Forget Cupid. The modern Valentine’s Day depends on a global logistics network and advanced technology to get flowers, lobsters, sweets, and other gifts to businesses and consumers around the world, all by February 14th.
UPS (NYSE: UPS) goes into high gear in the weeks preceding Valentine’s as it transports an estimated 95 million flowers from Latin America and adds about 130 additional flight segments to accommodate the growing surge in Valentine’s Day celebrants. Last minute lovebirds can ship as late as Wednesday, February 13th using UPS Next Day Air® to have gifts arrive for Valentine’s Day.
Valentine’s Day is a global celebration and the first significant retail and e-commerce event of the calendar year. According to a survey from the National Retail Federation, U.S. consumers are expected to spend $18.6 billion dollars in 2013. Outside of UPS’s traditional holiday ‘peak season’, Valentine’s Day is one of the logistics company’s heaviest single delivery days of the year.
Flowers are one of the most gifted items for Valentine’s Day. UPS estimates about 95 million flowers will move through its logistics network in the weeks before February 14th. These flowers will travel along the “cold chain”, flying first on UPS temperature-controlled aircraft from locations in Latin America (primarily Ecuador and Colombia) to UPS’s Miami air hub. More than 80% of all flower imports come through Miami, where UPS is the largest air cargo carrier.
There, the 3000 tons of flowers will move through UPS’s 27,000 square-foot refrigerated warehouse, where the flowers will be inspected and sorted for travel to their ultimate destination. Flowers are highly perishable and must be transported quickly. UPS planners work closely with customers and government inspectors so that the entire journey – from farms in Latin America, through customs, to the importer in the U.S. - can be completed quickly, in as little as 24 hours.