Shipping flowers by sea is hot. Therefore, this topic could not be left out at Siflor 2019, which took place on November 27 and 28 in Quito, Ecuador. At the second day of the event, Juan Yazbek of Agroideas Cia from Ecuador and Mauricio Gleiser of Vacuum Cooling from Colombia explained the benefits of vacuum cooling and announced their Certified Cold Chain Alliance to offer the same one stop shop.

Increase in sea shipments
The availability of space in airfreight has been a problem for Ecuadorian (and also Colombian) growers for several years now. Sea transport is a good alternative to air shipments, but the longer transit time used affects the quality, whenever using the regular air forced pre-cooling. However, not when vacuum cooling is used at origin. Ecuadorian company Agroideas Cia established the first vacuum cooling machine in Ecuador. And it seemed to be a good move. During the Valentine's and Mother's Day seasons alone, the tons of flowers processed by their vacuum cooling for the US market had a 270% growth with respect to the tons processed in 2018.

Benefits of vacuum cooling
At Siflor, manager of the company Juan Yazbek summarized the three main benefits of using vacuum cooling prior to shipping in maritime reefers. "First, it offers a breachless cold chain from origin to destination (34-36ºF), precluding dehydration, wilting, ethylene damages, etc for extended vase life and improved value. Secondly, it removes free moisture, precluding damages due to botrytis and other fungi. Finally, it reduces significant costs all along the year and much more on holidays."

Most shipments to the USA
Mauricio Gleiser of Vacuum Cooling Colombia, highlighted the fact that at this moment (after the Russian economics depression) Ecuador has in the USA their largest destination (about 45% of exports) and together with Colombia (exporting their 78%) into the USA. "Both countries fill up most of US flower supplies."

Chance to change consumers perception
Gleiser further explained that under these circumstances and on top of all the above mentioned benefits, it can change the consumer perception of low value that most of them have been used to - and particularly during the holidays.  "For the first time, this innovation would allow us to reach the US consumer with long-lasting and high quality flowers. That opens the possibility to gain everyday sales and even triple consumption to reach the levels of consumption per capita as they have in the UK and Europe."

One stop shop
At the Siflor, Agroideas (UIO, Ecuador) and Vacuum Cooling Colombia (with plants in BOG and MDE) also launched their Certified Cold Chain Alliance to offer the same one stop shop. "This consists of door to door package, including x-ray screening, consolidation, pallet building, vacuum cooling, reefer loading, truck (at origin and warehouse destination) and maritime transportation to main ports in USA or anywhere else in the world, using state-of-the-art technologies."

For more information
Vacuum Cooling Colombia LTD
Mauricio Gleiser

Agroideas Cia Ltda 
Juan Yazbek
Mob: +5939 92252440
Off:  + 5932 3949577 / 78
Skype: juan.yazbek