Say it with airfreight


With Valentine’s Day fast approaching handler Swissport says that 9,000 tons of blossoms travel safely through its Flower Corridor, from the Kenyan highlands to Europe.

Every week, 400 to 500 tons of cargo, 85% of which are fresh flowers, normally pass through Swissport’s 10,400 square meter cargo centre at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Kenya, but this volume increases by over 50% in the run-up to Valentine’s Day. The facility is IATA CEIV Fresh-certified.

Swissport says its Flower Corridor has transformed the handling of fresh-cut flowers connecting Nairobi with key locations in Europe such as Liege, Brussels, and Amsterdam, as well as markets in the Middle East and the Far East. Delivery trucks dock at the hermetically sealed gateway, which connects to the temperature-controlled perishables centre. After immediate unloading, flowers undergo temperature screening and are assembled into ULDs before transport to the cold room for aircraft loading.

American Airlines Cargo meanwhile said it had moved more than 1.2 million lbs of flowers ahead of Valentine’s Day.

Out of Europe, Amsterdam Schiphol remained the top origin for flowers this year. Top destinations for Dutch blooms include Boston, Dallas/Fort Worth New Yoerk JFK, Los Angeles, Miami and Chicago O’Hare.

American also shipped significant volumes of flowers out of Latin America. Bogota had the highest volume, followed by Quito and Medellin heading to key destinations in the including Boston, Dallas and Phoenix.

Valentine’s Day is the first date in the year where American sees notable flower volumes, followed by the Emperor’s Birthday in Japan, Easter, Mother’s Day in the U.S. and Europe, All Saints Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

And Dallas Forth Worth (DFW) airport said that the flowers and bouquets purchased across the North Texas region on Valentine’s Day will be a lot fresher thanks to the efforts of the gateway and Qatar Cargo.

DFW handles a special cargo flight that transports approximately 12 tons of fresh-cut flowers from South America to Texas every week on a Boeing 777-200F flight from Bogota, Colombia. The flight began last spring after DFW worked with Qatar Cargo to launch a special cargo operation that filled a need to supply the local market with flowers.

Vice president airline relations, Milton De La Paz, explained: “We saw a gap in the marketplace for delivery of fresh flowers to the North Texas area that was historically done by trucks that took far longer and resulted in products with significantly reduced shelf life. With our state-of-the-art cold chain facilities and strategic location, DFW is well-equipped to bring in-demand imports to the Metroplex and the state. Qatar Cargo seized the opportunity to supply the region with fresh flowers direct from Colombia.”

Direct delivery to DFW means approximately 2-3 days of additional shelf life.


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