Air France KLM gains FlowerWatch for Colombian exports

Air France KLM Martinair Cargo has gained the FlowerWatch quality assurance accreditation for its flower shipments out of Colombia after the successful launch of its first FlowerWatch certification in Kenya in June this year.

Eric Mauroux, AFKLMP Cargo’s global head of perishables logistics, said: “By implementing the FlowerWatch quality insurance system in the main flower markets, we are not only improving the quality and vase life of fresh-cut flowers but also fostering vertical collaboration amongst all stake holders in the supply chain.

“We are the first airline to gain the certification, making it a reaffirmation of our commitment to the flower industry”.

AFKLMP Cargo ships approximately 11,000 tonnes of fresh flowers from Colombia and 21,000 tonnes from Ecuador per year to its hub at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport .

A spokesperson for the airline said that cold-chain management has emerged in recent years as a “vital success factor” in the post-harvest life of fresh flowers.

Temperature exposure during storage and transportation contributes to discolouring, wilting, poor flower opening, and premature ageing. The end result is reduced vase life, often by several days.

The spokesperson added that the FlowerWatch quality assurance system “does not just identify challenges in the cold chain, it actually helps to permanently fix them”.

He added: “The system’s central concept is ‘time temperature exposure’, which is expressed in degree hours. This is the average temperature of your fresh flowers throughout transportation multiplied by the number of hours (1 degree hour = 1 hour x 1 degree Celsius).

“Every 500 degree hours reduces vase life by one day. The key to successful cold chain performance is to minimise the number of degree hours.”

AFKLMP Cargo will attend Proflora 2019 in Bogotá, Colombia from 2 to 4 October. It is the largest international trade fair for cut flowers in the Americas.

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