Carriers add charters for Valentine’s Day flower demand surge

It’s T-minus 3 days until Valentine’s Day, and the international logistics industry is gearing up for the seasonal spike in demand for the perishable currency of the Hallmark holiday. You guessed it – flowers.

Many carriers working within networks that encompass major exporting regions of roses and tropical buds – e.g. East Africa and South America – offer additional services just to address the flux in demand from markets in Europe and North America.

Emirates SkyCargo is one such airline. Today, it said it has added nine 777 freighter flights out of Nairobi (NBO) and Quito (UIO) on top of its existing operations for the weeks preceding the holiday.

Earlier this year, SkyCargo launched a new freighter route from “Nairobi directly to Sydney and from Quito directly to Los Angeles” to bolster its perishables network. The airline’s program, Emirates Fresh Breathe, specializes in regulating the cool-chain of pre-assembled bouquets (pictured.)

UPS has also boosted its frequencies – adding a total of 50 charter flights during the period of heightened demand. It said it expects to deliver some 89 million flowers in time for Feb. 14 – an increase of about 1 million flowers from the quantity it delivered last year, which would add up to more than 4,000 tonnes of fragile, temperature-sensitive blossoms.

The integrator sources its flowers from Ecuador and Colombia and channels them to the U.S. through Miami International Airport (MIA), a process that the integrator says takes less than two days.

The company cited data from the National Retail Federation, which said that U.S. consumers will likely spend an estimated US$20.7 billion this week, up from $19.6 billion last year, on gifts for Valentine’s Day, of which about $1.9 billion is spent on flowers.

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