Fresh-cut flowers are an important part of decorations around the world as it is used in events like marriages and funerals, along with gifts, during holidays like Christmas and Easter and occasions like the Valentine’s Day. According to Reportlinker, the global cut flowers market is estimated at $29.2 billion in 2020 and is projected to reach a revised size of $41 billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 5 per cent.
Like other perishables, fresh flowers also need air cargo to swiftly move them from the flower producing and re-exporting countries to its importing destinations. Unlike other commodities, flowers have a complex and sophisticated system of supply chain which requires an unbroken cold chain, specialised packaging and preferential handling treatments.
However, Covid-19 and followed lockdowns have completely destroyed the entire supply chain of flowers and even made the possible recovery difficult. First, government-imposed lockdowns and restrictions on gatherings evaporated demand in the market. Second, grounding of passenger flights reduced air cargo capacity with increased freight rates. Third, uncertainty in the market and huge losses has put the production houses of flowers under pressure.
Flowers are usually transported using freighter flights rather than passenger aircraft. The real fear among flower traders is that if airlines chose to follow the money they will lose more freighter space to other commodities and particularly Covid-19 vaccines as flowers come with very low margins.