Warming up to the Prospect of Surviving Disasters along the Cold Supply Chain

With the corporate headquarters of the Prime Group based in Miami, we are keenly aware of the prospect of major storms disrupting our operations – and especially right now as the Atlantic hurricane season is upon us.

But beyond the potential physical-plant threats to businesses along “Hurricane Alley,” the impact of a disaster on a global logistics enterprise here can easily extend to all corners of the globe. That’s because today’s supply chain is more tightly interconnected than ever.

As successful supply chain operators in the field of perishables, vaccines, and multiple other sensitive commodities, our subsidiary companies Prime Logistics and Prime Fresh Handling are certainly no strangers to dealing with risk. And while climatologists don’t expect this hurricane season to be as busy as 2021, it only takes one storm to test their ability to respond to fast changing conditions.

We’ve long known that what truly counts is #1 smart planning; #2 ability to adapt, and; #3 the use of new technologies.

Disasters of a Different Color
Of course Mother Nature doesn’t account for all disasters. In addition to sustaining snowstorms, hurricanes, and the recent California fires, this 1-2-3 approach to survival also comes to play in managing through manmade disasters. Civil and labor unrest, cyber-attacks, piracy, major utility failures, terrorism, and other “critical events” are also among the panoply of catastrophes that can take a stress a business to the breaking point if not managed right.

Smart Planning
Using extreme weather as a model, each incident large or small, provides a lesson for supply chains to be better prepared for the next. This includes scenario mapping, inventory tracking, and close collaboration with peers, customers, suppliers, and vendors.

In the Florida market, the first step to in preparing for the coming hurricane season is blow the dust off that old familiar maxim: It’s not a question of “if,” it’s a matter of “when.”

Constant monitoring of conditions and continual risk analysis become the basic tools in minimizing operational impact. There is no single rule of thumb to know the degree to which a critical event may or may not affect your operation, which is why preparation is key. But we do know is there is no margin for error, especially on the cold supply food chain.

Adaptability
In the face of a storm, natural or otherwise, the right decisions have to be made – be it re-routing product in transit, slowing or halting the movement of cargo to and from seaports, or just knowing when to hunker down and ride it out.

A couple years back, a storm heading straight at South Florida was showing telltale signs of becoming a major hurricane. In light of this, one steamship line decided to halt a sailing for several days – but with tens-of-thousands of dollars in worth of time and temperature sensitive product onboard, this was now becoming customer-relations disaster all its own.

By working with the supplier to quickly unload the merchandise, we were able to find another ship that was doing an earlier sailing. As a result, the customer was spared a major loss of product, and all the insurance claim hassles that would entail.

Successful logistics providers are smart to know that when coupled together, forecasting and adaptability are key to maintaining solid relationships in the perishables and medical supply and vaccines industries, as well as to the integrity of the entire cold supply chain.

Planning and resiliency also go hand in hand. So as natural disasters and wildfires continue to grow both in frequency and intensity, it further underscores the necessity of having a well-conceived business-resiliency plan in place.

And now add to that list, worldwide pandemics.

No matter the source of the disruption, unexpected shifts in supply and demand call for flexibility among all parties: producers, shippers, retailers, and consumers. The COVID-19 crisis not only revealed major vulnerabilities in the worldwide food system, its ripple effects were felt across the entire chain, from farm to pantry shelf.

By employing an impact analysis coupled with a comprehensive disaster recovery plan, we can better respond to such disruptions – while at the same time have a better chance at maintaining continuous business operations and protecting  product and assets.

But at the end of the day, it is immensely important to have an expert logistics provider on your side like Prime Logistics or Prime Fresh Handling offering consistently smart and creative solutions – not excuses.

Technology
Smarts come with experience. It also comes as a result of using the latest innovations in technology.

The wave of the future for industries across all business sectors is artificial intelligence (AI). Within the specialized food distribution arena, this is particularly exciting because of the role AI is going to play in preparing for natural and manmade disasters.

As we progress deeper into the automated world of AI, hopefully predictive information on natural disasters will help buyers, food distribution companies, and logistic vendors not just make delivery more intelligent, but to maintain the freshness of product across the entire cold supply chain.

For more than 20 years, our customers have depended on us to be smart, nimble, and intuitive problem solvers – and we will continue to be there for them in the best and worst of times.

~ CEO Roger Paredes

Ensuring that Vaccines Become Vaccinations Remains Our Critical Mission

In 2020, the entire world’s priority mission was to stop COVID-19 in its tracks. But even now, as we enter the second half of 2021, infection rates continue to rise, with global deaths about to top the 4 million mark, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

And though more than 2.75 billion vaccine doses have been administered worldwide – equal to 36 for every 100 people – in dozens of poor countries, inoculation has barely started.

Brazil just recently surpassed 500,000 COVID deaths, more than any country but the U.S.; and a COVID surge is now happening across Africa, where more contagious variants are spreading fast. Meanwhile, a growing number of countries are allowing – even encouraging – people to get two different vaccines, rather than two shots of the same one, in hopes of boosting the immune response.

Clearly the virus-fighting mission remains as critical as ever. Quick, efficient, and safe distribution of tens of millions of additional doses of those life-saving vaccines and medical supplies must remain a priority in order to support the massive immunization of people on every continent on the planet.

 Global Logistics Companies Doing Their Part

Worldwide logistics firms, such as Prime Logistics thus remain at “ground zero” in helping to stop the spread of the virus, by ensuring vaccines move door-to-door while maintaining their efficacy – from manufacturer to airport to the last mile.

Since the very first vaccine was administered in the UK in December 2020, it was understood that delivering coronavirus vaccines would be an astounding task. By some estimates, more than 10 billion doses will still need to be delivered to all regions of the world over the next two years.

Ultimately, as a global community, the goal is to turn vaccines into vaccinations – and failure is not an option. That’s why Prime Logistics remains well positioned and ready to play a vital role in providing the best supply-chain transport and logistics possible.

 Cold Supply Chain at the Forefront of Vaccine Logistics

The cold chain is at the forefront of vaccine logistics. The coronavirus vaccines have strict temperature requirements that must be maintained throughout the supply chain. An important part of adhering to the requirements is ample freezer capacity and monitoring systems that ensure product temperatures don’t get too high or too low. These are service lines where Prime Logistics and its network of partners around the world excel.

All across the globe, we are now handling multi-faceted, highly complex logistics services and carefully mapping out the transportation of vaccine shipments from manufacturing sites to land-based transportation, onto airline and cargo flights, and into temperature-controlled holding facilities. From there, the vaccines await pick-up by delivery services on the local level for distribution to hospitals and clinics.

Prime Logistics knows that few other missions than the worldwide delivery of vaccines is more important. For every day that goes by without the maximum number of people being vaccinated, more lives are at risk. We are very grateful they we’re able to utilize our expertise in shipment and handling of cold-pack, perishable goods to help save lives.

The critical mission is clear. Global control of this pandemic cannot be achieved until and unless the vaccines get into the hands – and arms – of people in every corner of the world. We’re very proud to be doing our part.

WCA Credential Underscores Our Commitment to Pharmaceutical Logistics

Recognized by the World Cargo Association (WCAworld) – and its nearly 10,000 members in 194 countries – Prime Logistics remains the first-ever U.S. based global logistics company to offer the expertise of a fully credentialed Responsible Person for Logistics.

This highly regarded designation, awarded through London-based WCAworld Academy, signifies that corporate staff has a thorough understanding of the vast regulatory requirements for storage and distribution of materials for medicinal products in the pharmaceutical industry – not just in the U.S. but across the entire freight forwarding community worldwide.

Such certification comes at a pivotal time for the air cargo industry, as logistics companies across the globe are being called upon to play an ever-increasing role in the crucial worldwide distribution of COVID-19 vaccine.

Leader in Global Logistics

Having a WCA-accredited Responsible Person on staff reinforces the company’s commitment to continually expanding its knowledge base through education, innovation, and adaptation. It also reaffirms the company’s position as a trusted leader in the global logistics industry.

Responsible Person (RP) in Logistics course training provides candidates with a thorough understanding of the regulatory requirements for storage and distribution of materials or medicinal products in the pharmaceutical industry. Once certified in “Good Distribution Practice of Medical Products for Human Use,” the provider possesses a practical understanding of the systems and processes required to be implemented worldwide in delivering services in the most safe and efficient manner.

A key benefit of the certification is being authorized to proudly display the distinctive Responsible Person Certified (RP) seal – and the industry clout that brings.

This important RP designation ensures that customers know that Prime Logistics is highly qualified, knowledgeable, and compliant not only with the rules and regulations for shipping in the U.S., but for the multinational clients and companies that depend on us to properly prepare, package, and document their cargo so that it can be accepted without delay at airports and ship ports all across the world.

Certainly, this achievement puts Prime Logistics in a prime position, competitively. Additionally, this RP certification focuses not only on moving pharmaceuticals like vaccines, but also compliance and needed skills to expertly provide a whole host of medical supply logistics solutions.

The Go-To Source

WCAworld training also covers all the requirements of Good Distribution Practice (GDP) and associated responsibilities to ensure that products are exported and imported within the legal supply chain. This makes the “Responsible Person” the go-to source for the company and its customers regarding specific requirements in the proper transportation, storage, and distribution of medicinal products. The designee’s company also must have in place a well-designed Quality Management System (QMS) that focuses on compliance and continual improvement.

Under the umbrella of WCAworld, the largest and most powerful network of independent freight forwarders in the world, the WCA Academy offers both online and classroom-based training and education necessary to achieve and maintain the highest industry standard. Its base of 9,540 members may achieve certifications in a range of areas, from general freight training and problem solving to specialist courses in pharmaceuticals, perishables, and obtaining compliance.

About Prime Logistics

Prime Logistics is a division of Prime Group, a Miami-based air cargo and international logistics conglomerate founded in Ecuador in 2001. With offices and refrigerated warehouses in Miami, Los Angeles, New York, Quito, Bogota, and Amsterdam, Prime Logistics has hundreds of contacts and representatives around the globe skilled at providing expert logistics solutions. Myriad global industries are supported by our team in the shipping of commodities via air, land, and ocean – to virtually any location worldwide.

Friendly and knowledgeable customer-service and operations agents are available 24/7, by calling +1 305 592 2044 or via email at info@primelogisticsgroup.com. For information, visit www.primelogisticsgrop.com.