First shipping container of roses despatched

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The first shipping container of roses has departed from Mombasa (Kenya) bound for the Netherlands. Following an extended period of preparation including varietal selection, choice of packaging, and mapping out the supply chain, this represents the start of the first pilot scheme of the GreenCHAINge project.

The flowers are shipped, by container, in a supply chain which is refrigerated at every stage of the way over land and sea with the aim of achieving 90% economy in emissions of CO2, thereby demonstrating the feasibility of long-distance transport by water.

The pilot scheme is the result of a unique collaborative effort between Dutch trading companies and local growers, supported by Wageningen UR Food & Biobased Research (WUR), the Dutch Association of Wholesalers in Floricultural Products (VGB), the Kenyan Flower Council (KFC) and Maersk.

Stimulating sustainable logistical combinations in the international floriculture sector to reduce CO2 emissions. That is one of the aims of the GreenCHAINge project, which involves plant breeders, growers and wholesalers, import and export. The GreenCHAINge project’s import work package has a remit that covers exploring different ways of transporting the roses by sea from

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Mombasa (Kenya) to Europe.

With 120,000 tons of export per year, see freight is a very promising alternative form of transportation for the Kenyan-Dutch floriculture sector in response to the increasing demand for sustainable forms of transport and rising air-freight costs. When alternative forms of transport are considered the quality of the flowers, either vase life of the products that consumers expect, is essential. Having a good-quality product to start with and the right varieties grown is fundamental. Then, with conditioned transport, the quality of the flowers and microclimate can be constantly monitored using the knowledge of the WUR and other parties so that the consumer is guaranteed the longest possible vase life.

The project is subsidised by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, Topsector Tuinbouw and Productschap Tuinbouw.