November 5, 2019: Royal FloraHolland, KLM Cargo, and Schiphol Cargo, as part of the Holland Flower Alliance (HFA), are working to ensure that flowers can be transported in a more sustainable way by air. This includes information sharing and packaging.

HFA will be facilitating supply chain innovations to strengthen the Netherlands’ position as a hub for the international flower trade. As a first step, it will assess the high-volume traffic between Nairobi and Amsterdam, focusing on two main priorities: information sharing and packaging. Royal FloraHolland has a lot of members in Kenya.

When it comes to air transport of flowers, there is still much room for improvement in terms of information exchange between the various supply chain partners, HFA observes.

More effective exchange of supply chain information helps improve the process and reduce waste. Integrated, real-time supply chain data allows users to check on the flowers’ location and condition at all times. This helps to address any weak links in the supply chain and schedule flights more effectively.

There are over three hundred types of air cargo boxes in use, which is obviously very inefficient. Boxes come in all shapes and sizes. Some are made of substandard material, so there is always a risk the flowers will arrive in damaged condition. This is a good case for strength through unity.

HFA has set up a workshop to find out which boxes are currently in use and determine how the various links in the supply chain handle packaging materials. The many types of packaging make the loading process more difficult and cause damage to flowers throughout the supply chain, resulting in considerable financial losses. HFA’s work with the pilot group showed that standard boxes are not necessarily the only solution. The greatest gains can be achieved through a standardised packaging concept, which HFA has developed. Local growers stack their boxes on pallets, which can then be efficiently loaded onto the air cargo pallets. As tests have shown, the new packing concept improves aircraft loading efficiency by 15 percent.

Recently, the discussions at Flower Logistics Africa 2019 at Nairobi delved into flower trade sustainable practices in the changing economy, Kenya’s preparedness for big exports & new markets, and packaging innovations in flower transport.

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