Columbia Trial Shipments

Introduction
Ter Aar-Holland, January 2007

After several successful shipments with flowers from Kenya to Holland and the publicity that caused during 2006, a few Colombia companies heard about it and also started to show interest. Due to these signals a small FTG-delegation visited Colombia July last in order to explain and discuss the 'Flowers-on-waves' principals to those interested. What was supposed to be a short relax trip, turned out to be a short, very intensive one, as there were a lot of people interested in the concept and still with a lot of questions.

In order to get rid of all the questions, remarks and doubts amongst people, the only solution was to 'simply' do it. During that trip it was decided to do a trial shipment with fresh cut flowers from Colombia in co-operation with Colombian flowers growers and Asocolfores.

As FTG and the Colombian flower farms did not yet really know each other well, it was decided to select a group of different growers, with several different products, from several different areas in order to have a wide range of different information. This way the trial would also exclude little growing or product specific mistakes as there was also a similar one of each product available within the trial.

FTG chose to do the trial shipment to Holland for several reasons, one of them being one of the largest distances over sea from Colombia and Holland being the centre of the flower industry. The fact that FTG was able to act fast and use her local network in order to have things go smoothly, were extra arguments to do so.

After a short and intensive training, November 20th 2006 was D-Day, the day the flowers were harvested, packed and trucked to a central place in Bogotá before their final trough Cartagena to Holland. Under supervision of the FTG delegation and AND s.a., the container was packed, stuffed, checked and made ready for the trip in Cartagena harbour.
The container arrived in good conditions in Rotterdam-Holland on December 9th - 2006 and was delivered towards the unpacking company on December 12th; a customs strike unfortunately caused an extra delay.
Upon arrival in Aalsmeer, the container was unpacked and all flowers were checked by independent VGB inspectors in accordance with VGB-criteria. Samples were taken and put in our facilities on Tuesday December 12th for an additional vase-life test. The vase-life test showed that there was no significant difference in comparison with the same types of flowers placed directly after harvesting and the vase-life trial stopped on December 27th last.

Like with any kind of trial, there are always some little things to improve, but in general we can conclude that it has been a quite successful trial that gave us a lot of information and flowers lasting for as long as 15 days at our facilities.

We can therefore draw the conclusion that there is a new transport medium for flowers with loosing neither freshness nor quality. Flowers shipped on Flower Gel® conditions has also proven to be successful from Colombia to Holland and that every exporting flower company is now able to reduce up to 50-70% on transport costs without losing quality nor freshness.

The whole process from harvesting through shipment and finally the vase life test has been documented and photographed extensively in order to have maximum information. All this information is available for those interested.

We hope to have served you with this information so far and for any question/remark or additional information, we will be available to answer them.

Mr. H. Vonk.
Managing director FTG Holland.