Roses from Ecuador take quicker route to Japan

The Trade Commission of Ecuador in Los Angeles announced at a recent Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce luncheon that roses grown in Ecuador, one of the South American nation’s most valuable exports, are heading to Japan via Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

Traditionally, Ecuadorian roses have transited through Amsterdam and Frankfurt in Europe and Miami FL to reach Japan. The supply chain shift saves time and lowers cargo shipping costs. In the two months the program has been underway, nearly 45 tons of roses were moved from Ecuador to Japan via LAX.

“It has long been a goal to find a way for Ecuadorian flowers, especially roses, to reach world markets faster and at lower costs. We are very pleased that Mercury Air Cargo and Apollo Freight have developed a program to answer this need at LAX,” said Eduardo Borrero, trade commissioner of Ecuador in Los Angeles.

Members of the Ecuadorian Trade Commission met with Mercury Air Cargo and Apollo Freight executives after Mercury’s opening of the largest on-airport refrigeration unit on the West Coast in April 2009. The Trade Commission representatives advocated bringing Ecuadorian flowers headed to Japan through Mercury’s LAX on-airport perishable center. Apollo Freight, provider of perishable logistics, worked with two Asian carriers servicing Japan to obtain cargo space, then worked with Operflor Cargo, an Ecuadorian freight forwarder, to secure flower shipments from Ecuador to the importers in Japan.

“Our Japanese clients are extremely pleased with the level of service being provided by Apollo Freight at LAX as well as with the cost savings compared to transiting roses through Europe,” said Roy Cisternas, sales manager of Operflor Cargo.

Apollo Freight uses Mercury’s perishable center in a 200,000-plus-square foot on-airport warehouse facility, which allows flowers coming into LAX by air and connecting on a flight to Japan to never have to leave the airport. The flowers remain in the same warehouse for breakdown, forced-air cooling, and build-up services.

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