Sizable Benefits of Shipping by Ocean Freight

Prime Group has long specialized in import logistics and export logistics support for produce and perishables goods such as seafood, flowers, and pharmaceuticals— specialty items that need to be shipped within a limited timeframe with maximum visibility.

But not all cargo is time sensitive and needs to reach the customer tomorrow. If a transit time of up to a month from point to point is acceptable, then sea freight is the best choice, and Prime Logistics is ready to deliver.

To learn more about Prime Logistics’ growing emphasis on ocean freight services, we sat down with Group Sales Manager Yulieth Onofre. Having joined the Miami-based sales team in March 2020, she has vast experience in the ocean cargo side of the business, and is busy working her contacts to expand the company’s reach in this important niche.

Q: Are customers pleased to know that the Prime Group companies have a sales division dedicated to ocean freight?

Yulieth: Prime Logistics is synonymous with air cargo transport, yes, but as a full-service provider of global shipping and handling, a growing number of our customers also rely on us to get their products where they need go when rapid delivery isn’t the top priority.

Q: Why do customers pick ocean freight?

Yulieth: When determining the best mode of transport, shippers, and forwarders not only consider how fast they need delivery, but they also factor in price. As you know, airfreight shipment is considerably more expensive than the same volume of sea freight cargo. So, essentially, it comes down to the nature of the freight, the time frame, and how much the shipper is willing and able to spend.

Q. Why join Prime Logistics right when the pandemic first hit?

Yulieth: Because most global logistics companies were designated “essential businesses,” such as those under the Prime Group umbrella, we continued operating for customers who needed us most, in addition to the new customers involved in the worldwide emergency response. As a result, air cargo space was at a premium, and a lot of resources were put toward meeting that demand.

But throughout this entire period, cargo—like computers and other high-demand non-perishable commodities—were still moving by ocean freight, especially food. People have got to eat! Vessels were still going to the same countries on the same itineraries carrying pineapples, avocados, mangos, and dry goods from companies such as a Goya and Iberia. In fact, we are now working to get more business from Iberia.

We are also working with customers who ship massive volumes of e-commerce goods like electronics, cosmetics, apparel, and home goods. Other good candidates to ship by sea freight are heavy equipment, cranes, and project cargoes. And, of course, we are also still moving medical equipment and supplies.

Q: What do you bring to the Prime Logistics team?

Yulieth: I’ve got 20 years of experience in ocean freight—more than I want to admit to! But as a result, I am able to serve as the perfect ally for our customers because I have a clear understanding of the business and the processes involved. I am always able to find the right balance between service, quality, cost components, reliability of the service provider, and timeframes involved.

To be effective, it’s important to know the market, as well as how to ensure the customer doesn’t incur unnecessary charges due to improper or untimely documentation. I optimize routing, match the customer with the best mode of shipment, and due to long-term professional relationships with service providers, I achieve the best freight rates.

Q: Are there any downsides to using ocean freight that you have to explain to customers?

Yulieth: There are so many benefits to ocean shipping, but yes, customers should know of the challenge in predicting and controlling the shipping timelines due to circumstances like congestion at sea ports, which can end up causing delays and additional costs. Natural disasters also can wreak havoc on shipping patterns and schedules.  But we are very good at preparing for, monitoring, and responding to those real threats.

Q: What’s the market for ocean freight looking like at present?

Yulieth: Typically, August and into the fall would be the annual peak season for ocean shipping. In recent years, a summertime peak period has emerged in advance back-to-school demand, but that didn’t happen due to the pandemic. So, now we are entering a peak period ahead of the holidays. Whatever happens, we need to be cognizant of the degree to which our customers are preparing right now, in October, for the shopping months of November and December. And with capacity back in the market, ocean freight rates have dropped a bit.

About Prime Logistics

One of the four main divisions of Prime Group Holdings, an international import-export logistics conglomerate founded in Ecuador in 2001, Prime Logistics streamlines, optimizes, and expedites freight to and from the U.S. for a wide range of major industries.

With offices in Miami, New York, Los Angeles, Bogota, Quito, and Amsterdam, Prime Logistics capitalizes on its long-time relationships with the major air carriers and ocean lines, so it may offer competitive rates and ample space to destinations all around the world.

Prime Logistics Sales Manager Yulieth Onofre may be reached at salesmanager@primelogisticsgroup.com. For information, call 305-592-2044 or visit www.primelogisticsgroup.com.

‘Tis the Season for Citrus at PFH’s New York & L.A. Handling Facilities

Prime Fresh Handling is playing a small but important role in helping New York’s Jewish community celebrate the high holidays, by managing weekly shipments of a small but important perishable—celebratory etrogs from Israel.

With its thick rind and aromatic skin, this variety of citrus that looks like a large knobby lemon has been used for medical purposes for centuries. But this time of year, the etrog served to decorate ritual huts that are constructed for use during the weeklong celebration of Sukkot, Oct. 3-9.

The Jewish holiday season got underway last month with Rosh Hashanah, the traditional Jewish New Year, and Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year in Judaism. But it’s during Sukkot that Jews around the world commemorate the 40 years their ancestors wandered in the desert on their way to the Promised Land.

Also known as the “Feast of Booths” for the way by which they were protected while under difficult desert conditions, the etrog is a key component of the decoration of temporary huts that Jews construct this time of year.

Because special care is given by celebrants in selecting the most vibrant etrogs for Sukkot, PFH recognizes its critical role in providing expert handling of these perishable goods in a temperature-controlled environment. After all, the safe and timely transit of these yellow citrons to the homes Jewish people across the New York metro area only comes once a year.

Expert care at the handling facility at JFK Airport must include maintaining the temperature of this delicate citrus at exactly 60°-65°F to ensure freshness upon delivery.

“Chag Sameach” – Happy Holiday!

PFH-New York: Just two miles from JFK, PFH-New York supports importers, wholesalers, and retailers of flowers, fish, and other temperature-sensitive perishables with state-of-the-art facilities, cold chain management, and refrigerated trucking service across the Tri-State/Eastern Canada region.

Bi-Coastal Appeal

All the way over on the West Coast, PFH professionals at the LAX handling facility are also keenly aware of their role in handling citrus fruit, namely juicy fresh organic lemons for everyday consumption all across the U.S.

But sometimes things don’t go quite as planned. That’s why exporters and importers of superior fruit worldwide depend on PFH for presorting in order to separate and discard lemons gone bad while transiting.

PFH has cultivated a culture that empowers its people to personally own” every aspect of a customer operation and to take on logistical hurdles when they arise with fresh and innovative eyes.

So when some lemons in a consignment transiting through LAX were spotted with unsightly brown stains, PFH experts quickly stepped into action. Spotting can occur as a result of even the slightest temperature changes during the shipping process. To protect against spoilage, PFH always keeps lemons in cold storage during handling and shipping.

With a final destination of U.S.-based Whole Foods Market, discerning customers demand and deserve fresh, top-quality produce, and so PFH delivers every time for distributors like Washington-based DOVEX Fruit Company.

PFH-Los Angeles: Featuring a 52,000 sq ft warehouse, PFH-LAX enhances and optimizes a comprehensive menu of logistics services between the U.S. West Coast and all Asian markets and Mexico. Approved to handle organic produce by the California Certified Organic Farmers, and with FDA and USDA compliance, PFH-LAX specializes in export logistics, import logistics, and 24/7 perishable goods handling.

About Prime Fresh Handling

Embodying the very definition of service and expertise in the swift, safe, and efficient delivery of perishables, PFH offices and warehouses are located in Miami, Amsterdam, Bogota, and Quito, as well as Los Angeles and New York.

Every member of the PFH specialized team has extensive knowledge in managing time- and temperature-sensitive cargo, from fresh fish, produce, and cut flowers to pharmaceutical products and vaccines. No matter the distance, PFH delivers ultimate freshness for a wide range of trans-global customers.

Specialized services available at all PFH facilities include:

  • Airport-to-door and door-to-door service
  • Consolidation and documentation for palletizing
  • Import-export management and customs clearance
  • Temperature-controlled environment
  • Vacuum cooling and pre-cooling
  • Barcoding
  • Presorting and labeling
  • Shrink wrapping
  • Domestic and international trucking
  • Bonded warehousing offsite
  • Supply chain management
  • Pharmaceutical handling
  • Global air charters

Contact Prime Fresh Handling at infopfh@prime-fresh.com; or call 1-888-PRIME39 (1-888-774-6339), or 1-305-592-2044. Also visit www.prime-fresh.com.

Prime Group Has Its Marching Orders in the Battle Against COVID-19

Every answer begins with a question. But these days, there seem to be so many questions, especially within the global logistics industry. Chief among them—are we ready with cold chain solutions to respond to the onslaught of COVID-19 vaccines once they’re ready for worldwide delivery?

At the Prime Group, the answer is yes. We are prepared.

As a company specializing in solid answers and smart solutions for its customers, we understand answers don’t always come easy, particularly in the midst of such a long-lasting “critical event” as a global pandemic.

Significant variability has always been the Achilles’ heel of the global supply chain. Natural disasters, equipment failure, civil unrest, terrorism, blight – at least we knew what the basic categories were. But a pandemic with the power to shut down the entire global economy? That one wasn’t even on the radar screen!

And now, we are facing an all new phase of this novel “variable”—the release of billions of doses of highly-sensitive vaccines and the challenges that will present for a worldwide infrastructure to support rapid distribution and deployment all across the planet.

No small task.

By focusing on what we do well and applying new strategies in operating our businesses, I am confident that we can and will succeed in providing the right answers and solutions for our customers—and the world.   

It’s been said wars are won by superior logistics more than battles. It would appear we’ve got our marching orders.

Transport

The most important element of logistics is transport—and this is where Prime Group clearly excels. Without transport, goods are unable to move from one stage to another within a supply chain. We are supremely experienced in transporting complex time- and temperature-sensitive products all over the world. And we stand ready.

Our long-time relationships with some of the world’s largest and most reliable air cargo carriers and our proven expertise in managing ad-hoc cargo charter operations positions us well to do our part in expediting vaccines and other pharmaceutical products when and where it is needed most.

There is going to be an unprecedented demand for cargo space, far greater than there was for PPE at the advent of the pandemic. As the Prime Group was able to pivot and perform then, we are confident we can do it again for this next round.

Storage & Material Handling

The prevailing pre-pandemic logic, the old normal if you will, was that consumers tend not to demand goods at the same rate as a manufacturer supplies them. In supplying the entire world with a vaccine, that idea is about to be turned on its head.

This is where the role of cold storage, material handling, and warehousing comes in as well as the ability to better track and monitor the shipments. It is also an area of recent focus by the Prime Group—the rollout of enhanced state-of-the-art inventory tracking and product monitoring technologies.

To maintain the integrity and effectiveness of the cold supply chain, we are adding capacity among our network of temperature-controlled warehouses at key international transit points. We are also coordinating the necessary manpower and services needed on the ground at anticipated staging locations where the vaccines will be delivered to government agencies and world health organizations.

Packaging

Next is the role of packaging. With regard to the care and condition of the vaccine products, resilient packaging will be essential. But more than that, when released for emergency use, we expect this new class of COVID vaccines will come with strict temperature requirements, perhaps ranging between -70 and -80 degrees Celsius, and consistent temperature management.

With expansive knowledge and experience in the transport of temperature-sensitive pharmaceuticals, the Prime Group is trained and ready to employ stringent government-approved procedures and staff at its strategically-positioned network of refrigerated warehouses to ensure product stability throughout the last-mile network.

Information & Control

In meeting the demand for reliable distribution of vaccines and crucial medical supplies, timeliness and accuracy of information is critical. Global supply chain visibility and event notification are key to Prime Group’s ability to meet customer demand and service reliability. Visibility starts with the ability to answer very basic questions: Where is it? When will it arrive? Is the expected date different from the planned date?

These days, we know we cannot simply look at past data to create models on which we can base long-term predictions. Instead, we must rely on short-term predictions. By partnering with leaders in the field of global IT software development, Prime Group has been redefining and digitizing its operations for enhanced efficiency, adaptability, readiness, and performance.

At such a strategically crucial moment, when there is so much at stake, we need fast access to mission-critical insights to meet the needs of our customers. Prime Group is also exploring AI-powered augmented analytics to help us explore and analyze data that will trigger various operational procedures essential to the on-time and safe delivery of refrigerated cargo from origin to destination.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about tremendous change in the way that the Prime Group delivers necessary cargo quickly and efficiently around the world. As a result, we are in a better position than ever.

And as we see signs that researchers and pharmaceutical companies are on the verge of having a viable vaccine, we know that their success in winning the battle against this disease depends on an our ability to deliver.