A great read from Bloomberg on the crash of the $8.5 billion global trade in cut flowers. It shows shows how quickly and distinctively coronavirus is disrupting sophisticated supply chains across multiple industries.
The flower trade is a miracle of modern capitalism. A chain of cold storage starts with stems being picked in places as far-flung as Africa, the Middle East, and South America, then packed into refrigerated trucks, driven to refrigerated planes, and flown to Amsterdam to be auctioned off. They’re then repacked into more cold trucks and planes and delivered to supermarkets, florists, and bridal bouquets across Asia, Europe, and the U.S. The auctions are run by a cooperative, Royal FloraHolland, formed a century ago by a group of growers who met in a pub and devised a system to better control how their flowers were sold. Royal FloraHolland now runs four auction sites that handle the bulk of the global trade.