The Netherlands is a top exporter of cut flowers and other ornamental plants. Even though this sector suffered greatly from the first wave of corona, trade seems to be slowly but surely recovering. How do Dutch growers ensure that their flowers arrive fresh to customers at home and abroad? In this article you can read all about the latest developments and insights in the field of flower transport.
Who does not like a beautiful bunch of flowers? Besides the atmospheric image that flowers create, they have a proven positive impact on labor performance. However, the sale of flowers is usually highly dependent on the state of the economy. This is because decline in flowers is often driven by impulse purchases and holidays or special occasions.
The future of the cut flower trade is brighter than the current state of affairs. There are new opportunities in the field of e-commerce and marketing. Field bouquets are also on the rise. Cultivating flowers is a specialism, but after the grower has done his job, it is important that the flowers end up at the right destination.
Transport of tulips, roses and other cut flowers
Immediately after the cut flowers are removed from the land, the decay of the flowers. The supply of nutrients stops when the stems are cut. In order to limit and slow down the decay as much as possible so that the flowers reach the end user in optimal condition, growers can take a few measures:
- Direct cooling of the flowers. To keep the ‘metabolism’ or metabolism of the flower in motion, as it were, it is important to cool the flowers directly. The most ideal cooling temperature varies from flower to flower. For roses, for example, 1-2 degrees Celsius. Ideally, the flowers are also processed and packaged in a cool room.
- Store and transport in an environment with proper humidity. When flowers are exposed to too much moisture, annoying fungi such as botrytis can occur. However, a too dry room can lead to the drying out of the flowers: the evaporation of moisture from the petals continues even under cooled conditions.
- Choose the right method of transport. Not only during storage, but also during transport, attention should be paid to optimal environmental conditions of the flowers. Depending on the duration and distance of transport together with logistic capacity at the final destination, you can choose to transport the cut flowers dry or in water.
Transporting cut flowers dry or wet?
When we buy flowers, we usually put them directly in water so that we can enjoy them for a long time. However, recent research has shown that flowers can do quite well without water for a while. For international transports, we often choose to ship flowers dry, while domestic transport of flowers often takes place in buckets of water. When is dry transport of flowers like tulips and roses the solution, and when is it better to stay with the buckets of water?
Advantages and disadvantages of dry transport of cut flowers
Dry transport of cut flowers is more environmentally friendly, cheaper and not sufficient in the quality of the flowers. This is proven by three-year research by the Technical University of Wageningen. For example, it turned out that even in road transport dry transport results in as much as 47% less greenhouse gas emissions compared to wet transport. But why do growers then not opt en masse to transport their cut flowers dry?
This has to do with the fact that the flowers have to stand in the water for several hours on arrival to regain their appearance. So they are not directly presentable to consumers, for example. Not everyone has the time and capacity to realize this.
Points of attention in dry flower transport
Dutch flowers are exported worldwide. This is done, for example, by means of airplane transports, because the flowers can then arrive relatively quickly in countries around the world. In the plane, it is simply not allowed to transport the flowers in buckets of water. Therefore, when transporting flowers by airplane, we always choose to transport cut flowers dry.
Furthermore, there are a number of crucial points that determine the preservation of the quality and freshness of your flowers during dry transport:
- Temperature. The flowers also need to be cooled during transport. Because the flowers arrive at their destination by means of different vehicles, it is wise to transport the flowers with cooling elements and well insulating packaging. You can use gel packs for this purpose.
- Moisture. In order to ensure that any condensation on the way does not have a harmful effect on the quality of the cut flowers, this moisture should be absorbed. You can use absorption mats for this purpose.
More information on flower transport
If you have any questions or need advice focused on your transport challenge, please feel free to contact one of our experts. We will be happy to come up with a suitable solution for your situation.