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Miami importers stronger than ever

Last year certainly was an interesting one, with many challenges that were not anticipated.

There were several weather issues that affected the floral industry throughout the United States and Hurricane Irma in particular for Miami importers.

This hurricane was predicted to be a powerful Category 5 storm so everyone in South Florida boarded up and prepared for the worst. Fortunately, it was not as strong as predicted. Some flower importers were without phone service for days, while some had to switch to generators for electricity. But the biggest disruption was the fact that no planes at all flew into Miami International Airport for three days and then the airlines reduced the number of flights carrying flowers from Colombia and Ecuador.

boldt-2012Christine BoldtImporters continue to work with the airlines to provide reliable service for flowers to get to Miami and then into the marketplace. Cargo airlines have always been the best transportation option for getting flowers to Miami because of the short distance from growing regions, but there has been exploration into other options to help alleviate some of the pressure of flight space.

As far as flower sales, 2017 Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day provided a better opportunity for Miami importers over 2016 and we are looking forward to stronger sales in 2018. However, wholesalers and distributors often do not pre-order or anticipate their needs for holiday volumes, which creates many issues and possible shortages once the holiday arrives.

Another ongoing challenge that Miami importers face is delivering flower shipments to the truck lines’ docks, not only during holiday times but all year long. There are so many different truck lines and so many places to deliver product to, along with strict time deadlines. In addition, each truck line has its own labor and space requirements for the way flowers need to be delivered. It’s important for all of us to understand how each link of the supply chain functions so there are realistic expectations concerning shipments.

Miami flower importers are stronger than ever and provide great product to the industry. They understand the logistics and processes of getting flowers ready for shipment in the most expeditious manner.

There are so many new flowers and varieties on the market; it is exciting to see how florists use them and how consumers react to them. Are you buying your flowers the best and least stressful way — from Miami importers?

Let’s have a great 2018, work together as industry partners and ultimately have more consumers buy more flowers.

Christine Boldt is the executive vice president of the Association of Flower Importers of Florida. She can be contacted at Christine@affif.org.