Today’s Pickup: UN preps logistics surge to feed 4 million in Zimbabwe

Good day,

A United Nations agency stands ready to undertake a massive humanitarian logistics effort to feed 4.1 million people in Zimbabwe amid a worsening hunger crisis but said it needs millions of dollars to pay for food.

The World Food Program warned on Dec. 30 that continued droughts and an economic crisis will intensify food shortages in the African country in 2020. The agency said it needs more than $200 million to double the number of Zimbabwweans it serves.

“While WFP now has the staff, partners, trucking and logistics capacity in place for a major surge in Zimbabwe, it is essential that we receive the funding to be able to fully deliver,” said Niels Balzer, deputy country director in Zimbabwe. “The lives of so many depend on this.”

WFP said it will need about 440 million pounds of food. A significant portion of that will need to be sourced from outside of Africa and shipped to South Africa or Mozambique before traveling to Zimbabwe via truck, the agency said.

Did you know?

The top 10 U.S. ports handled 17.55 million twenty-foot equivalent units through October, a 1.1% increase from the same period in 2018.


“I am tired of being persecuted in California for being a truck driver.”

Brian Gray, a trucker who recently left California for Oklahoma in the face of a new labor law, AB5, which limits the use of independent contractors.

In other news:

Uber, Postmates sue over California’s AB5

Uber and Postmates have filed a lawsuit to challenge AB5, a California labor law that limits use of independent contractors. (Los Angeles Times)

Georgia Tech football recruit dies after being struck by a freight train

A 17-year-old four-star football recruit for Georgia Tech died after a freight train struck him in Florida. (USA Today)

Video captures truck hijacking

A harrowing video captured criminals wearing fake police uniforms hijacking a truck in South Africa. (The South African)

Moscow trucks in fake snow for New Year’s

Authorities in Moscow resorted to trucking in fake snow for New Year’s celebrations on account of unusually warm weather. (Independent)

Belarus truckers get more permits for Poland

The Belarusian government has issued a larger number of permits for truckers to go to Poland. (Belarus Telegraph Agency) 

Final thoughts:

The World Food Program runs robust humanitarian logistics operations across the world in some of the more dangerous and unforgiving locations.

The U.N. agency reports that on a typical day it manages 5,600 trucks, 20 ships and 92 aircraft. Its global network includes 650 warehouses and 800 of its own trucks.

Hammer down, everyone!