SWITZERLAND – In the spirit of love, Swissport International, a global leader in ground and air cargo services, has successfully orchestrated the movement of 9,000 tons of fresh roses for Valentine’s Day.

This accomplishment showcases the company’s logistical prowess in handling delicate and time-sensitive cargo.

Meanwhile, Avianca Cargo, a key player in the air cargo industry, reported a thriving Valentine’s Day season with nearly 18,000 tons of flowers transported from Colombia and Ecuador to the United States.

Doubling its regular capacity, Avianca Cargo operated around 300 flights during the season, making a substantial contribution to the flower industry.

Diogo Elias, Senior VP of Avianca Cargo, expressed pride in the team’s efforts, stating, “This Valentine’s Day season once again positions us as the leading cargo airline transporting flowers from Colombia to North America.”

The company invested in enhancing infrastructure in Miami, the flowers’ primary destination, to accommodate increased demand.

“In Bogota, Avianca Cargo implemented extended receiving hours for 24/7 service on the receiving lines, increased personnel in operations by 30 percent, and implemented a system with virtual scheduling that reduced cargo acceptance times by 56 percent compared to 2023,” Diogo Elias added.

Emphasizing the significance of the accomplishment, Elias highlighted, “This is an enormous effort by the Avianca Cargo team, inspired by the trust of our customers and with precise coordination with all the actors in the supply chain.”

Avianca Cargo’s success extends to breaking records in flower processing and delivery times in Miami, reducing them by an impressive 57 percent.

Furthermore, the company increased its perishable cargo depalletization capacity by 40 percent, showcasing its commitment to efficiency and service excellence.

The most exported flowers this season included roses and carnations from Bogota, pompons, hydrangeas, and chrysanthemums from Medellin, and roses, carnations, and gypsophila from Quito.

In a separate development, Kenya’s fresh produce exporters face challenges as European Union (EU) retailers intensify bans on airfreight to reduce carbon emissions.

Retailers, including Lidl, are scaling back air freight for fresh produce, impacting Kenyan exporters who rely heavily on-air transport.

Okisegere Ojepat, CEO of the Fresh Produce Consortium, expressed concerns about meeting tighter checks due to a lack of suitable transportation infrastructure. “We do not have ready aggregation centres, and there are no locomotives equipped with the requisite cold storage to transport our produce to the port for sea export,” Ojepat noted.

This shift to sea exports poses financial and logistical challenges for Kenyan exporters who traditionally rely on air transport for quicker market access.

Ojepat urged the government to expedite the establishment of aggregation centres and provide support for Kenya Railways to purchase locomotives suitable for fresh produce transportation.

Fresh produce, a significant source of foreign exchange for Kenya, faces obstacles in reaching European markets, highlighting the need for collaborative efforts to address emerging challenges in the supply chain.

As global logistics continue to evolve, the industry grapples with the intersection of demand, sustainability, and operational efficiency, shaping the future of international trade.

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