FedEx, UPS go overtime for Valentine’s Day

February 11, 2005 - 12:01

An expected surge in Valentine’s Day flower purchases this year is proving to be a boon for both South American growers and major shipping companies. Atlanta-based UPS Inc. and Memphis, Tenn.-based FedEx Corp. are bringing in extra workers and planes to handle all the flower shipments from Colombia and Ecuador, where the bulk of the roses sold in the United States are grown.

The Society of American Florists predicts that this year’s demand will be high, with roughly 175 million roses produced for today’s holiday. According to an article in The Herald, FedEx expects to carry 900,000 shipments of Valentine’s Day gifts, including flowers, teddy bears and chocolates, and UPS said it expects to move in excess of 20 million flowers alone.

“While our total volume is roughly the same as last year,” Jack Muhs, FedEx’s vice president of global network planning, said in The Herald article, “our peak day, Monday, is going to be 30 percent higher than last year. Most of the husbands or sweethearts want to get the product there on Valentine’s Day,” he added. “This year, with the holiday falling on a Monday, we’re focusing a lot of attention on the weekend.”

To handle the extra volume, the article said, FedEx added more than 100 refrigerated trucks and more than 50 flights last week and over the weekend. At UPS, the company said that during the run-up to Valentine’s Day, it doubles its number of flights out of South America to handle the flower shipments.

The National Retail Federation (NRF) estimates that consumers will spend less, on average, this Valentine’s Day, though more people will be celebrating the holiday, which could give a boost to overall spending. NRF says 2005 Valentine’s Day spending is expected to reach $13.2 billion.

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