LATAM strategic South American expansion boosts flower shipments

This Valentine’s Day love is in the air, like the yearly shipments of holiday flowers.

LATAM Cargo flew more than 210 767-300F aircraft out of Colombia and Ecuador, carrying 12,600 tons of flowers for the 2020 Valentine’s Day season, the carrier said in a press release. This year’s figure represents a growth of 45% year over year. LATAM attributed the increase to a strategy it implemented in 2019 that expanded its cargo operations with an increase in flight frequencies to Colombia and Ecuador.

LATAM Cargo nearly tripled its export offerings between Bogota (BOG) and Miami (MIA), from six to 15 weekly flights. In Medellin (MDE), the company maintains its presence with six-per-week frequencies to MIA. On the import side, LATAM Cargo opened the MIA-Cali (CLO) route with two weekly frequencies, to provide a greater flow of cargo from North America and a new gateway to Colombia. The company will soon announce new routes from the United States to Colombia, in addition to BOG and CLO.

This year, roses, mixed bouquets and carnations were the stars of the flower season, which extended from the week of Jan. 14 and through Feb. 10, according to the press release. Colombia and Ecuador were the main producers, and their flowers were shipped to the United States, the Netherlands and China, among other destinations. Chrysanthemums, irises, gypsophila and greenery were also big hits this season, mostly coming from BOG, MDE and Quito (UIO), and heading to markets in North America, Europe, Oceania, South America and Asia.

LATAM Cargo operated 110 flights out of Columbia after adding 38 new frequencies to its normal operation during this period, and in Ecuador it operated 100 flights, with 58 frequencies more than regular operation during these four weeks.

In all, the operation was 2.2 times larger than an ordinary week in Colombia and 3.5 times larger in Ecuador, totaling 6,600 tons of flowers transported from Colombia and 6,000 tons from Ecuador.

The main consumer of fresh flowers was the United States, with 90%, or 11,300 tons, of all flowers transported by LATAM. Demand went up 65% compared with a regular period, and 45% compared with Valentine’s Day 2019. Other importing markets include: the Netherlands and, to a lesser extent, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Madrid, Sydney, New York, Santiago and New Zealand.

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