DHL Express Thailand on July 13 announced a Cactus Export Service to provide next-day delivery of delicate plants such as cacti from Thailand to Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia and Singapore.

Underlining the rising popularity of cacti in Southeast Asia, the company said the service would “allow local business owners to capture the opportunities of this increasing demand and expand their reach across the region.

“DHL Express provides cactus business owners with access to direct routes from Bangkok Hub and Gateway to the four country destinations. Full tracking visibility is enabled across the entire supply chain and supported by DHL Express’ own fleet of planes, ground transport and logistics facilities,” it said.

DHL Express Asia-Pacific CEO Ken Lee affirmed the significance of regular customer feedback in evaluating services and to pinpoint areas for improvement.

“We are constantly looking at ways to better serve our customers, and to be the platform of choice. By expanding our capabilities to now include cactus delivery not only opens doors to new possibilities and cross-border opportunities for our customers, it also shows our versatility and commitment to meet their needs,” he said.

The succulent and cactus plant market is expected to exhibit a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.80 per cent over 2022-2027, DHL Express Thailand said citing the Global Succulent and Cactus Plants Market Report 2020.

The four new Southeast Asian destinations “accommodate international trade amid the Covid-19 gardening boom”, it said.

Herbert Vongpusanachai, managing director at DHL Express Thailand and head of Indochina noted that the adoption of lifestyle-oriented e-commerce architectures had gained momentum during Covid-19.

“With our cactus export service, cactus business owners can take advantage of our global network and expertise to get their products quickly delivered. This launch reflects our commitment to Thai SMEs [small- and medium-sized enterprises], the sector most affected by the pandemic.

“We continue exploring alternative services for them, working closely with our operations to establish compliant processes that address the restrictions for cactus shipping to accommodate them,” he said.

DHL Express Thailand added that cactuses “adapt well to the intense heat and survive the warm and dry conditions of a centrally heated home.

“These succulents are also perfect for the less green-fingered, as they need only moderate watering and minimal care. The cactus business has become one of the hottest during the pandemic, with shops struggling to keep some species in stock,” it said.

Athiwat Chakpan, the owner of Cactus Inter noted that “with home gardening surging in popularity during the lockdown, I have been growing cactuses at home and this propelled me to take the plunge into entrepreneurship. I started the cross-border business because the market is much bigger and I use DHL Express for delivery.

“Although drought-resistant cactuses can survive without soil for months, having them packed with limited airflow during transit may cause the cactus to die quickly and lead to fragmented quality.

“Using a reliable express service provider is essential to building trust, especially with my return customers. Being able to track and trace their products en route, and receive their cactus plants safely and on time, is a great customer experience that we always aim to deliver,” he said.