Amsterdam Airport Schiphol supports sustainability in the shipment of flowers through the Ideal Flowerbox


The Holland Flower Alliance moves to phase two of the Ideal Flowerbox project after a successful trial on the Nairobi, Africa to Amsterdam, Netherlands, route

Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Wednesday, 19th December 2018 – Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is supporting the Holland Flower Alliance (HFA) as they work towards implementing the Ideal Flowerbox, a standardised box and pallet to make the shipment of flowers more efficient and sustainable.

The HFA successfully completed a two-month trial on the Nairobi, Africa to Amsterdam, Netherlands route, which increased the weight on airline pallets of flower shipments by 15 per cent, resulting in a more efficient and sustainable process for transporting flowers – a key commodity for the economy of the Netherlands.

“The shipment of flowers is an important activity at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, so we are very supportive of the Ideal Flowerbox project and we are excited about the initial trial results showing how the box can improve sustainability in the supply chain,” said Roos Bakker, Director Business Development, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.

“We actively encourage innovation within the air cargo community, and we believe that collaboration with the HFA partners will continue to yield positive results for all stakeholders involved in the shipment of flowers.”

The Ideal Flowerbox project was launched to reduce unused space between flower boxes and pallets on shipments by introducing a standardised size, and to increase sustainability in the flower supply chain.

The project is funded by the HFA, which is an alliance between Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, KLM Cargo, and Royal FloraHolland.

Christo van der Meer, Senior Consultant Supply Chain Innovation at Royal FloraHolland, led the pilot project task force and is preparing for the second phase of the trial.

“The initial trial was very successful with a 15 per cent increase of weight on airline pallets and boxes on the Nairobi to Amsterdam route, which demonstrates the value of collaboration between Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, KLM Cargo, and Royal FloraHolland,” said van der Meer.

“The results show that with the use of the Ideal Flowerbox we are able to optimise the aircraft’s load factor, which is beneficial for a sustainable and efficient operation.”

Pending a successful second phase of the trial, the HFA will evaluate the results and consider implementing the Ideal Flowerbox on more flower shipment routes in 2019.


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Ideal Flowerbox

The Ideal Flowerbox – a standardised box and pallet developed by the Holland Flower Alliance to make the shipment of flowers more efficient and sustainable.



Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is the fourth largest air cargo hub in Europe, moving 1.8 million tonnes in 2017.

Schiphol offers 525,000 m2 of cargo warehouses, of which 40 per cent have direct airside access. This includes facilities for perishables and pharma/life science cargo in multiple controlled-temperature zones, featuring refrigerated/deep-freezer and heated storage/handling facilities.

Over 150 logistics service providers are situated in the airport region, with over 50 per cent of all American and Asian European Distribution Centres located in the Netherlands. Schiphol benefits from close proximity to the Ports of Rotterdam and Amsterdam and an unparalleled European road feeder and distribution network.

Schiphol initiates and co-creates smart cargo solutions to help the airfreight business excel at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. One such initiative is the Smart Cargo Mainport Programme (SCMP) in which Schiphol, together with supply chain partners, aim to integrate data and digitalise the air cargo supply chain while optimising landside processes and launching new innovations.

In March 2016, Schiphol and its cargo community launched the Pharma Gateway Amsterdam that offers a CEIV-certified, closed and transparent pharma airport process.

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The Holland Flower Alliance is an enterprising group of floricultural industry professionals dedicated to logistics innovation and sustainability.

It was founded in 2016 by Royal FloraHolland, Schiphol Cargo, and KLM Cargo.

The Holland Flower Alliance was formed to optimise the logistics of the floricultural supply chain, from growth in East Africa and South America, through carriage to the local airport, seamless ground handling and clearance of customs documentation, air carriage to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, transport, storage and delivery to Royal FloraHolland customers. All at optimum temperature and with the minimum of intervention and delay.

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Emma Murray
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