How YWG helps flowers arrive in time for Mother’s Day

Long before Manitobans celebrate their moms on Mother’s Day, business starts to bloom at Petals West Inc. Employees at the flower-distribution company, based on the edge of the Winnipeg Richardson International Airport campus, spring into high gear to make sure you can find the perfect boutique.

“The weeks leading up to Mother's Day are the busiest of the year,” said Tyler Specula, Operations Manager at Petals West Inc. “We are processing millions of stems of flowers.”

A good crop of them cross the cargo area at YWG before they arrive in the hands of florists. On average, 140 tonnes of fresh cut flowers are shipped through the airport every month. However, around Mother’s Day, the amount grows significantly. Last May alone, 217 tonnes of flowers arrived in Winnipeg by plane with most of them coming from Colombia or Ecuador. In February 2019, with Valentine’s Day on the radar, the airport saw its second busiest month of the year for flower shipments with a demand roughly 20 tonnes less than when we express our love for mom.

“The majority (of our flowers) are transported by air initially from South America,” said Specula. “Within Canada, we fly locally grown product into Winnipeg from Vancouver and Ontario to help us get the flowers faster.”

Those quick deliveries are made possible thanks to the 24/7 operation of YWG. The airport is a major cargo leader in North America seeing approximately 24 cargo freight planes land and depart from Winnipeg every day. This allows for the timely distribution of perishable, expensive and time-sensitive items, like flowers and much more

“Air cargo is often underappreciated and certainly underestimated,” said Pascal Bélanger, Chief Commercial Officer at Winnipeg Airports Authority. “Having a vibrant overnight air cargo network means we can get business-to-business critical goods to flow to and from Winnipeg quickly as well as ensuring direct consumer purchases can be delivered quickly.”

The process of shipping flowers by air is as delicate as the petals of a rose. They need to be kept at a constant temperature just above freezing so they’re as fresh when they arrive as they were when picked at the farm.

“It's important to make sure the flowers are packed tightly and at a cool temperature before shipping,” said Specula. “We take a lot of pride in supplying the market with high-quality fresh flowers and plants.”

After all, mom deserves the best. Not just on Mother’s Day but every day.

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