The Netherlands is known all over the world as a flower-producing country. Although plenty of flowers still originate in the Netherlands, the majority of cultivation now takes place in countries near the equator. Kenya is one of the largest producing countries by volume, and the Netherlands is closely involved in efforts to improve its import and export procedures.
These import and export procedures are an important component of international logistics. They involve aspects such as import and export declarations, as well as plant-health inspections and the corresponding certificates.
Intense pressure on the chain
The complexity of the procedures and the vast quantities involved – millions of flower stems each day – means that pressure on exporters and logistics service providers to complete procedures quickly and accurately is intense. A missing certificate can lead to substantial delays or even rejection of the goods.
Ensuring a smooth transport chain is particularly vital when transporting delicate cargo such as flowers – maintaining proper conditions is crucial, and transport times should ideally be as short as possible.
Smart procedure design
To reduce administrative pressure, Royal FloraHolland, Dutch Customs, the inspection body NVWA, and Delft University of Technology are all partners of the European project CORE.
CORE stands for Consistently Optimised Resilient Secure Global SupplyChains, and its key objective is to promote international trade by designing smarter procedures for monitoring and inspection.
It does this primarily through improving the way information is exchanged between businesses and government authorities.
CORE is aimed at the most important flower chain: the one moving from Kenya to the Netherlands. For the import process, there is an effort to share information about each shipment with Customs at an earlier stage, in order to conduct the risk analysis faster.
Visit to Kenya
There is still great opportunity for improvement in Kenya.
To find out more, Royal FloraHolland, Dutch Customs, NVWA, and Delft University of Technology paid a visit to the country in December 2016.
One of the participants on the trip was Edwin Wenink, director of Royal FloraHolland programme FLOW, which aims to improve cooperation along the entire chain of ornamental plant cultivation.
“The purpose of our visit was to gain a clear picture of the administrative challenges within the export flows,” said Wenink.
“We also sought out cooperation with the Kenyan government including the Kenyan tax authority KRA and the Kenyan Plant Health Inspectorate Service KEPHIS.’
In 2017, the Kenyan government is making great progress in the area of automation.
The pilot project from KEPHIS and NVWA on the subject of digital plant-health certification is a good example of these efforts. Such a digital certificate would in turn offer possibilities for speeding up the entry process into the Netherlands.
The application process for certification, and the submission process of declarations are also under review . As it currently stands, a grower must take a great deal of information from his own system and enter it manually into various government portals. Reuse of this data will allow growers to prevent errors and save time.
Roel Huiden, CORE project manager
Edwin Wenink, FLOW, Royal FloraHolland