Emirates SkyCargo flower
UAE and Saudi Arabia are among the top four import locations for flowers globally. Image Credit: Emirates

Dubai: Dubai’s Emirates SkyCargo is scaling up its cool chain capacity for perishables. The demand for floral arrangements is rising amid a bustling summer season for weddings and outdoor events.

The airline’s cargo division announced Monday that in May 2023, Emirates SkyCargo shipped 3,590 tonnes of time and temperature-sensitive fresh-cut flowers, a 20 per cent rise from last year. Ecuador and Kenya are the top two export origin locations, and UAE and Saudi Arabia are among the top four import locations for flowers globally, explained the airline.


Ecuador, in particular, has experienced a steady rise in flower trade in recent years, increasing its exports by 21 per cent in May this year compared to 2022. Moreover, the Netherlands, which plays a major role in the world’s flower trade, remains in the top three export origins and import locations.

Dennis Lister, Senior Vice President – Product and Innovation at Emirates SkyCargo, said, “We are seeing an increased demand for fresh flowers as the wedding season in the Northern Hemisphere reaches its peak, and a corresponding spike in demand for logistics capabilities to protect perishables.”

22,500 tonnes of perishable commodities every month

Perishables are the carrier’s largest business by tonnage carried, uplifting an average of 22,500 tonnes of perishable commodities every month. At least 500 to 600 tonnes of perishables are transported on Emirates SkyCargo flights daily, said Lister.

From freshly picked mangoes from Pakistan to salmon from Norway and flowers from Kenya, Emirates SkyCargo transports these goods across its global network of over 140 destinations.

However, fresh-cut flowers dominate as the leading perishable category transported by SkyCargo, with chilled meat and fresh fruits rounding out the top three perishable product categories.