Ask most retailers about "peak shipping season" and they'll probably tell you stories about the Christmas holiday rush. But talk to anyone in the floral trade, and you'll hear a very different story.
For those in the floral game, crunch time is the runup to Valentine's Day—the short window in January and February when supply chain partners around the globe work feverishly to deliver literally tons of blossoms to flower shops in time for the holiday.
Just look at American Airlines Cargo, which says the two-week span from Jan. 29 through Feb. 13 is one of its busiest times of year. In 2020, American moved 417 tons—about 920,000 pounds—of cut flowers out of Amsterdam (which is home to the world's largest floral auction), a 15% increase over the 358 tons (790,000 pounds) of flowers it moved in 2019. From Amsterdam, American either flies them directly to Philadelphia or trucks them to London's Heathrow Airport to be flown to destinations throughout the U.S.
Numbers were also up for the Santiago, Chile-based cargo airline Latam Cargo, which says it flew more than 210 Boeing 767-300 aircraft out of Colombia and Ecuador between Jan. 14 and Feb. 10. Those planes carried 12,600 tons of flowers for the 2020 Valentine's Day season—45% more than in 2019—landing in the U.S., the Netherlands, and China with loads of roses, mixed bouquets, carnations, and other blossoms, Latam Cargo said.