The majority (70%) of flowers that Saudia Cargo transports are roses, Pedersen says. Other types of flowers that it carries are chrysanthemums, alstromeria, hydrangea, carnations, lilies and gypsophila.
Kenya is Saudia Cargo’s largest flower origin market in Africa; Ethiopia and South Africa are the other notable flower exporting origin markets. Of the flowers exported from Kenya, 90% are transported to markets of the Netherlands and Belgium. The remaining 10% are moved to Saudia Arabia.
Impact of the pandemic
Pedersen says the pandemic has resulted in reduced flower production. “Flower production on farms is labour-intensive,” he explains. “Social distancing requirements has had an impact on production levels and in turn, on what is able to be transported.”
Additionally, he says, flower markets have been significantly reduced with the lockdowns in various markets such as the EU. Shortages of skilled staff, caused by quarantine requirements, are also affecting flower supply chains.
Business as usual
Pedersen says Saudia Cargo is transporting other kinds of perishables, such as fruit and fresh meat, to make best use of capacity and to substitute the reduction of flower volumes.
Additionally, where possible, it is using digital documents to overcome the challenges presented by physical documents (for example, documents being lost, or contact limitations due to the coronavirus).
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