Perhaps logistics is something that goes unnoticed on most days when it’s taken for granted that everything will be delivered on time and without incident. But four weeks prior to the celebration of Valentine’s Day, is when the transport industry’s busy season begins. Logistics is central to the delivery of 160 million bouquets of flowers–one for every single girl and woman in the United States–produced in Ecuador, Colombia, Guatemala and Peru and shipped to the US, Europe or even Oceania. This is no easy feat, and requires handlers to load between 3,100 and 5,200 boxes on 144 Latam flights that are specially equpped to store Perishable products.
Latam introduced its Perishable service in 2016, and and ensures the delivery of biodegradable products using cold storage units and a strict schedule. For the Valentine’s Day holiday, Latam Cargo shipped 9,000 tons of flowers, roughly 21% of all flowers shipped from the region.
Weekly flights from the region to Miami International Airport triples during the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day,, as does the tonnage of flowers, increasing to nearly 900 tons per week from Botota, and 1,500 tons from Quito. In all, Colombia ships 4,200 tons of flowers during the seaso, and Ecuador another 4,700 tons.
The primary destination for this special and delicate product is the United States and Holland, and it is at Miami International Airport, where Latam Cargo’s cargo operations are headquartered. From this hub, flowers are parceled out to their final destinations across the United States, Europe via Amsterdam, and Oceania via Sydney, Australia.
As a general rule, Miami International Airport receives around 5,000 tons of flowers per week from Ecuador and Colombia, increasing the volume to 14,000 tons in the Valentine’s campaign. Red roses, chrysanthemums, pompoms and carnations are the main varietals transported during 2016, reaching nearly 100,000 tons, or 26% of the total worldwide market. In Latin America, there are several flower- producing countries including Peru, Costa Rica and Guatemala. The top two exporters, however, Colombia and Ecuador, export 42,000 tons of fresh flowers to more than 90 countries during the Valentine season.