DHL is preparing for the rush of flower shipments destined for sweethearts nationwide this Valentine’s Day. With its newly expanded air and ground network, the company expects to deliver nearly four million individual flower stems direct to retailers and consumers nationwide on or before February 14th.

‘DHL understands the importance of Valentine’s Day for many of our retail and online customers’ businesses,’ said Fred Beljaars, executive vice president of operations for DHL. ‘New floral customers have sought out our enhanced network and are turning over significant volumes to DHL during their peak selling season. We’ve provided these floral businesses the operational flexibility, capacity and handling required for the special needs of this very seasonal business,’ added Beljaars. DHL has been investing $1.2 billion in its ground and air network, and over the last two years has doubled the number of sort centers for improved capacity, reliability and speed.

To ensure that flowers are delivered on-time and intact for customers across the country, DHL has prepared its operations to ensure this Valentine’s Day is a blooming success. The majority of DHL’s expedited floral shipments are imported from South America to DHL’s Gateway in Miami, Fla., where DHL will have a fleet of refrigerated line-haul trucks standing-by to transport flower shipments to its main air and ground hub in Wilmington, Ohio, for the days leading up to February 14th. Once at the DHL hub, the shipments will be sorted, and flown to their final destinations nationwide just in time for delivery to consumers on the morning of Valentine’s Day. DHL operations will also include three wide-body aircraft specifically dedicated for floral shipments out of Miami International Airport on February 13th.

American Rainbow Floral Company (ARFC), based in Fort Myers, FL, brings fresh cut flowers from Latin America to Miami, with DHL distributing them to retail florists across the US by noon the next day. ‘Since we switched to DHL’s next day services, we’ve been able to get our shipments to point-of-sale faster than before, improving the quality of our flowers and reducing the damage caused by long hours in transit by 50%,’ said Joe Stachel, President of ARFC. ‘DHL pays close attention to every aspect of our business; and with their help ARFC has increased sales and enhanced service for our customers with higher quality flowers at the time of delivery.’

In addition to roses, the conventional expression of love, ARFC expects to ship hundreds of orders of tulips this Valentine’s Day. Tulips are cut in the morning fresh from a Virginia-based farm, packed in special upright hampers, collected by DHL in the afternoon, and distributed to retailers next day by noon nationwide. ‘Tulips are even more perishable than roses, and through our arrangement with DHL we can get these freshly cut tulips from farm to door in less than 24 hours,’ noted Stachel.

DHL is also working closely with The USA Bouquet Company, an e-commerce floral fulfillment business with operations in Miami, FL, to coordinate their shipping and handling for bouquets and floral arrangements. ‘Our business has doubled every year for the past three years, so we needed a carrier to augment the transportation shortage that we’ve experienced in the past, especially during holidays when our gifts are most popular,’ said Edgar Lozano, president of The USA Bouquet Company. ‘DHL has provided the distribution network and capacity we need for Valentine’s Day and other holidays.’ DHL works closely with The USA Bouquet Company to provide customized operational arrangements for shipment pickup from their distribution facilities in Miami, Atlanta and Chicago. DHL provides late pickup service as well as dedicated, refrigerated line-haul trucks from its three distribution centers to DHL’s primary air and ground hub in Wilmington, Ohio, to help manage The USA Bouquet Company’s shipments.