Here's something for our customers to think about. One of the most challenging areas in our industry is floral logistics - getting flowers from the farm to wholesalers and retail shops. Because the product is perishable, timing of shipments and cold chain supply are critical. Since March, 2020, transportation has been an on-going nightmare for those of us in the floral industry. Typically, flowers grown outside of the United States are flown to airports, such as Miami and JFK, then trucked to wholesalers. Drivers coming from Miami require a tandem team, so the freight can be delivered within 24 hours to the East Coast. Shipments of flowers require drivers to load and unload their freight.
The trucking industry has been slowly losing qualified drivers, but the pandemic has exacerbated the problem. In 2020 driving schools closed, seasoned drivers retired and COVID reduced available jobs and the ability to work in teams due to social distancing requirements. Our industry was hard hit by these changes, and adjustments will need to be made in order to satisfy future customer demand.
To stay competitive, wholesalers may need to consider the following over the coming year:
More perks for drivers - such as accessible bathrooms, areas for sleeping, food/meal certificates provided.
Upgrades to receiving areas - so pallets can be loaded directly into coolers without human intervention.
Staffing during night deliveries to help offload freight.
New dock height requirements for larger loads
Fewer weekly deliveries
Large shippers may set up hub spots, requiring wholesalers to do their own pick-ups
Below is a recent interview done at the with principals from Prime and Armellini explaining the challenges of moving freight in the floral industry: