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Today’s Pickup: Moving Valentine’s Day flowers through the supply chain

Workers unload flowers from a UPS plane in Miami. 

Good day,

People flock to flower shops and other locations on Valentine’s Day to purchase flowers for their loved ones. In all, 35% of Americans will purchase flowers this year, says the Society of American Florists, totaling some $2 billion in sales. Two hundred million roses alone will be purchased, most of them coming from Bogota, Columbia. The U.S. produces fewer than 30 million roses, reports the Washington Post.

Nearly all of these flowers get to their final destinations via truck, and UPS is one of the largest providers of that transportation.

The company’s “lovegistics” network expected to deliver 88 million flowers this year, utilizing trucks and planes to get the job done. Moving 8 million pounds of flowers is no easy task. UPS said it transports the shipments from the colorful growing fields in Latin American countries through the Miami International Airport to the final recipient in less than two days.

“Delivery must move at the speed of ‘love at first sight’,” said Frank Diaz, global marketing manager, UPS Americas Region. “This is why we rev up our operations to move more than 514,000 boxes of flowers. We take helping love bloom seriously.”

The majority of this cargo is moved in temperature-controlled equipment. Once in Miami, the flowers are stored in a refrigerated warehouse the size of five basketball courts.

Customs officials than inspect the boxes and final delivery is arranged.

“For years, UPS has helped us spread the love to our customers across the country, ensuring we receive our flower shipments on time and get them in the hands of sweethearts everywhere,” said Galo Sanchez, executive vice president, The Elite Flower. “As the largest privately-owned flower farm in Colombia, we depend on a reliable logistics partner to ship millions of blooms during this important holiday.”

Flowers are only a part of the Valentine’s Day supply chain. According to the National Retail Federation, U.S. consumers will spend an estimated $19.6 billion, up from $18.2 billion a year ago, on gifts for Valentine’s Day.

Did you know?

The FMCSA has granted an exemption for 8 J.J. Keller ELD models through the end of February due to a software problem that prevents transmission of data to roadside enforcement. This follows exemptions already granted for PeopleNet users that have had issues transitioning from AOBRD’s to ELDs.


“The president has not declared anything out of bounds. So, everything is on the table… The gas tax, like many of the other ‘pay-fors’ that are being discussed, is not ideal.”

Elaine Chao, Transportation Secretary, on paying for Trump’s infrastructure proposal

In other news:

FMCSA grants temporary exemption for some J.J. Keller ELDs

A software problem that prevents the proper transmission of ELD data to roadside inspectors has led FMCSA to grant an exemption for users of some devices until the end of February. (LandLine Magazine)

Canada says U.S. stance on NAFTA has led to little progress

Canada’s lead negotiator in NAFTA talks says the U.S.’s reluctance to be flexible on issues has resulted in little progress being made on revising the trade pact. (Wall Street Journal)

Philly airport plans air cargo expansion

The Philadelphia airport has purchased a large amount of land for expansion of its air cargo operations, the airport said. (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Senate confirms new FMCSA administrator

Raymond Martinez has been confirmed as the next administrator of the FMCSA. Martinez was nominated by Trump to lead the agency back in September. (CCJ)

Transportation Secretary: All options on table for infrastructure funding

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao told reporters that the administration has not ruled out any funding mechanism for infrastructure, but that a fuel tax increase is “not ideal.” (Transport Topics)

Final Thoughts

President Trump’s infrastructure plan, which pushed much of the responsibility for funding projects to states and the private sector, has been met with little enthusiasm from some of those private sector companies. Blackstone Group LP said it plans to raise $40 billion for infrastructure projects, but expects to spend less than 10% of that on public assets, saying it is just not interested in investing in already deteriorating infrastructure, according to the Wall Street Journal. If other private investors follow suit, it might be tough lift for the proposed plan to meet its goals.

Hammer down everyone!

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Brian Straight

Brian Straight leads FreightWaves' Modern Shipper brand as Managing Editor. A journalism graduate of the University of Rhode Island, he has covered everything from a presidential election, to professional sports and Little League baseball, and for more than 10 years has covered trucking and logistics. Before joining FreightWaves, he was previously responsible for the editorial quality and production of Fleet Owner magazine and Brian lives in Connecticut with his wife and two kids and spends his time coaching his son’s baseball team, golfing with his daughter, and pursuing his never-ending quest to become a professional bowler. You can reach him at [email protected].