C.H. Robinson

Reefer demand to soar ahead of Mother’s Day

April 30, 2024
C.H. Robinson expects temperature-controlled shipments of fresh flowers for mom to increase the need for truckload capacity by up to 3,000%.

C.H. Robinson expects shipments of fresh flowers to boost the demand for truckload capacity by as much as 3,000% ahead of Mother’s Day.

The logistics provider reports that nearly 70% of all florals move during the three-month period between Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, including 56 million pounds of fresh flowers delivered for Mother’s Day alone, and the surge adds to the challenges shippers face with a globally sourced, perishable product that relies on a “limited supply” of temperature-controlled transportation and storage.

“A huge swing in demand for temperature-controlled capacity is not something many logistics companies could tackle,” Mike Moyski, C.H. Robinson vice president for temperature-controlled and flatbed transportation, said in a news release. “We are proud of our ability to quickly scale to meet our customers’ needs and reduce complexities that can lead to delays.

“With florals, the clock on freshness runs down quickly.”

C.H. Robinson moves 7-10 million boxes of flowers annually thanks to the “largest temperature-controlled capacity network in North America,” the company said, providing it with “deep expertise” that enables fast hand-offs, quick pivots, and efficiencies that drive down costs and keep flowers “looking beautiful.”

The full journey of a Mother’s Day bouquet in in C.H. Robinson’s network goes like this:

  • Temperature-controlled air: Direct from the field, florals are delivered to one of C.H. Robinson’s Latin America facilities where experts are on the ground to support airfreight capacity from Latin America directly to Miami. Once picked, the flowers are immediately cooled to 34 degrees to prevent them from blooming and will remain at that temperature throughout the full journey.
  • Refrigerated-warehouse processing: Once the florals depart Latin America, they are transported to a 50,000-sq.-ft. temperature-controlled warehouse located at the Miami International Airport (MIA). With 90% of all florals traveling through Miami, C.H. Robinson operates as the only freight forwarder with ramp access at MIA, allowing for swift transportation to keep floral costs down and freshness up. At inbound processing facilities, the stems go through customs and agricultural inspection, and are quickly moved to C.H. Robinson’s floral facility where they undergo labeling, air-cooling, and consolidation before shipping to their final destination.  
  • Temperature-controlled surface transportation: After packaging, the florals are loaded from tarmac to truck where C.H. Robinson leverages its relationships with over 7,500 retail customers combined with its temperature-controlled network to distribute the flowers to locations across the nation. 
  • Enjoy: With approximately 23 million flowers sold on Mother’s Day, C.H. Robinson’s end-to-end floral logistics solution ensures retailers’ shelves are stocked, helping to celebrate mothers around the world. 

“Last year floral sales surged to $8 billion dollars in the U.S.—up 48% since 2018,” said Jose Rossignoli, president of Robinson Fresh, a division of C.H. Robinson. “As the sector continues to expand, C.H. Robinson is excited to leverage our temp-controlled air, consolidation, and surface transportation expertise and scale to support that growth and our customers’ growth.”

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