Here’s what most people know about Amsterdam. It has more canals than Venice, it rains a lot, everyone rides bicycles there, and it’s right in the heart of the flower capital of the world.
But those of us in the air cargo logistics and services business know one more thing, that Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is also home to one of the top providers in the industry– Prime Fresh Handling.
A total of three PFH employees are now based at Schiphol, the main international airport of the Netherlands. Located nine km outside the city of Amsterdam, AMS is high on the list of the world’s busiest airports by cargo traffic, ranking alongside Chicago O’Hare and London Heathrow.
And for Prime Fresh Handling, it is a prime location for growth, opportunity, and successes now and for years to come, as it also serves as a convenient gateway to the rest of the European market.
To get a perspective on the AMS operation, we talked with Marco Vink, Prime Fresh Handling’s General Manager based here at Schiphol.
Q: Tell us a about your Amsterdam operation?
MV: Prime Fresh Handling is one of the companies that compose the Prime Group. It is dedicated to import and handling of flowers, fruits, and vegetables. We are handling over 26 million kgs here on our six weekly freighters from South America, offering services such as vacuum cooling, transit handling, and export from the Dutch and French growers.
Q:With the growing success at AMS office, are you outgrowing your office?
MV: At the moment, we are in the process of moving to a new and larger facility where we can further grow and expand our operation. It’s going to be in a facility just 10 minutes from the airport, with very good infrastructure – and close to all major customers are in the region like Aalsmeer, Westland – all via direct access of the motorway.
Q: What is the focus of service at the AMS station?
MV: Our focus is on import and export, handling produce and flowers, and offering our clients an end-to-end solution with Fresh 2 Door service.
Q:What is your strategy with the AMS operation?
MV: Specializing in professional and responsive service to the customers, with a single-point-of-contact policy, is the hallmark of our service. We also offer the customer direct service so that they never have to wait for hours to get the attention they need and deserve. It’s a strategic approach that is not only quite appealing in the marketplace, but is working well for our customers and us.
Q:What does the market in The Netherlands and Europe look like?
MV: Markets across Europe have a lot of potential with imports and export of various produce from Peru, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina – and there is a wide range of products for sale on the export markets into Middle East, Far East, and U.S.
Q: Who are your biggest customers?
MV: Our biggest customers are the agents who we are flying the products for; and all major fruit, vegetable, and flower importers/exporters in the wholesale markets – as well as the big flowers auctions in Holland, of course.
Q: What are the primary products of the region?
MV: The main products we transport by air are flowers, plants, fish, cheese, fruit vegetables, and general cargo.
Q: How do you store, ship, and transport product to ensure the best quality?
MV: We are the “go-to professionals” in the business, transporting temperature-controlled products and maintaining a closed cold-chain, as we have the capability to store various products in the right environment and at different temperature settings. All is constantly monitored and measured by qualified, experienced staff.
Q:What do you think of the city of Amsterdam? Is Holland your home country?
MV: I was born there in 1971 – a very good year if I may say so myself! Amsterdam is a truly multi-cultural city and has a strong reputation in the world as a lovely town with an amazing flower-bulb market, some cheese farms, and of course the wooden shoes.
Q:Are you happy with your assignment in the Prime Group world? And please share a little know fact about Marco Vink that we might find interesting.
MV: I am a father of four children and married to a lovely wife. I started working in the industry in 1992, and accepted various positions in the business of import and export air and ocean logistics of perishable products. I think working for Prime Group gives me a strong motivation to succeed – and hope to have the opportunity to do just that by growing the business, in a nice and stable environment.
Q. In addition to the recent Royal FloraHolland Trade Fair Aalsmeer, what other shows are best to attend – in getting the word out about Prime Fresh Handling.
MV: The IFTF show indeed just passed we had a very productive presence, yes. Other shows we are visiting are the Fruit Attraction in Madrid, Fruit logistica in Berlin, the PMA in the USA, Flowers Expo in Moscow, and the Expo Flor in Ecuador.