Centre of Applied Research Technology

Impact of COVID-19 on the Dutch Flower Trade-Logistics Node


Cut, cooled, packed, transported and traded all over the world, flowers represent a showcase of a worldwide integrated trade-logistics system. As one of the most perishable, vulnerable and time-critical products, speed is everything in harvesting, moving and trading of flowers. In the international trade of flowers and logistics of florticulture products, the Netherlands is the largest center of trade and logistics of flowers, taking a share of more than 40% in global cut flower export volume. When COVID-19 hit the world, this ever-moving system came to a full stop. What did this mean for the trade and logistics system? Which players were hit most? Did the crises change the system, just interrupt it or has it set the stage for developments already under way to strengthen and accelerate?

This chapter presents and discusses the international position of the Dutch trade-logistics system as the most dynamic part of a worldwide flower industry. It sketches key trends in the industry over the last decade and draws a line towards possible post-COVID-19 scenarios for the worldwide flower industry and the international position of the Netherlands. The Dutch flower industry has shown incredible resilience to the external shock of COVID-19, but the crisis also has uncovered some weaknesses of the international flower industry. However, the chapter concludes that it is unlikely that these weaknesses will change the direction of developments in the sector, some of which already started to take shape in the 1970s. The chapter is based on pre-COVID-19 research and literature on the trade-logistics hub of the Netherlands, an analysis of trade and logistics data from around 2000 up to the first months of 2021, and existing economic scenarios for the flower industry and world trade.

Reference Levelt, M., & El Makhloufi, A. (2022). Impact of COVID-19 on the Dutch Flower Trade-Logistics Node. In S. D. Brunn, & D. Gilbreath (Eds.), COVID-19 and a World of Ad Hoc Geographies (Vol. 1, pp. 1467-1485). Springer Nature Switzerland AG. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-94350-9_80
1 January 2022