Bringing 24 million roses equating to ten full MD-11 freighters to Germany Lufthansa Cargo is transporting millions of love tokens over the next few days. By the time Valentine’s Day dawns on 14 February, the logistics services provider in the Lufthansa Group will have delivered to Europe around 850 tonnes of roses on board its freighters or in the belly holds of Lufthansa passenger aircraft. That equates to about 24 million roses, or ten full MD-11 freighters, for lovers to express their feelings.
Kenya is among the world’s biggest rose producers. From Nairobi alone, Lufthansa Cargo flies in more than 280 tonnes of roses for Valentine’s Day. The flowers are picked at rose farms in the Kenyan uplands in the morning and transported during the day to the Kenyan capital to be loaded in the late evening onto a Lufthansa Cargo MD-11 freighter. Efficiency is at a premium because flowers in their full glory as messages of love are perishable products. The logistics chain, from the rose farm in Africa to the florist in Hamburg or Munich has to function reliably.
Fast transport at a constant temperature of between two and four degrees Celsius is absolutely essential. After touch-down at Frankfurt Airport, the Valentine roses are quickly conveyed to the nearby Perishables Center, the largest of its kind in Germany, keeping their transit through the airport to a minimum. From the Frankfurt cargo hub, the roses are shipped out mostly on the same day to all corners of the compass in Germany to ensure the high-street florists have them in stock when the Valentine cavaliers call in to make their eternal pledge.
In addition to Kenya, Ecuador, Colombia and Ethiopia are among the principal suppliers. Overseas rose producers benefit from a crucial competitive advantage over European flowergrowing regions: In the uplands of South America and Africa, long-stemmed roses thrive in a tropical climate all year round and their production, even with air transport, is more environmentfriendly.
Unlike European roses, cultivated by necessity in heated and artificially lighted greenhouses, the roses grown in regions on the equator normally require no artificial irrigation or additional heating and consequently generate less CO2 than their European siblings, according to a study conducted by Britain’s Cranfield University in 2007.
Lufthansa Cargo AG
Lufthansa Cargo ranks among the world’s leading cargo carriers. In the 2008 financial year, the airline transported around 1.7 million tonnes of freight and mail and clocked up 8.3 billion revenue tonne-kilometres. The Company currently employs about 4,600 people, worldwide. Lufthansa Cargo focuses on the airport-to-airport business. The cargo carrier serves some 300 destinations in 90 countries with its own fleet of freighters, the belly capacities of Lufthansa’s passenger aircraft and an extensive road services network. The bulk of the cargo business is routed through Frankfurt Airport. Lufthansa Cargo is a wholly-owned Lufthansa subsidiary. In the 2008 financial year, it posted revenues totalling 2.9 billion euros.