Daikin converts cut flower shipments from air to sea

Daikin Reefer is collaborating with key industry stakeholders to convert cut flower shipments from air to sea that will ultimately allow the floriculture industry to lower its transportation costs and reduce its carbon footprint. 

The global cut flower market had an estimated value of US$36.4 billion in 2022 and is expected to grow further. Flowers are highly perishable and need specific post-harvesting treatment and proper handling before they are even ready for temperature-controlled transportation.

Nearly all cut flowers are transported by costly air freight due to their extreme time-sensitivity and are nearly always bound for distant export markets. Air freight has traditionally been seen as the only way to reduce the farm-to-market time: one of the biggest challenges for exporters is maintaining the vase life of flowers from the moment they are picked right through to their arrival at destination, and cut flowers need to be transported under precise atmospheric conditions to maintain optimum condition and value.

In recent years cut flower exporters have found it increasingly difficult to secure freight capacity and have also endured extremely high freight rates, resulting in the need to identify alternative logistical and transportation solutions.

A number of successful cut flower shipment trials using Daikin Active CA (controlled atmosphere) have been undertaken in collaboration with industry stakeholders, including cut flower exporters and shipping lines.  

As a result of the successful trials, live commercial shipments by sea have now taken place, thereby converting shipment from air to sea and proving the efficacy of Daikin Active CA. These live commercial shipments include Kenyan roses to Europe, and chrysanthemums and carnations from South East Asia to Japan and Colombia to Asia. 

Cargo outturn for these shipments was excellent, due to the unique technological advantages that Daikin Active CA offers exporters and shippers of cut flowers.

Firstly, Daikin Active CA has customized control logic that continually monitors and fine-tunes both temperature and atmospheric composition inside the container. A rich nitrogen gas with humidity is charged into the container, reducing the respiration of the cargo by reducing oxygen content, which means both O2 and CO2 levels can be controlled and humidity is conserved. 

Secondly, unlike other CA offerings in the market, Daikin Active CA does not use membrane technology to inject dry nitrogen into the container, which is largely considered unfavorable for horticultural perishable produce, particularly cut flowers.

Photo credit: iStock/ Prostock-Studio

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