EU: Snow disrupts floral trade

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It has been snowing in the Netherlands and this means chaos, not only on the roads but at the airport too. It started yesterday and fortunately (more or less) stopped today. However, the majority of the country, but Belgium and Germany too, is covered with snow. How is the floral trade coping with the snow?

Airport

At airport Schiphol, many passenger flights were and are still delayed or cancelled. Queues are long and passengers had to arrange a place to sleep. And cargo shipments are affected too. “A lot of shipments delayed”, says Loes Beelen of IAA Fresh, a large forwarder at Schiphol. “And it has been very busy. Especially with flights to the US. We’ve had Thanksgiving a couple of days ago, the economy is booming and Christmas is around the corner. And if the capacity drops like it is doing now, it is fighting a losing battle.”

When a product enters Schiphol and it cannot leave the airport it will be placed in the cold store. However, when this cool store is full, shipments will be refused. Fortunately, IAA fresh did not have to refuse anything (yet), because, according to Beelen, they have enough capacity. “But there are shipments that are not leaving the airport. And it might happen, like this morning, that a flight to New York has been cancelled, but a prior flight left empty.”

On the road, no earth shattering problems for De Winter Logistics, but a lot of inconveniences. “Some splash-boards were broken, but no exterior damage”, says Marcel Orie. “We have one or two cars that slid off the road and they had to wait a while for the emergency services. Besides, we had to cancel some orders, because we could not simply reach the destination.”

Today will probably be a long day, but it is still questionable if all problems will be solved this evening. “Fortunately, we delivered all auction products at several locations on time this morning, but now, the trade needs to be shipped out from the auction. It all depends how and if the traffic situation will improve today.”

Not only in the Netherlands, the snow resulted in problems, in Belgium and Germany too. Dutch transport company van der Velde also drives to Belgium and was encountering problems yesterday afternoon. “In the afternoon, we could still drive in the Netherlands, but in Belgium it was a tragedy. We have called back two of our trucks that were in Belgium”, says Erik van der Velde. Till yesterday night, he was busy with facing problems, like pulling out trucks that are stuck at the growers’ docks. Also the supply to Veiling Rhein-Maas is facing difficulties. Due to the snow, there are problems on the roads with long traffic jams. In turn, the trucks that are supplying the auction are delayed.

The Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) forecasts slippery roads because of the freezing snow residues. For the days after, no wintry weather is forecasted.

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