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First shipping container full of roses proves promising

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The first shipping container holding roses from Mombasa, Kenya arrived in the Netherlands in good order. The first pilot scheme for the GreenCHAINge project demonstrated the feasibility of reducing CO2 emissions by 87%. Following an extended period of preparation including varietal selection, choice of packaging, and mapping out the supply chain, the first pilot scheme for the GreenCHAINge project has proven successful.

The flowers were shipped, by reefercontainer, 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 while maintaining the quality of the flowers. The realised reduction of 87% is a savings of 37,845 kg of CO2 – an amount equal to 100 holiday journeys in a new passenger car from Amsterdam to Barcelona and back.

Testing flower quality
All the flowers are currently being tested in the flowering rooms at Wageningen UR Food & Biobased Research to determine their ultimate vase life for consumers. The findings of this research will be used during a second pilot scheme later this year when we hope to demonstrate that a longer-distance transport by water is possible even during another season.

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, the Dutch Association of Wholesalers in Floricultural Products (VGB), Flowerwatch, 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 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 Wageningen UR Food & Biobased Research 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.