Posts Tagged ‘columbia’

Trade Profile – Imported Cut Flowers

Monday, January 28th, 2013

Often when we consider trade movements, it’s easy to focus on the “larger” movements, such as containers or bulk shipments. Sometimes we forget that there are other cargos in the system. With Valentine’s Day coming soon, we are starting to see the first of the seasonal peaks in cut flowers (the second peak occurs later this spring). Worldwide, the U.S. is the second largest import market for cut flowers, only behind the European Union.
In 2011, the United States imported $880 million in cut flowers (HSCode 0603), led by cut roses, general cut flowers, chrysanthemums and car-nations. On a year-to-date base, total flower imports are up 9.6% for 2012. Generally, flowers from Latin America arrive at the Miami Airport on cargo planes and are transloaded to refrigerated trucks for dis-tribution throughout the U.S. Miami handles roughly 82% of all cut flower imports, followed by JFK Airport and then Los Angeles International Airport. The largest cut flower supplier into the U.S. is Columbia, which exported products worth $562 million, followed by Ecuador ($147 million) and the Netherlands ($51 million). Customs and Border Patrol Agricultural Specialists (formally USDA APHIS inspectors) require that the flowers arrive pest free.

Since the 1980s, the strong growth of imports has caused domestic producers to shift away from competing directly with imported roses, etc., to specialty varieties, that either have new traits or colors. So when you are purchasing flowers this Valentine’s Day, you probably purchased a bouquet from Columbia or Ecuador that arrived through Miami before arriving in your city.

On a final note, I first started researching transportation early in my career while at LSU. (It was here that I got bite by the “transportation bug”!) The work culminated in a report, “Technological and Economic Factors in Landing Latin American Perishables,” (Department of Agricultural Economics Research Report No. 692, Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, September, 1992, written by Roger A. Hinson, David H. Picha, and Bruce Lambert).