Logistics is one of the most crucial steps in distributing flowers and plants. The floral industry is vast and varied, with different flowers being imported from multiple countries, and the journey from local farms to customers’ vases is not easy.
The logistic procedure starts from the local farmer to the distributors, wholesalers, retailers, and customers. This supply chain is long, and any broken link can disrupt the entire process as flowers are highly-perishable products. Any error or delay can impact the quality and availability of flowers.
Capacity and labor shortages
One of the significant issues in logistics in the floral industry is the capacity and labor shortages due to the rising demand for imports and exports in the COVID-19 pandemic. Flowers are highly perishable products, and even a slight delay can affect their quality, such as issues like minimum space, delayed flight, and offload due to technical reasons. Moreover, the logistics department is also facing labor shortages. From port workers to truck drivers, employees are retiring at an unprecedented rate. The only solution is to automate the procurement of shipping carriers so workers can shift focus toward other tasks.
Flower packaging and handling
Flowers are delicate and thus require maximum upkeep and post-harvest treatment to ensure they reach the customers in the right conditions. After being harvested, they need to be cooled, pruned, graded and packaged. Any error or contamination during handling and packaging can damage the flowers during transit and affect their quality.
Rising freight costs
Due to capacity and labor shortages, floral distributors also face rising freight costs. In the past year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, freight costs increased more than 20%. Many other factors also contributed to these rising costs, such as labor shortages, high fuel prices, and inflation.
Another major issue in logistics in the floral industry or any import-export is custom clearance.
When any shipment is imported, it undergoes inspection to ensure no pests or diseases enter the country. This was more enhanced in the past few years due to COVID-19, and thus shipment could be delayed for 2 to 3 days if any diseases were detected. Such prolonged delay affected the quality of flowers.
Aside from these 5 issues in logistics in the floral industry, distributors also have to face the growing demand, complex networks, and rising operational costs. There is no one way to tackle all these, but automation and controlled handling can significantly reduce these issues.