As the cut flower industry has steadily migrated from local to regional to global, cold chains have had to adapt big time. FlowerWatch, a Dutch-Kenyan company, is at the forefront of setting industry standards for this supply chain. Improving the cold chain means a longer shelf life for the flowers, less waste, less spoilage. Growers can delay harvest, which means flowers are a bit more mature and larger. All that translates into significant revenue improvement and better auction prices.
“If you produce a million stems a week and your average price at auction increases from 20 cents a stem to 21 cents, that’s a million cents a week, that’s big money,” said Jeroen van der Hulst, FlowerWatch’s managing director. He spoke to American Journal of Transportation by telephone from his office in Nairobi.
“We can now benchmark our data, one farm against another, one supply chain against another, or just in general against FlowerWatch standards,” van der Hulst said.
This can result, he said, in flower growers demanding better temperature-control from those up and down the supply chain. Van der Hulst pointed to the fast-growing Kenyan flower industry and to Nairobi airport, which now exports 4,500 to 5,000 tons of perishable cargo a week. “The freight forwarders have invested massively in facilities,” he said, because shippers now require heightened, measurable performance. “A shipper will ask a freight forwarder - I want you to perform in 500 degree hours or 200 degree hours.”