DALLAS – Those who receive flowers rarely understand the role the aviation-based global logistics chain plays in ensuring their fresh delivery.
Airways traveled to Miami for the inaugural Fresh Flower Forum to better understand how air transport facilitates the global flower industry across thousands of miles and different climate zones.
Located just above the Air Cargo Americas convention, the Fresh Flower Forum was hosted by Miami International Airport (MIA) and Brussels Airport (BRU) on March 9 with numerous industry players participating.
MIA and BRU, established pharmaceutical transport hubs, are also key players in the global flower transport industry, with MIA serving as the first point of entry for 91% of the flowers coming into the US.
The Head of Product and Route Development at BRU, Nathan de Valck, emphasized that “Brussels Airport is the perfect perishables gateway into Europe” that can “connect Latin America and Europe” with a MIA connection.
de Valck continued, saying that “all of the cargo activities are clustered together at the north side of the airport” allowing for an efficient and transparent operation.
Dimitrios “Jimmy” Nares, Section Chief for Marketing at MIA, highlighted not only the five freighter airlines connecting MIA and BRU but that MIA is “a gateway to Latin America and the Caribbean” with “direct service to 71 markets in the region [with] a little over 1,000 weekly departures.”
Brussels Airport: Innovation in Perishable Transport
Over the past few years, BRU has vastly improved capabilities in the perishable goods arena using an emphasis on transparency and digitization.
Sam Quintelier, the Cargo Business Development Manager at BRU, highlighted the role of the Perishable Management App (PMA) in spearheading improvement.
The PMA incorporates all stakeholders, from airlines to regulatory authorities, in the transport of perishables into a digital platform that allows all parts of the transport process through BRU to be monitored.
Quintelier said that the PMA has a direct application programming interface (API) “with the airport database” to “link all the flight data” making it easier for authorities to more efficiently and easily conduct inspections on perishable goods.
The PMA through transparency, rapid communication, and a “paperless way of working” is “future proof” in the words of Quintelier.
Safeguarding American Agriculture
The entry of perishables, especially flowers, into the U.S. necessitates a rigorous procedure to ensure that American agriculture is protected.
Louis Volpe, the FO South Florida Area Director at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), outlined how the USDA works with flower importers to ensure that flowers safely transit through the U.S.
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Featured image: The inaugural Fresh Flower Forum hosted numerous air freight and perishable industry experts at the Air Cargo Americas conference in Miami. Photo: Brent Foster/Airways