It’s July! Celebrate and Have a Little Fun!

July awaits with national holidays, a chance to look back historically and reasons to celebrate. 

Navigating through 2022, we’ve reached July, the year’s mid-point. The month is certainly symbolic for several cultures as a point of celebration. Prime Group is headquartered in Miami, where July 4th is celebrated as a national holiday. It signifies the important day back in 1776 when 14 American colonies signed their “Declaration of Independence” from foreign rule. So, let me be the first to wish all our employees, partners, and clients in the U.S. “Happy Fourth of July” as they celebrate with fireworks, parades, and concerts.

Also celebrating this July are many of our friends, employees, and clients around the world, such as those in Canada and France. Canada Day on July 1 symbolizes the anniversary that started Canadian confederation in 1867; while France’s “La Fete Nationale” or Bastille Day on July 14, commemorates the storming of that Paris fortress and the unity of the French people in 1790. Around the globe, other nations also celebrate anniversaries this summer and we send our best thoughts to them.

Hail Caesar

Wondering how July got its name? That’s an interesting tale. Let’s “rewind” our thoughts back more than 2,000 years to ancient Rome. Within the lunar-based Roman calendar, July didn’t exist. Rather, it was called “Quintilis,” Latin for “fifth month.” Why fifth and not seventh? That’s because the old Roman calendar counted only 10 months (not two winter months), so the month didn’t fall at the same time of the year as it does today. March was the year’s first month. Let’s just say that calendar was confusing.

Fortunately, Julius Caesar, the Roman emperor, reformed it – taking inspiration from the ancient Egyptians and switching to a solar-based system that tracked the time needed for Earth to revolve around the sun. And so created was a calendar of 365.25 days. An extra day was added in February every four years to make up for that extra quarter day. After the two winter months were added in, Quintilis became the seventh month – positioned mid-year.

Then in 44 BC, after Caesar’s death, Rome changed the month of Quintilis to Julius (or July) in honor of the late ruler’s birth month. The new calendar was appropriately named the Julian Calendar. It was used until the late 16th century when the Gregorian Calendar emerged. But today, thanks to the Romans, July remains firmly rooted mid-year.

Dog Days of Summer

Weatherwise, our employees often see July as a month of extremes. For those in the southern hemisphere, July falls in winter; while for Europe, much of Asia, and North America, we have extreme summer heat and humidity. It’s often, as the Romans would say, “the dog days of summer.” So, I’d like to personally thank all our employees, partners, and clients for their dedicated work during July’s most challenging weather days, whether hot or cold.

Relax, Refresh, Reconnect

On a personal level, though, July brings a great opportunity for everyone to relax, refresh, and reconnect with friends and family. If you have a sweet tooth, perhaps ask friends over to share treats during July’s National Ice Cream Month, Chocolate Day in July, or Pecan Pie Day on July 12.

In addition, July is National Hot Dog Month so it’s the perfect timing for a backyard party. If you’re seeking to put on a fancier soiree, consider National Caviar Day on July 18. Also, for those with a health bent, July is National Watermelon Month and National Blueberry Month, plus Fresh Spinach Day arrives July 16, and World Tofu Day is July 26.

Frankly, I’m amazed at July’s array of fun or quirky celebratory days. Just pick your passion and host a get-together. National Country Music Day is July 4, Video Games Day arrives July 8, Embrace Your Geekness Day is July 13, World Emoji Day is July 17, and National Lipstick Day is July 29. Other days honor relatives or pay tribute to house plants, cowboys, lollipops, sharks, ugly trucks and alas, even snakes.

So, heading into July, let’s take stock of the month, appreciate its historic context – and remember to celebrate and have a little fun. Most of all, have a safe summer!

Roger Paredes

CEO Prime Group

Happy Mother’s Day Proudly Delivering the Flowers and Plants that Honor our Moms

With an estimated $2.6 billion spent in 2021 alone, Mother’s Day in the U.S. absolutely “rules” as the top occasion each year for floral spending here. In fact, the volume of gifts of fresh flowers and plants purchased for Mother’s Day even exceeds what’s spent on floral and fresh plant purchases for Valentine’s Day.

This year, Mother’s Day in the U.S. will be celebrated on Sunday, May 8. It’s certainly a fabulous way for spouses to honor their wives who are moms, and for grateful sons and daughters to say thanks to their moms, grandmothers, and great grandmas.

Personally, I also believe it’s a wonderful opportunity to recognize “other moms” – special women who may have influenced our lives in positive, supportive ways. So, this Mother’s Day, why not honor a favorite mentor who’s also a mom or perhaps a special family friend, mother-in-law, teacher, parent’s spouse, or other special person.

 

Saying it with Flowers

 Everyone knows that flowers are a perfect way to show love and appreciation – certainly all our busy customers do! Research gleaned from the Society of American Florists’ website shows that 65 percent of Americans “feel special” when receiving flowers. In addition, 60 percent believe a gift of flowers has a special meaning unlike any other gift, and 77 percent perceive those who give flowers to be “thoughtful.”

Most notably, 92 percent of women say the best reason to receive flowers is “just because.” In addition, it’s just as good to give as to receive, as 80 percent of Americans say receiving flowers makes them feel happy, while 88 percent say the act of giving flowers makes them happy.

 

Expressing My Appreciation

 What all this means to those of us supporting the fresh-cut flower industry, including the employees of the Prime Group of companies, is that it is one of our busiest times of year. I’m deeply appreciative of all our skilled, professional logistics and perishables experts for their care in handling the entire perishables shipping and transport process for our customers – forwarders, retailers, wholesalers, and the like.

Their important role in this highly specialized cold supply chain starts with arranging for the bulk fresh-cut flower shipments to be picked up by refrigerated trucks from producers in Ecuador and Colombia and swiftly transporting the blooms and plants all the way from the airport of export to U.S. markets, coast to coast. There are myriad steps in between, as you might imagine, but suffice to say our Prime Group people know precisely what they’re doing – as we’ve been in the fresh-flower and perishables business for more than 20 years. We also transfer many flowers into and out of at Amsterdam, our major European gateway for floral shipments and other commodities. So we’ve pretty much got the world covered.

Business aside, though, I’d like to wish all our valued customers and employees a wonderful Mother’s Day. And if you’re a mom, thank you for all you do, day in and day out. You inspire, you motivate, you bring out the best in us – and help mold the next great generation.

Wishing my own mom and yours too, a very “Happy Mother’s Day.”

 

~ Roger Paredes, CEO

Spring Brings Rebirth and Remembrance

Flowers blooming in spring symbolize a rebirth and, for so many of us in the Northern Hemisphere, the end of dreary wintertime. Across the globe, cultures celebrate in different ways. In the Netherlands, tens of thousands line up to watch the Bloemencorso Bollenstreek, a famous – and lengthy – floral spectacle and parade. Traveling between Noordwijk and Haarlem during April 20-24, 2022, the parade will feature elaborate floats constructed with tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths.

In Japan, the country’s cherry blossoms annually are the focus of an internationally known spring festival, Hanami, unfolding between late March and early May. Japanese residents host parties under the cherry trees, a centuries-old tradition. In Washington, D.C., too, these blooms as well as the friendship between the U.S. and Japan are celebrated during the annual National Cherry Blossom Festival, thus year slated for March 20 to April 17. 

Busy Floral Season

Late winter and spring is certainly Prime Group’s busiest business period as fresh flowers and plants make the perfect gift. On a daily basis, we’re handling and transporting over 200,000 kilos of fresh flowers between destinations within Latin America, Europe, Asia, and North America.

But whether it be now or throughout the entire year, I’m proud of the employees of Prime Air, Prime Fresh Handling, Prime Logistics, and for that matter, our snack food division Prime Planet. I commend them for working diligently day after day to assure our clients’ shipments make it from Point A to Point B on time and arrive fresh and ready for sale.

Religious Observances

Separately, I’d also like to acknowledge that spring is the time of year when the members of our multinational team with differing religious backgrounds observe sacred occasions, holy events, and rituals – many of which are rooted in ancient times. I’d like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the diversity of our workforce and our strong belief in inclusivity as they join with our clients around the world in observing these or other holy occasions this spring.

  • Passover: The Jewish Passover 2022, also called Pesach in Hebrew, will begin the evening of April 15, during the Hebrew month of Nisan, and end on April 23 at nightfall. This major Jewish holiday celebrates God’s liberation of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt.
  • Ramadan: As the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, Ramadan is observed by Muslims across the globe via a month of fasting, reflection, and prayer. In 2022, it will begin on April 2 and end May 1. Commemorating Muhammad’s first revelation, this annual celebration is one of the Five Pillars of Islam.
  • Easter: On April 17, 2022 – Christians around the world celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, as described in the Bible’s New Testament. That occurred on the third day of his burial after his crucifixion by the Romans at Calvary (in modern day Israel) in 30 A.D.

Spring Symbolizes Rebirth

While spring often brings a plethora of floral gift giving – often fresh tulips, roses, hyacinths, and lilies, as well as other flowers – whatever the occasion or celebration, whatever the religious observation, one fact emerges: Spring is an important time of rebirth.

Simply put, the advent of spring reminds us that we can begin anew, try a new path, and reenergize ourselves for a greater good. We wish that for all people across the globe in 2022.

~ Roger Paredes, Prime Group CEO

A Message from the CEO: Prime Group Proudly Celebrates Women’s History Month

During the month of March, please join us as the Prime Group gives some well-deserved attention to all of the amazing accomplishments of strong, determined women. Since 1987, the United States has formally recognized March as National Women’s History Month. Every woman has a story to tell and gifts to share with the world. So get ready, because this month is about honoring magnificent ladies, and we are ready to celebrate it to the fullest.

A Rich and Proud History

Women’s History Month heralds the often-overlooked contributions of women in history, society, and culture. It has been annually observed in the U.S. and other countries, including the U.K. and Australia, every March since 1987. The month is observed in October in Canada. March is selected as the month for observing Women’s History Month to correspond with International Women’s Day on March 8, and Canada observes it in October in correspondence with Persons Day on October 18.

The month-long commemoration started with Women’s History Day in 1978, organized by the school district of Sonoma, Calif. Hundreds of students participated in the essay competitions, many presentations were given, and a parade was held in Santa Rosa, Calif.

The idea caught on and, a few years later, school districts, communities, and organizations all over the country were celebrating the day. In 1980, the National Women’s History Alliance championed for the holiday to be observed as a national week, and this was backed by President Jimmy Carter, who issued the first proclamation declaring the week of March 8 as National Women’s History Week.

The following year, Congress forwarded a resolution establishing a national observance. Six years later, the expansion of the event to the whole month of March was successfully petitioned by the National Women’s History Project.

International Women’s Day

I also want to call attention to International Women’s Day 2022 and its campaign theme: #ChooseToChallenge. A challenged world is an alert world. Individually, we’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions – all day, every day.

We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world.

From challenge comes change, so let’s all choose to challenge.

~ CEO Roger Paredes

Recognizing Women’s Achievements: How Flowers Play a Vital Role in the IWD Global Celebration

Hats off to all the incredible women across the globe who are making such a difference in our lives – with invaluable contributions at home, at work and in their communities. In recognition of International Women’s Day (IWD) on March 8, Prime Logistics would like to take a moment to reflect on how we can celebrate these women of distinction and their accomplishments.

Historically, civilization has celebrated powerful women with a gift of flowers. While the flower-giving tradition had roots in ancient Greece and Egypt, it really came into its own in the 1800s Victorian era. At a time when public displays of emotions were frowned upon, giving flowers was a creative, acceptable way to show feelings, affection or admiration. In fact, the Victorians even wrote books about the “specific meanings” associated with the specific types of flowers or floral bouquets created and presented.

Over the centuries, fragrant lotus flowers were popular with the ancients, while in 1946, Italian feminists chose the mimosa flower as a symbol of strength, sensibility and sensitivity in honor of IWD.  Today, white roses are extremely popular, although people love giving and receiving just about every other type of flower. Whatever the species of blooms, though, Prime Logistics and its sister company Prime Fresh Handling play a vital role in assuring the flowers are carefully handled and transported from farm to market on time and in superb condition for our floral industry clients.

Did you know that Ecuador serves as the primary source of flowers for this March 8 holiday each year? It’s true. In fact, that South American nation supplies more than 70 countries around the world with floriculture products. So, our team’s efforts on the ground in Quito and Amsterdam are crucial to advancing the company’s winning strategies at meeting the needs of our valued floral industry customers. When it comes to IWD deliveries, Europe is the number one market.

So, as soon as the Valentine Day floral frenzy is over, our employees have barely a week to recover and get some sleep, before they jump back in and tackle the handling and shipping of fresh flowers for IWD.  That way, on March 8, a woman may be honored with a lovely floral gift presented in appreciation by a loved one, friend or business colleague.

Celebrated for more than a century in both Europe and America, International Women’s Day is a United Nations-sanctioned global holiday that honors women for their cultural, political and socioeconomic achievements. It’s also proven an important call-to-action for achievement of gender equality. IWD doesn’t belong to any specific country, region or group. It’s designed as a global event and each year has a theme. In 2021, that was #ChooseToChallenge, while in 2022, it’s #BreakTheBias.

As the big day approaches, it’s certainly a great time to recognize the achievements of the world’s most powerful women, but it’s also a good time to show support and solidarity for the women we know and love on a personal level. Let’s show our appreciation for what they do day-after-day for our families, communities and society. Most of all, on March 8, let’s recognize these women for serving as role models and inspiring young girls who will ultimately become future leaders.

 

About Prime Logistics

One of four divisions of Prime Group, an international logistics services conglomerate founded in Ecuador in 2001, Prime Logistics serves to streamline, optimize, and expedite 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 to offer competitive rates in securing ample space to destinations all around the world.

 

For information, call 305-592-2044 or visit www.primelogisticsgroup.com.

On International Women’s Day and Success: A Discussion with Prime Logistics’ Yulieth Onofre

Prime Logistics is busier than ever right now, responding to the onslaught of fresh-cut flowers used the world over to celebrate International Women’s Day. Nonetheless, we were able to snip out a moment to meet with one woman in business that has not only made significant contributions to the company’s success, but to the global logistics industry as well.

By her example, Prime Logistics Sales Manager Yulieth Onofre is paving the way for emerging female leaders in air cargo and international import/export – fields that up until only recently have been dominated by men.

Having joined the Miami-based sales team in March 2020, Yulieth was initially brought on due to her many years of experience – and solid contacts – within the ocean-freight side of the business. As a result, Prime Logistics has significantly expanded in this important niche in recent years, while also depending on her to help bolster all other commercial efforts on the freight forwarding side of the operation.

It is fitting that we talk with Yulieth in the days leading up to International Women’s Day, an annual worldwide event that serves as the anchor for Women’s History Month on March 8. This is the time of year countries all across the world take pause to celebrate the accomplishments of women and to recognize their strengths in business, at home, and in every aspect of society.

Here’s what we learned:

Q. Do you plan to acknowledge International Women’s Day?

A. Well of course I will. Granted, International Women’s Day isn’t as widely celebrated here in the U.S. as it is elsewhere, but I definitively recognize it in the office. In fact I believe everyone does at Prime Group. We consider it a big deal – but honestly, it is an especially important thing between the women in the office… It’s a happy day, for sure.

Q. What do you see as the biggest strengths that a woman brings to the work-setting?

A. I feel the most obvious quality we bring to any setting, work or otherwise, is our strength of character. Women are independent, sensitive, aware, and quite creative… And just like a mother often is, we are resourceful, responsible, caring, and dependable, too. These qualities combined are the right formula for success in the logistics business.

Q: So what specifically are you proud to contribute to Prime Logistics?

A: I’ve got 22 years of experience in ocean freight – more years than I want to admit! 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, and reliability of the service provider.

To be truly effective, it’s important to know the market, as well as how to ensure the customer doesn’t incur unnecessary expenses 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 get to pass on the best freight rates.

Q. What do you see as the biggest challenge facing women in logistics?

A. The need to pay constant attention to detail – I mean every single detail, all the time, day or night – is very challenging. And there’s a lot of paper work involved, too, so you’ve got to be super organized… In some ways, it is like hosting a huge social function, where you’ve got to deal with each and every aspect of planning and execution, big and small – and the outcome is all riding on your ability to think ahead and make all the right decisions. Except this is no party, because you’ve got the success – or failure – of your client’s business in your hands. Any mistake can be truly disastrous, financially.

Ocean cargo, freight forwarding, and logistics in general is certainly not for everyone. But for those of us in the biz, and have been for years, I compare it to an addiction: You might want to get out at some point, but you like the high of the nonstop challenges far too much. And I absolutely love ocean cargo especially.

Q. So, who is your female role model, personally and professionally?

A. I have to say, my mother and my grandmother definitively – and so many of the confident, qualified, and professional women that I’ve been honored to work with along the way… I’ve been in business so long, I can spot a leader, and that’s who I admire and who I want to emulate.

Q. What advice do you have for rising businesswomen?

A. To be successful in business, you can never be afraid to push the envelope. Treat everyone fairly, because when you do good things you get good things back. Also don’t forget to always be networking and learning from the established female peers in your industry. Lastly, know that integrity and transparency are essential to your success; you need to “own” every decision you make, good or bad. Face the consequences, learn, be humble, and move on.

Q. Have you achieved what you have wanted to in business?

A. I would certainly call 22 years in the industry an achievement! But to be honest, I didn’t plan to be in logistics. Obviously, you have to have a plan, like I did when I started in university in Colombia. My hopes and dreams all pointed to becoming successful, so I set my sights on the United States to fulfill my goal. Ultimately, what I found out is that sometimes you can plan too much, and that things don’t always turn out exactly the way you expected.

It’s like that Rolling Stones song, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” well, the next line is, “but if you try sometime, you’ll find you get what you need.”

Be open to change and see what happens. You might just find your passion.

 

About Prime Logistics

One of four divisions of Prime Group, an international logistics services conglomerate founded in Ecuador in 2001, Prime Logistics serves to streamline, optimize, and expedite 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 to offer competitive rates in securing ample space to destinations all around the world.

 

For information, call 305-592-2044 or visit www.primelogisticsgroup.com.

Message from the CEO: Employee Motivation Can Also Come From Within

These are interesting times, to say the least. The increasing demand for service excellence in an ever-changing environment defined by a seemingly never-ending pandemic requires constant communication with customers — often to only diffuse their angst! And this is just one of myriad challenges facing logistics professionals every day, up and down the global supply chain. The pressures placed upon our industry’s workers to put their best face forward, while at the same time trying to manage heightened degrees of personal and organizational stress are extreme – and unrelenting.

To be sure, there’s no one-size-fits-all way to maintain positivity and motivation in the COVID-era workplace. This is especially true for those of us serving the worldwide perishables market, as we are now just entering the year’s most hyper-intense period of activity: Valentine’s Day, International Women’s Day, and Mother’s Day. This historically busiest time for shipping and handling fresh-cut flowers, is now happening concurrently with busiest time in the history of the industry.

Pressure to Perform

In an earlier message, I discussed how the pressure to perform on the job, and the feeling among workers that they’ve always got to “be there” for the team, can become counterproductive and troubling on multiple levels. At that time, I outlined tools that can be used to make their daily work experience more satisfying – and hopefully help mitigate employee burnout.

Certainly, setting and achieving short-term targets is one of the tried-and-true methods by which employees can preempt a stress overload in the workplace. But there exist multiple other ways, some as simple as paying heed to basic time-management skills, indulging in both physical exercise and relaxation techniques, and even engaging in light banter and laughs around the water cooler. These tools combined can help minimize stress while maintaining healthy levels of performance and productivity, creativity, and innovativeness.

Still, for those of us holding leadership roles within the global logistics industry, it’s important to recognize that even the most diligent workers can and will face challenges in managing stress. Like any emotion, these feeling simply cannot be turned off. And so, it is important that we be mindful of alternative ways to “survive” in the pandemic-era workplace – one of which is learning to thrive in the workplace by finding true motivation from the inside.

Rewards of Intrinsic Motivation

“Just one small positive thought in the morning can change your whole day.”

Is it that easy? Well, so says Dalai Lama. Similarly, it’s a good idea to start your day not by regretting what you were not able to accomplish yesterday, but by thinking about all that you will be able to “experience” today.

I am not suggesting here envisioning a list of tasks. Granted, it’s always good to have parts of your workday standardized. Instead, what I am suggesting is, when it comes to truly growing and thriving at work and making changes to how you accomplish goals and rise to challenges throughout your day, there is another path – something called “intrinsic motivation.”

As I understand it, intrinsic motivation is fueled by the thrill of doing an activity without being drawn to external rewards. It’s doing something new for the pleasure of learning, it’s exercising for fun, it’s working with curiosity. This way, finding rewards within our day-to-day activities can actually keep us satisfied all week long. By leaning on intrinsic motivation, we tend to see work as a satisfying and fulfilling means of life, rather than a daily drudge – and this serves to effectively minimize the stressors that often come with such a mindset.

So I say finding the parts of your workday that are thought-provoking and require creativity, and then using those to energize your workflow, can make all the difference. The reward of self-determination comes each time you show up and feel that little inspiration that comes with having learned one more thing or having imaginatively solved one more problem.

In this age of transformation, find the things that foster a personal rush of satisfaction, and you may see how your workplace, attitude, and endurance can transform.

~ Roger Paredes, Prime Group CEO

Container 101: Shipping by Land & Sea is More Than Just Another ‘Magic Carpet Ride’

Heading to the supermarket, you may grab a six-pack of soda, bundle of paper towels, and box of cereal. Or, you might pick up fresh raspberries, a slab of ribs, seafood, or even a bouquet of fresh flowers. Despite the diversity, it’s likely all those goods were transported along the grocery supply chain via a “storage container” transported either atop a tractor trailer along the highway or on the deck of a cargo ship at sea.

Globally, estimates for the number of storage containers in use widely vary from five million to 170 million. In reality, the exact number isn’t known. “Clearly, though, the shipping container is front and center when it comes to ease of transport and helping goods get where they need to go,” says Yulieth Onofre, Prime Logistics Group Sales Manager based in Miami.

In the consumers’ eyes, cargo’s seemingly sudden and effortless journey in a storage container is “a bit of a ‘magic carpet ride,’” but in reality, she adds “it’s a precise, carefully orchestrated trip, with a lot of moving parts—all at once. And different cargo requires ‘different strokes’ along the way at every step.”

That’s why tapping an experienced logistics firm with a team of skilled experts to assist is a smart corporate move.

One fact is clear. Shipping containers is big business. According to Allied Market Research, “the global shipping containers market was valued at $8.70 billion in 2019 and is projected to reach $12.08 billion by 2027.” That’s a compound annual growth rate of 4.3 percent.

Container 101: By the Numbers

Size-wise, most storage containers are either 20 feet long or 40 feet long. The standard container height is 8.6 feet high. Standard width is 8 feet wide. But this shipping sector isn’t “one size fits all.”

Onofre also cites other options including high cube containers (20HC or 40HC), which are essentially a foot higher. They’re great when transporting light, voluminous, dry cargo. In contrast, a flat-rack container (FR) with collapsible sides is optimum when transporting a boat, machinery. or an automobile. Also, an open-top container (OT) is often used to transport humongous logs, a large piece of industrial machinery, or project cargo.

For perishable goods, special, refrigerated storage containers (reefer containers) keep goods fresh by maintaining a certain temperature and humidity, varying by cargo. That could mean fresh fish, medicines, frozen seafood, vaccines, and delicate temperature-sensitive plants, produce, or flowers – to name a few products. Learn more about reefer container shipping by reading one of our recent blogs: https://primegroup.aero/2022/01/refrigerated-shipping/.

People in the worldwide cargo industry are familiar, of course, with the term TEU. That’s a standard measurement system for containers and also used to “size” vessels. For instance, one 20-foot container is a “Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit” or 1 TEU. So, if a shipper has two such 20-foot containers filled with a particular cargo, they’re shipping 2 TEUs.

More Container Tidbits

So, who makes shipping containers? China is by far the world’s top producer of shipping containers, and other large manufacturers include the USA (California), Denmark, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and India.

Definitely built to last, most storage containers are made of corten steel (“weathered steel”), adding both strength and anti-corrosive protection. For instance, if an ocean ship sails through rough seas, the top-deck storage containers can weather any saltwater splashing. Marine-grade plywood is also used to build some storage containers.

To ensure that any container is up to snuff for design/construction, look for the container’s CSC plate from the International Convention for Safe Containers. That means it’s safe to use.

Storage containers are built with reinforced “corners, so they can be easily rigged to cranes. Cranes can lift them to and from a truck, flatbed rail car or ocean ship or stack them atop other containers at a pier or warehouse.

Most containers also have handy forklift slots/pockets, so they can be easily moved from one spot to another. At times, containers must be connected to each other for stability. Fortunately, nifty twist locks will help keep them from shifting in transit.

Support-wise, container floors are built with “cross members” – beams and joists that run side to side. To avoid any “critters” or insect visitors, sturdy container floors often are infused with protective coatings including insecticides. And to keep moisture at bay, some containers are built with a small space between the ground and the container’s actual flooring – providing ventilation via air ducts.

“On the security side, rest assured that most containers have color-coded, numbered security seals that – combined with the container’s locking device – assure a strong level of sealed security,” Onofre adds. But if the container arrives and the seal is broken, it’s an alert that the container has been opened.

So, presto, let’s assume a company’s container has arrived at its final destination in great shape. How is the cargo removed? Shipping containers usually offer a cargo door structure that’s actually two steel cargo doors, often with locking mechanisms. But there are differences here too. Sometimes the entire side of the container opens for easy removal of cargo.

Transforming Worldwide Shipping

“Cargo shipping via storage containers has been around for more than five decades,” says Onofre. “To say that standardized containers have transformed customer shipping and transport is an understatement. More than $3 trillion in global trade is transacted annually, and shipping containers have played a pivotal role in the sector’s growth.”

While the storage container marketplace continues to evolve, more than 80 percent of all trade goods are shipped by sea, and 60 percent of them are shipped via storage containers. If your business needs storage container assistance, call Prime Logistics to discuss your needs. Experienced shipping and handling experts are ready to assist. We know storage containers inside and out!

About Prime Logistics

One of four divisions of Prime Group, an international logistics services conglomerate founded in Ecuador in 2001, Prime Logistics serves to streamline, optimize, and expedite 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 to offer competitive rates in securing ample space to destinations all around the world.

For information, call 305-592-2044 or visit www.primelogisticsgroup.com.

Navigating the Changing Waters of Shipping via Reefer Containers

While some of our clients have reported improvements in their business for 2021, others are clearly happy the year is over. So, as we begin to navigate through 2022, what’s likely ahead for clients who use “reefer containers” to transport their goods?

First, though, a bit about the terminology for those who don’t deal with this element of our shipping industry day-to-day. So, what exactly is a reefer storage container? In nautical use, a “reefer” is a person who “reefs” such as a midshipman or a commercial fisherman. But in the world of logistics, reefer storage containers are those equipped with a refrigeration device to create the proper temperature, humidity, and atmosphere for perishable goods.

Reefer storage containers can safely transport fresh fish, seafood, meat, vegetables, dairy products, frozen food, flowers, pharmaceuticals, and other perishables. They’re placed on reefer cargo ships, which continue the goods’ comfortable, temperature-controlled journey across oceans and between continents.

Trends in 2022 and Beyond

So, examining that “reefer storage container marketplace,” here are trends that Prime Logistics sees for 2022 and beyond:

Certainly, the market is growing. In 2019, the reefer container market was estimated at 3,169.2 thousand TEUs and by 2030, it’s projected to be 7063.3 thousand TEUs, according to a Prescient Strategic Intelligence report. A TEU is a 20-foot equivalent unit of cargo capacity for container ships. Each TEU is based on one 20-foot-long intermodal container.

Given the 2020-2021 shortages of reefer shipping containers, it’s also good news that shipping container manufacturers in the U.S., Europe, China, Taiwan, and elsewhere are now producing more new reefer containers than pre-pandemic. That’s helped reduce the length of shipping backlogs and improve availability in some regions.

The Perfect Storm

That said, the reality early in 2022 is that reefer containers are still scarce in many spots. So, continuing shipping delays are likely in 2022, particularly from certain regions. “People often ask us why the increased production of new reefer containers isn’t doing the trick to balance supply and demand,” notes Yulieth Onofre, Prime Logistics Group Sales Manager based in Miami. “Well, it’s a combination of factors that have created ‘the perfect storm.’”

For example, businesses stung by delays in shipping the past two years due to container shortages have increased their orders in a big way. “Many of our clients are shipping many more goods than in the past as they work to rebuild their inventories,” she emphasizes. Clients fearful of shipping delays are also ordering on a longer lead-time.

While Prime Logistics saw evidence late last summer that supply and demand were inching closer together, then the rise and spread of the Delta and Omicron variants of the COVID-19 virus reversed that dynamic. During this pandemic era, increased pharmaceutical transport of biologics, vaccines, cellular therapies, and blood products – all requiring temperature-controlled containers – is increasing.

Early in 2022, reefer cargo ships, both large and small, are fully utilized and in short supply in some regions. Separately, some vessels previously designated for reefer container business have been shifted by their owners to carry dry cargo instead.

Most notably, though, is that pandemic-weary consumers are in a “buy, buy, buy” mode.” Many retail establishments have reopened, and e-commerce is strong. Consumers are ordering “at will” on a day-to-day basis to reward themselves, often from the comfort of their living rooms. Product import levels, as a result, are record setting.

After more than a year of those record imports, month after month, the system is stressed to the max. “We’ve seen delays in port terminal access, ship schedules, rail services, truck transport, and also a shortage of equipment availability,” says Onofre. New ocean trade routes are also putting a strain on ocean reefer container ship availability.

“Yet, despite those supply chain issues beyond our control, our Prime Logistics team works around the clock to assist our clients,” she points out.  “We’re creative and solution-focused, and while we obviously can’t ‘fix’ the world’s supply chain issues, we’re committed to ensuring that our clients know all their options and keeping them informed.”

Demand is Off the Chart

Unfortunately, the cost of transporting goods continues to zoom higher as imports reach record levels and demand is “off the chart.” Thus, reefer container operators continue to raise prices for transport. In the December 2021 edition of “Drewry’s Container Forecaster” report, Drewry Maritime Financial Research (DMFR) projected higher freight rates in 2022 for businesses using reefer containers.

Trend-wise, Prime Logistics is seeing a bit less price inflation (although it’s still happening, for sure) on North-South trade routes for ocean transport of reefer containers; that’s particularly the case for export transport from some regions of South America and Central America. In contrast, East-West routes such as those between the U.S. and Asia are increasingly experiencing a bit higher price inflation.

Globally, Asia-Pacific (APAC) accounts for the largest share in the global reefer container market, and that’s expected to continue, according to a recent Prescient Strategic Intelligence report. But with rapid urbanization, Latin America (LATAM) is expected to post the highest growth rate in the market moving forward. Look for the most growth in the 40-foot reefer container category.

Supply Chain Challenges

Between 2020-2030, Prescient also projects global reefer container market growth at 8 percent. But can customers expect those pesky supply chain issues to disappear? Previously, Drewry had projected that ongoing supply-chain issues within the reefer container marketplace would begin easing by mid-2022. Now, it’s adjusted that projection to sometime in 2023.

“While we’re hoping that conditions will improve as the year progresses, this year is still likely to deliver many challenges for businesses,” acknowledges Onofre. “Definitely, give us a call if we can assist your business. We’re a solid, proactive asset to have on your side. We’ll assure you’re doing all possible to navigate successfully through the volatile reefer shipping marketplace in 2022.”

About Prime Logistics

One of four divisions of Prime Group, an international logistics services conglomerate founded in Ecuador in 2001, Prime Logistics serves to streamline, optimize, and expedite 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 to offer competitive rates in securing ample space to destinations all around the world.

For information, call 305-592-2044 or visit www.primelogisticsgroup.com.

As New Year Blossoms, Prime Logistics Readies for Busy Flower Season Ahead

Are you rested and ready for the New Year? You better be, as the floral transport industry is about to enter its busiest time of year – with the one-two-three punch of Valentine’s Day, International Women’s Day, and Mother’s Day upon us. You can rest assured, the experts at Prime Logistics are ready. We’ve been managing the shipment of international perishables and non-perishables for our customers for more than 20 years now!

Valentines Day Planning Underway

For this day of lovers, which is different than most other holidays, consumers generally stick with long-stem reds, pinks, and sometimes whites – millions of them. With a roughly 24-day period from the grower to the end customer, the first round of activity leading up to Valentine’s Day on February 14 is here. In fact, many wholesalers forward their price lists to retailers as soon as the day after Christmas. Next step, in about mid-January, is to send their supply lists to the South American flower growers, to ensure arrival starting the first few days of February. This is where Prime Logistics steps in.

With the official shipping window for this first major flower-giving period of the year being Jan. 20 to about Feb. 8, Prime Logistics and sister company Prime Fresh Handling project they’ll be managing nearly 8 million kg of flower shipments each month out of both Colombia and Ecuador during the first two months of 2022. Using our dedicated air cargo partners Atlas Air and Emirates SkyCargo, the successful handling of such an immense volume of product is a reflection of the deep dedication we have in bringing South America’s finest fresh flowers to U.S. wholesalers and retailers this time of year — and in fact to multiple customers around the world all throughout the year.

International Women’s Day

Following Valentine’s Day, our logistics teams basically have one week to recover before getting busy again. Next up is the peak period of production and distribution supporting International Women’s Day. With Ecuador serving as the primary source of flowers for this March 8 holiday each year, the efforts of our team in Quito and Amsterdam are crucial to advancing our shipping company’s winning strategies at meeting the demand of its valued customers.

In fact, the Ecuadorian flower market supplies more than 70 countries around the world with floriculture products. But when it comes to Women’s Day, Russia is the number one market.

On this day, people celebrate by delivering flowers to powerful women in their life, historically with the mimosa flower, a symbol of strength, sensibility, and sensitivity. White roses are also very popular.

Mother’s Day

And finally, it’s Mother’s Day on May 8, another hugely popular flower-giving holiday around the world. The peak period of activity preceding mum’s day is mid-April through about May 1. Accounting for one-fourth of the floral purchases made on any holiday, some call it the Super Bowl of flowers.

We call it another day at the office.

Well in excess of 20 million flowers from Colombia and Ecuador are planned to be cut, gathered, and shipped during the 2022 Valentine’s Day/Women’s Day season. We’re still assessing anticipated volume for Mother’s Day, so as soon as we catch our collective breath, we’ll get back to you on that!

Frantically filling back-to-back freighters from nose to tail, day after day, it’s a pressure-packed experience that’s exhausting and exhilarating all at the same time. We are fortunate at the Prime Logistics to boast some of the best-qualified and seasoned experts in the flower industry. They work hard to keep our ground game running smoothly for our customers, year after year.

So ‘tis the season for flowers, flowers, and more flowers. Prime Logistics is your service and we wish you all the best.