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Kenya remains integral part in Global
Floriculture Industry: Maersk Line       

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- While logistics are probably the last thing on your mind over the holiday of love, it might be of interest to know that if you sent or received flowers on Valentine’s Day, they’ve likely travelled all the way from Kenya – the third largest exporter of cut flowers in the world – to make you or your loved one feel special and appreciated.

The international trade of cut flowers is a lucrative market with an estimated global trade volume of more than $100 billion a year. This is according to Mads Skov-Hansen, Managing Director at Maersk Line Eastern Africa – a member of A.P. Moller-Maersk – who says that while Valentine’s Day flowers can be bought all over the world, the main growing regions in the world for roses is Naivasha, and for carnations Naivasha, Kinangop, Nakuru, Limuru, Athi River, Thika, Kiambu and Eldoret in Kenya.

“While official 2017 data for Kenya is not yet out, the market for cut flowers has been growing at an average of 8% for the last three years and, on average, accounts for 70% of the value of fresh horticultural exports out of Kenya. Major export markets for Kenyan carnations are Holland and the UK, from which they are distributed across Europe.”

Transporting these flowers, however, is not always so easy. While carnations are able to be moved by sea in reefer containers, Skov-Hansen says that roses still must be moved by air. “Carnations move in normal reefer units with gradual temperatures dropping down from +2 degrees to +1 degree, but sea freight remains a challenge for more delicate flowers such as roses. This is because roses are extremely sensitive and have such a short vase life, which means they need to be transported within a certain timeframe in order to arrive at retailers in a decent condition.

“For trial purposes, however, our shippers continue to load one or two pallets of roses in every unit, stuffed with spray carnations. The quality is then analysed upon arrival by the consignee’s research and development teams,” he adds.

When it comes to the carnations that are shipped, there are three main types, explains Skov-Hansen. “The first type of carnations, ‘large flowered’ are single stemmed flowers, whereas the second type, ‘spray or mini carnations’, have more than one flower on each stem. The third type, ‘dwarf flowered carnations’ have numerous small flowers on each stem.”

Skov-Hansen says that while Kenya is one of the main growing areas, the cut flowers market definitely isn’t a monopoly. “Ethiopia is another region that has seen great growth of their cut flowers industry in recent years, having exported 49,000 tons of roses and 714.5 million cut flowers in 2015, which generated USD 225 million. This is a 10.5% increase compared to 2014 and has seen Ethiopia become Africa’s second-biggest producer after Kenya and fourth-equal worldwide.”

Whether they’ve travelled from Ethiopia or Kenya, those flowers you’ve sent or received have likely been on a long journey, concludes Skov-Hansen. “All I’m saying is, don’t forget to stop and smell the roses – they’ve travelled further than you think to get to you!”

·         Maersk Line is the world’s largest container shipping company, known for reliable, flexible and eco-efficient services. We provide ocean transportation in all parts of the world. We serve our customers through 306 offices in 114 countries. We employ 7,600 seafarers and 22,600 land-based employees and operate 668 container vessels.

The Kenyan office was established in 1994, with the head office situated in Nairobi and branch office in Mombasa. The other offices under Eastern Africa region are in Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar, Tanga, Kampala, Kigali, Addis Abba, Djibouti, Khartoum and Port Sudan.

Maersk Line is part of A.P. Moller - Maersk, an integrated transport & logistics company with multiple brands and a global leader in container shipping and ports.


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