The most important aspect of flower quality for consumers is vase life, and this depends on optimum postharvest handling and shipping.
Recently, a task force from PMA’s Floral Council, with volunteers from all parts of the floral supply chain, developed practical box guidelines for cut flowers to ensure an industry-wide standard of excellence.
There are thousands of box sizes used in the flower trade, and the quality of cardboard used in the boxes is variable. Although there many shapes of packing containers for cut flowers, most are long and flat. This design restricts the depth of the flowers in the box, which may in turn reduce physical damage of the flowers.
In addition, flower heads can be placed at both ends of the container for better use of space. But non-uniform sizing of flower boxes causes improper weight distribution and crushed product. The industry is rallying to move to a smaller number of box sizes designed to fit the standard international pallet.
There is potential product cost reduction by standardizing box sizes.
Purchasing and maintaining inventory on fewer box sizes at farm level
Reduction in air freight costs through cube optimization
Reduction in ground freight costs through cube optimization
The floral industry is a global marketplace with flowers sourced from throughout the world and sold in the major consumer markets such as North America, Japan, and the EU. The high export value of cut flowers has led to dramatic increases in production in many countries, particularly in those regions close to the equator. The global nature of flower growing regions increases the need to provide a base level for the industry to standardize shipping.
Because of floral’s global production system and marketplace and the high perishability of cut flowers, air transport has been the transport system of choice, but we are seeing more and more floral products shipped via ocean freight. Given the challenges with temperature control and the extreme response of cut flowers to temperature abuse, the logistics for cut flowers must focus on doing everything possible to maintain the cold chain starting with utilizing standard shipping boxes that allow for air flow and palletization.
Benefits of standardized boxes for cut flowers:
Reduced product damage because standard boxes fit squarely on 48 x 40 pallets
Increased cube optimization on outbound shipments from distribution centers to store due to “perfectly square” palletized store orders
Increased accuracy of inventory counts
Increased efficiencies for effective pre-cooling
Improved efficiencies for slotting at distribution centers
Download box standards