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SCHIPHOL AIRPORT: June 18, 2019. Air France KLM Martinair Cargo (AFKLMP Cargo) has become the first airline to receive FlowerWatch accreditation for the 18,000 tonnes of fresh flowers it ships from Nairobi to Schiphol, Amsterdam annually.

Eric Mauroux AFKLMP Cargo flowermanWith Quito and Bogotá expected to become FlowerWatch certified in the coming months, the cargo group says cold-chain management has emerged in recent years as a vital success factor in the post-harvest life of fresh flowers.

With temperature exposure during storage and transportation contributing to discolouration, wilting, poor flower opening and premature ageing, the end result is reduced vase life, often by several days.

To mitigate against this, FlowerWatch has developed a fail-safe Quality Assurance system that not only identifies challenges in the cold chain, it helps to permanently fix them according to AFKLMP Cargo Global head of Perishables Logistics Eric Mauroux (pictured).

The system's central concept is ‘time temperature exposure’, which is expressed in degree hours. This is the average temperature of fresh flowers throughout the transport process multiplied by the number of hours. So one degree hour is one hour times one degree Celsius.

Every 500 degree hours reduces vase life by one day so the key to successful cold chain performance is to minimise the number of degree hours, explained Mauroux: “Like the pharmaceuticals sector, we recognise the necessity of moving towards a more efficient floriculture cool chain based on the key drivers of effective collaboration, innovation and data-sharing.

“FlowerWatch is an innovative way for us to access our flower flow based on time-temperature exposure throughout the chain,” he continued. “This is another step towards standardisation, which improves the vase life of the flowers we carry out of Kenya. This accreditation is also a great achievement for all the stakeholders who embarked on this improvement programme with us.”

Based in South Holland, FlowerWatch is recognised worldwide as an expert in monitoring and ensuring the quality and vase life of fresh-cut flowers.

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