Logistics and transportation companies have been gearing up their cold chain networks for Mother’s Day this weekend, when more than $3 billion worth of flowers are expected to be delivered to moms nationwide, according to industry research.
Consumers expect to spend nearly $36 billion for Mother’s Day this year, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF)—about $4 billion more than last year. Much of that will be spent on flowers that enter the United States from Latin America via Miami International Airport (MIA). Flower imports into MIA account for about 90% of all flowers entering the country by air, according to the airport, with much of that volume occurring between Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day.
Logistics and transportation company C.H. Robinson says many of those flowers pass through its 50,000 square foot, temperature-controlled warehouse at MIA, and company leaders say truckload demand for florals can increase more than 3,000% during those peak season months. C.H. Robinson says it moves between seven and 10 million boxes of flowers per year.
Flowers need to be kept at about 35 degrees Fahrenheit at every stop on their journey to ensure freshness, making location and timing crucial in transporting them.
“To deliver on time for Mother’s Day, agility is key. And that’s not easy for an industry that sees huge swings in demand and 70% of its product move within a three-month time frame,” Mark Petersen, C.H. Robinson’s vice president, refrigerated services, said in a press release this week. “C.H. Robinson can keep the cold supply chain tight. We move freight right off the plane into our strategically located refrigerated facilities and then right onto a temp-controlled truck to send out, which is extremely valuable when we know freshness and shelf life are critical.”
Logistics companies have been expanding in the Miami area recently to accommodate growing trade through the region, especially demand for transportation of perishables, such as flowers, food, and pharmaceuticals. FedEx Express, for instance, completed a $72.2 million expansion project at its MIA location in 2021 that nearly doubled its main sort facility and added the largest cold chain facility to the FedEx global network.