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The California Cut Flower Commission has launched a new transport project that it estimates will save 13-58 percent of the cost of shipping California flowers to buyers across the nation.

A third-party logistics firm, Total Logistics Control, founded in 1902 in Holland, MI, was chosen for the project at the commission's May 13 meeting, according to Kasey Cronquist, executive director and ambassador for the commission. Its selection culminated a 20-month process of developing the plan and interviewing firms to carry it out.

The plan was developed under a $95,000 federal block grant by a consultant, Tom French of Supply Chain Coach in Dublin, CA, and the commission’s transportation committee, chaired by Rene Van Wingerden, owner of Ocean Breeze International in Carpinteria, CA.

"Total Logistics Control will now begin the start-up phase of the process by finalizing the roll-out plan for September's launch," Mr. Cronquist told The Produce News May 27. “The commission will be organizing workshops with growers in each of its districts to introduce TLC and the concept to those who would like to commit their shipping volume to this new program.”

Mr. Cronquist added that the new transport program will be a competitive alternative to the current transportation model and will “help California flower farms deliver a lower landed cost for their flowers to customers. The model will address these costs by optimizing interstate and intrastate freight movement.”

Also announced at the commission meeting was a $150,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to underwrite marketing of the plan to growers and buyers. Activities will include meetings and training sessions with California growers and large flower buyers across the nation, along with development of communications materials.