Modern refrigerated and controlled-atmosphere containers may facilitate a modal shift in the cut-flower market. Until now flowers were almost exclusively handled by air; special shipping containers would potentially be much cheaper.
The Taiwan Floriculture Exports Association and Taiwan Agricultural Research Institute, did static tests showing that a controlled atmosphere container was able to keep a shipment of Oncidium orchids in shelf-condition for 18 days.
The main exporting countries are Colombia, Ecuador and Kenya.
It is claimed that exports from as far as Australia would be possible by sea, massively reducing costs and emissions.
Shipping lines say that ocean freight has the smallest carbon footprint of all major forms of long-distance freight, and air freight has the largest.