESS accurately accounts for every kilogram of food; it records supply chain transactions all the way to the
beneficiaries’ own neighbourhoods. Extending this powerful capability throughout WFP will dramatically boost our efficiency and accountability,” said Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director, WFP.
The report also lays out the country donors that collectively provided $177 million to WFP Special Operations in 2012. The European Union donated the most with the United States coming in third place in donor monies. Additionally the private sector has donated to the humanitarian efforts including Caterpillar, PepsiCo, UPS, and Renault Trucks.
Visit the World Food Programme Logistics to learn more at www.wfp.org/logistics.