A Message From Our CEO: Honoring Our Mothers All Across the Planet

As Mother’s Day approaches in many countries worldwide, I’d like to wish all the mothers out there a happy day, as well as a heartfelt “thank you” for all that you do, day in and day out. You love us, nurture us, support, and counsel us through good times and bad – and are to a great extent, responsible for the people we ultimately become as adults.

Your influence in our lives is priceless. Or, as Abraham Lincoln so eloquently put it: “All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel Mother.”

Each year, thankful daughters, sons, and spouses express their love and appreciation to their moms or spouses with fresh flower deliveries of roses and other popular flowers. In fact, last year U.S. consumers alone spent $2.6 billion on Mother’s Day flowers.

As a side note, numbers like that are of particular importance to Prime Planet’s parent company, the Prime Group. After all, it was in the field of fresh flowers more than 20 years ago that the groundwork was laid in our expert handing of fresh and natural products – and production of our own line of all-natural green plantain Tostones starting in 2016!

A Look Back in History

Since we’re talking history, let’s take a look at how Mothers Day began. Celebrated in more than 50 countries worldwide, in the U.S., the holiday originated from the tireless efforts of Anna Jarvis, who in 1908 organized the observance to honor her late mother. It then became an official holiday in 1914.

But throughout history, many civilizations and countries have honored the concept of motherhood. The ancient Greeks and Romans created festivals to honor the mother goddesses Rhea and Cybele, for example.

Many nations celebrate Mother’s Day on or around the second Sunday in May, but the timing can vary globally. For example, in Russia, it is celebrated on the last Sunday in November, while in Thailand, Mother’s Day is meant to promote the royal family, so it falls on August 12 – the birthday of Queen Sirikit, the Queen Mother of Thailand. Customs too vary.

In Mexico, Mother’s Day is celebrated with church masses and colorful parties and parades; while in Japan, where carnations reign on Mother’s Day, children there also draw pictures of their mothers as gifts or to display at a local art show.

Wherever and whatever the celebration, Mother’s Day is a great time to show our mothers or spouses just how important they are and how much we love and thank them. So, let me take this opportunity to say, “Happy Mother’s Day to moms everywhere!”

And of course to my own! Happy Mother’s Day, mom!

CEO Headshot

Roger Paredes – CEO

Prime Planet Tostones are Certified to Make you Feel Good About Snacking

Health conscious consumers these days are hungry for snack options that don’t just taste great but stand out for a variety of other important reasons – with personal health and wellbeing topping the list.

 

According to Marie Gonzalez, Business Development Manager for Miami-based Prime Planet brands, consumers have never been more vigilant about what is in their food, and the impact of food production on the environment, animals, and people.

 

“Parents especially want snacks they can feel good about feeding their families – and the assurance they made the right choice.”

 

As the prevalence of third-party certifications surrounding food production and sourcing grows, Prime Planet sees food certifications as a valuable tool to provide increased transparency to business practices and standards – ideals that more and more wholesalers, distributors, and retailers also appreciate.

 

Prime Planet’s all-natural Tostones are made with care from premium green plantains harvested under the highest quality standards and technology to offer not only delicious flavor, but are a healthier alternative to traditional snacks like corn and potato chips.

 

“Food quality and safety certifications convey to consumers and the marketplace, as well as to key stakeholders, that Prime Planet has successfully met the requirements of a national or internationally recognized best practice approach,” says Gonzalez, “It’s what responsible shoppers want to know!”

 

And apparently she’s right! A recent study shows that three-fourths of consumers see one or more food certifications on a package are important when it comes to choosing which products to buy. What’s more, they are even willing to pay a premium for a product with a certification.

 

So here’s the rundown on top-tier food certifications that Prime Planet has achieved to date:

 

Gluten-Free (GF)

National Celiac Association Certified

With Prime Planet’s displays of this Recognition Seal, customers are assured they are choosing a product that has undergone the most stringent third-party gluten-free certification available for product, processing, and packaging. Excluding gluten for non-medical reasons is not necessarily recommended – but no matter the motivation, Prime Planet Gluten-Free chips are highly recommended for their great taste. Dig in!

 

Vegan Certified

No animal products in our Tostones

By carrying the Certified Vegan Logo on every bag, Prime Planet guarantees its Tostones are 100% vegan. That’s because documentation on each ingredient had to be provided to show our chips are neither animal derived nor tested on animals. Going onto and all plant-based diet can significantly minimize a whole host of illnesses and health concerns. But for vegans, it’s also a matter of principles and conviction.

 

Non-GMO NSF

National Sanitation Foundation Certified

When shoppers put a bag of Non-GMO NSF-Certified Prime Planet Tostones into their cart, they can be assured they’re buying a product uses only FDA-approved raw materials. This key quality of our chips means our products are produced without genetic engineering and its ingredients are not derived from Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). It’s also proof we are compliant with the most stringent provisions for testing, traceability, and segregation.

 

HACCP Certified

Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Point

Food safety and hygiene are more important than ever to post-pandemic consumers – and by adopting HACCP’s proactive plan, we can ensure consumers that the products they consume are as safe as science and technology allow. By monitoring and detecting potential problems throughout the entire process, from growing and harvesting, to manufacturing and distribution, Prime Planet can significantly reduced the likelihood of harmful microbiological and chemical exposures.

 

WCA Certified

Workplace Condition Assessment

WCA is a social system certification program that ensures alignment with legal, ethical, and secure manufacturing processes that secure and maintain safe workplace conditions. A globally accepted standard among international customers and retail stores, Prime Planet participation in WCA audits tells the world food-provider community that the overall workplace conditions are monitored, audited, and consistently meet the WCA stringent compliance codes.

Prime Logistics Expertise Now Includes ‘Spotting Trouble’

It’s great for a company to have all the best processes, all the best technology and all the best people, and we’re pleased to say we believe that’s the case at Prime Logistics. But in our modern society, unfortunately, companies need to be the absolute best at something else as well – spotting trouble before it happens, and moving quickly to handle the situation, as well as meeting unexpected challenges along the way.

Logistics & Security

Not surprisingly, during this COVID-19 era, many governments and companies have concerns about their deliveries and, particularly, the efficient and safe delivery of pharmaceuticals and vaccines in the shortest possible time.

To assist our valued customers, Prime Logistics and its sister company Prime Fresh Handling (PFH) both employ in-house teams that are highly knowledgeable about the massive yet intricate operational structure of global pharmaceutical logistics and the need for sensitive handling of any perishables such as vaccines.

It’s a massive system that involves tens of thousands of people, countless facilities and many extremely-difficult-to-reach transportation destinations. But that’s not all. “Unfortunately, life-saving, high-cost drugs or technologically sophisticated biologics are often the target of criminals,” emphasizes Edgar Campana, General Manager, Prime Logistics.

“It’s not uncommon for international cartels to attempt to steal these products during delivery to sell them at cheaper prices or even to counterfeit them,” he acknowledges. The reality is that logistics companies and manufacturing firms must invest appropriately and be extremely diligent in making these deliveries secure.

Checks on the System

As a result, appropriate security deployments must be in place at each transit point – such as travel between the manufacturing location and the warehouse, between the warehouse and delivery fleets, and between delivery fleets and delivery-location storage.

“It’s also important to have a robust security framework in place in the last-mile delivery phase,” Campana stresses. “That will help ensure that products reach the intended recipient and aren’t diverted to unlisted wholesalers or suppliers.”

In addition, both of these Prime Group companies have the latest, top-of-the-line systems in place to track and trace cargo 24-7. This year, we’ve also further enhanced our security measures to protect the goods or pharmaceuticals that the company has been entrusted to handle.

Investment in People

But the most valuable resource in assuring safe, secure and timely transit of pharmaceuticals, vaccines and other goods is always the “human touch.” Thus, Prime Group has invested heavily in its “people,” both at Prime Logistics and PFH. That further assures the complex process for pharmaceuticals and transport of vaccines is secure. “We are continually keeping a keen eye on ways to expand and enhance the skills and aptitude of our team members,” Campana says.

Fortunately, Prime Group is a member of the World Cargo Association (WCA), which serves nearly 10,000 members in 194 countries. Earlier this year, through its WCA relationship, multiple staff members of Prime Logistics and PFH received an “Anti-Bribery & Corruption Certification” issued by the London-based WCAworld Academy.

Newly certified are Campana, as well as Commercial Manager Cristina Moscoso,  Administrative Assistant Mary Marino, General Manager Alex Parades, Regional Manager Jose Luis Suarez, Commercial Manager Jose Luis Vargas, and Manager Severyn Yanytskyy.

Now these employees are skilled at risk analysis, understanding the risks by the country or region of operations; doing risk assessments; tracking global opinion; selecting vendors and managing suppliers; and supporting customer due diligence.

 

“We are extremely proud to have a strong team that’s WCAworld Academy-accredited in “Anti-Bribery & Corruption,” stresses Campana. “It not only reinforces our commitment to continually expanding our knowledge base through education, innovation, and adaptation, but also reaffirms that Prime Group companies are trusted leaders in the global logistics industry.”

 Such certification comes at a pivotal time for the air cargo industry, in particular, as logistics companies across the globe are maneuvering into position to support the crucial worldwide distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. Prime Group staff recently have secured other important WCAworld Academy certifications as well.

 In earlier 2021, Campana became the first-ever U.S. based global logistics representative to be fully credentialed by WCAworld Academy as a “Responsible Person for Logistics.”

 “The WCAworld Academy is fully committed to assisting our members with the highest levels of training and compliance,” says Adam McKenna, general manager-WCA Pharma Group. “Prime Group’s dedication to training and constant improvement helps to secure their status as one of the most qualified pharmaceutical and healthcare logistics forwarders in the U.S. and we are delighted to have them as members.

 

So, moving into the second half of 2021 and beyond, customers who require complex logistics and safe care for their global shipments of vaccines and other pharmaceuticals can rest assured their valuable shipments are in the best hands.

Prime Planet is on course to change the face of healthier-for-you snacking across the world

With its growing line of unique and delicious Tostones, Prime Planet is determined to build the best possible relationships with customers by providing value and quality – while making great inroads to the mainstream American snack market.

 

Promoted as a “better for you” product, Prime Planet  is a natural snack brand made from fresh green plantains sourced from Ecuador, hand-crafted, and packaged there on the spot following strict production protocols. What results is a fresh and flavorful plantain chip that’s packed with all-natural ingredients – and an irresistible crunch.

 

“We took our time to find the best possible quality ingredients because anything else simply wouldn’t do,” says Marie Gonzalez, with Prime Planet Business Development.

 

Prime Planet Tostones come in a range of flavors, from Lime and Sweet Chile to Habanero and the Original salted variety.

 

The History of a Chip

Initially operating under the heading of Prime Fresh Products, Prime Planet launched in 2016 – and almost immediately set a trajectory toward success. After testing the waters with its initial line of Tostones in the Miami/South Florida market, and recognizing that the popularity of this new snack was taking off, by 2018 the time was right to further grow this fledgling division.

 

One of the first steps was to introduce a new slogan, “A Natural World of Flavor.” This creative tag line was conceived to drive home the point that by using simple yet innovative ingredients, snacking can be incorporated in a balanced diet while delivering to consumers the tastiest flavors on the planet.

 

Concurrently, in response to consumer testing and other key market factors, Prime Planet rolled out a new and improved version of the original thicker chip. Now lighter and crispier than ever, the reengineering of the product made them taste even better.

 

Says Gonzalez, “We are the pioneers of converting green plantains into all natural and ready-to-eat chips, and so perfecting the formula for production and widespread distribution was key. Essentially, we took a good chip and made it a whole lot better. In fact, when compared with the original chip, existing customers overwhelmingly loved the newer product.”

 

Prime Planet Tostones were also made easier to spot on grocer shelves. As a result of meeting certain standards that allowed the product to be re-designated a “mainstream snack,” Prime Planet made the critical move from the ethic section of stores to the official snack aisle.

 

 

The Prime Planet Difference 

Prime Planet continued its mission to strike a difference between other traditional banana chips or plantain chips on the market. By 2019, the manufacturer doubled down on the growing demand for their significantly better-tasting, better-textured chip, by aggressively touting the product’s multiple health benefits.

 

Turns out, nearly 50 percent of U.S. consumers say that natural ingredients and non-added sugar are the top reasons for adding snack items to their shopping baskets. So, not only do consumers get to enjoy a top-selling all-natural snack product with no added sugars or preservatives, they are also comforted to know Prime Planet’s unique plantain chips are also certified low sodium, NON GMO, GF, BASC, and RSPO palm oil.

 

What better way to call out these essential qualities than to prominently position the insignia for each across the front of every bag. And a packaging redesign in 2019 did just that, allowing health-conscious consumers to quickly spot the healthier snack benefits they desire.

 

Reaching for Regional Growth

As one of Prime Planet’s earliest retail distributors, Publix Supermarkets now features the highly popular chip brand in more than 900 grocery store locations across Florida and five other states in the Southeastern U.S.

 

“Additionally, we’ve been growing distribution and marketing of our product via Central Market in Texas, Safeway stores in Northern California, Burlington Stores in the Northeast U.S., and multiple other independent grocers,” says Gonzalez, noting that Prime Planet also is now the preferred Tostones snack brand in Puerto Rico and The Bahamas.

 

“During 2020 and 2021, our focus also included expanding our presence in e-commerce market through alliances with Amazon, Kroger Marketplace, Walmart Marketplace, and other online services. Tostones are also available from the Prime Planet online store.

 

Looking Ahead

Going forward, Prime Planet as a brand will continue to pursue opportunities to grow partnerships with many of the biggest names in retail food distribution, in order to make its outstanding product available in multiple new markets nationwide.

 

The company is also busy developing new and natural snack products and flavors – ensuring that Prime Planet stays ahead of the wave in the ever-changing and highly complex U.S. snack food market.

 

Prime Planet Roots

Based Prime Planet is the youngest entity among Miami-based Prime Group. As an innovative international food company, Prim Planet’s corporate mission is simply to bring delicious, nutritious, and healthier products to people’s lives.

 

Prime Planet’s roots stem from the formation of its parent company that was founded in 2001, managing the export of fresh-cut flowers from Ecuador to the U.S. Over two decades, the company has grown to become on of the most trusted suppliers of perishables and other retail and wholesale foods, while at the same time establishing its high standards of customer service and quality products all across North and South America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.

 

Knowledge, expertise, and direct access to leading global logistics and retail/wholesale food distributors are the prime benefits of being affiliated with its sister companies under the Prime Group umbrella, whereby allowing Prime Planet to find the shortest and most efficient commercial routes for ideal product placement.

 

Other successful Prime Group companies include Prime Fresh Handling, PrimeAir, and Prime Logistics.

 

Contact Us

Prime Planet is located at 1301 NW 84th Ave. Suite 127, Miami, FL 33126 USA. For information, visit www.primeplanet.net; or contact Marie Gonzales with Prime Planet Business Development at 305-592-2044; or via email at bdm@primefreshproducts.com.

 

An In-Depth Look at Challenges in Pharmaceutical Logistics

The global market for pharmaceutical logistics was estimated to be worth $69.0 billion in 2019. Market research studies also predicted a compounded annual growth rate of 7.3 percent between 2020 and 2027 for the market.

 

But in the aftermath of the COVID-19 outbreak, it should come as no surprise that there has been significant attention paid to this market – as most governments and corporations across the world remain concerned about the efficient delivery of vaccines in the shortest possible time.

While the market has historically been driven by brisk demand for over the counter (OTC) medicines, there are still roadblocks to overcome with regard to delivery logistics. To remove these barriers, the industry needs to have a deep understanding of the intricate operational structure of global pharmaceutical logistics. It is a massive system that involves tens of thousands of people, countless facilities, and more than a fair share of extremely difficult-to-reach transportation destinations.

It is important to understand the challenges such a complex structure presents and the core reasons behind these challenges – and how these challenges actually serve deterrents to achieving desired and much-needed efficiencies.

 

As a key player in global cold-chain logistics, and in support of the burgeoning field of pharmaceutical logistics specifically, Prime Logistics is taking multiple steps to address these challenges by applying efficient innovations coupled with the right kind of thinking.

Case in Point: Through its relationship with the World Cargo Association (WCA), Prime Logistics General Manager Edgar Campana recently became the first logistics professional in all of the U.S. to earn the prestigious “Responsible Person Certification for Logistics (for Good Distribution of Medicinal Products for Human Use).”

 

This important certification signifies to the cargo world that Prime Logistics has a representative on staff with 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.

Dependency on Human Resource

Handling the inventory, tracking orders, and managing the dispatches involves significant human interplay. And sometimes, where there’s human involvement, there can be a lack of coordination. As a result, there is the potential that dangerous medicines may reach the wrong recipient.

 

Consumers often receive a cheaper version or counterfeited version of the original product that they had ordered. That’s why reducing the level of human resource dependency to make way for greater automation has long been a concern for pharmaceutical companies. The introduction of the Automatic Storage and Retrieval System (ASRS), intends to limit such errors or deliberate faults. As a global logistics leader, Prime Logistics has a keen eye on advancing automation by working with distributors that are deploying advanced digital logistics capabilities.

 

Temperature Control

Pharmaceutical products are extremely temperature-sensitive. While in transit, an imbalance in temperature may often end up rendering the product useless. Suppliers often set the initial temperature during dispatch. The product’s optimal temperature is tracked in real-time and necessary changes are made as and when required. Cold chain logistics must quickly adapt to the growing demands of proper medicinal delivery. The logistics companies should also make investments in procuring refrigerated fleets and transit facilities.

 

A much-diversified delivery route works as a deterrent when it comes to maintaining the temperature of the product up and down the chain. Companies should therefore optimize delivery routes and make sure that their vendors are well equipped for maintaining temperature control when it comes to outsourced deliveries.

Prime Logistics’ recent installation of ColdMax vacuum coolers at its Bogota facility is one such example where investments in temperature control mechanisms proved cost-effective for the company and beneficial for end-users in terms of getting fresh, safe, and longer-lasting products.

 

Damaged Products

Damaged products are much larger a concern for the world of pharmaceuticals than for other types of product. Damage to the overall packing material is considered as full-fledged damage to the entire unit, even though the capsules or bottles or the blister packs are untouched within. Damages are also a matter of grave concern because pharmaceutical products often contain ingredients that may prove harmful if exposed to air. In fact, pharmaceuticals such as cytotoxics are often categorized as hazardous materials.

 

Oftentimes, an improper pallet also is a root cause of pharmaceutical products being damaged. If the structure of the box is loose and the pallets are inconsistent in size, it may lead to gradual damage in the entire batch along the edges and corners of the stack. Wooden boxes also suffer from the issue of protruding nails that frequently come loose and cause damage. It is recommended plastic pallets are used, as they have much higher consistency of size – and no menacing wood-nails that can cause punctures.

 

Be it a box or a pallet, Prime Logistics’ industry-leading technology guarantees consistent, safe, and fresh delivery of any type of perishable goods, right through the last-mile to the delivery point.

 

Storage Shortage

Pharmaceutical products are prone to contamination, expiration, and theft. Many times, the correct amount of supply ends up falling short of the anticipated number of delivery units. The last mile participants, such as doctors and healthcare workers, frequently suffer from this issue.

This problem can be solved by maintaining excess inventory, but to do so requires space. Therefore, to improve the resilience of pharmaceutical logistics, facilities should invest in additional storage space that is secure, well guarded, and adequately temperature controlled. Prime Logistics’ wide network of delivery locations includes top quality in-house services and warehouse management. Additionally, it also boasts its own cold-storage facilities at strategic delivery locations around the world.

 

Sanitation

Sanitation is a factor that plays an important role throughout the supply chain. The initial inventory, the delivery vehicles and fleets, and the storage before delivery should maintain the required level of sanitation. Lack of sanitized spaces, especially in the delivery fleets of vehicles, often ends up contaminating the products. Surfaces that absorb moisture, or can be prone to the growth of bacteria or fungi are strictly prohibited in medicinal delivery. The agents of the supply chain should also be mindful of the type of sanitizer they use.

Overall, when it comes to cleanliness and sanitation, Prime Logistics, as a market leader, ensures their customer products are not subject to contamination before making it to market. The company’s reputation rests on its high standard of care and attention in the storage and transit of medicines so that they maintain their intended shelf-life.

 

Security

Life-saving high-cost drugs or technologically sophisticated biologics are often the target of miscreants. International cartels often attempt to steal these products during delivery to sell them at cheaper prices or to counterfeit them. Logistics companies and manufacturing firms must invest appropriately in making these deliveries secure.

Each transit point should have appropriate security deployments in place. These transits include those between the manufacturing location and the warehouse, the warehouse, and the delivery fleets, and the delivery fleets and delivery-location storage. It is also important to have a security framework in place in the last-mile delivery phase. There should be a robust mechanism to ensure that products reach the intended recipient – and not get diverted to unlisted wholesalers or suppliers.

As a distinct service offer to its customers, Prime Logistics has invested in employee skills specifically within the area of perishables and pharmaceuticals logistics. Through our relationship with the World Cargo Association (WCA), multiple staff members among the Prime Group companies now boast “Anti-Bribery & Corruption Certifications,” ensuring that key security measures are in place that protect the material they have been entrusted to handle. They also have high-tech and efficient systems in place to track and trace cargo at any given point in time.

 

Regulations

Although governments and pharmaceutical regulatory bodies across the globe have been trying their best to create uniform guidelines of delivery, there are still multiple imbalances across many nations when it comes to specialized drugs. Countries have different standards of operating procedure that affect international deliveries and/or internal deliveries.

Variations in weather between two countries also drives differences between the delivery mechanisms of the two countries. Addressing these separate regulatory guidelines is often a considerable challenge. Pharmaceutical and logistics companies need to make necessary technological investments so that these transitions in regulatory conditions can be done in a hassle-free and paperless fashion. Some concerted efforts have been made to bring improvements in this area.

 

The guidelines of Goods Distribution Practice for medicinal products have helped to extend the coverage for over-the-counter drugs and do in fact endeavor to regulate temperature requirements to achieve greater homogeneity. Appropriate knowledge of the regulations and strict adherence to rules may seem cumbersome, but serves all parties well in the long run by limiting rejection costs or penalty fees.

With its global network of strategic offices and warehouses across the U.S., Latin America, and Europe, Prime Group is well positioned with a hands-on understanding and ability to manage these international differences smoothly, to minimize any unnecessary delays.

 

Cost of Technology

Many of these issues related to the intricate operational structure of global pharmaceutical logistics have one commonality. Addressing most of these challenges will require investments in enhanced technology. Starting with the handling of inventory in the warehouse to successful last-mile delivery, and along the entire span of the cold chain, there are multiple opportunities for respective technological intervention.

 

At a minimum, warehouses, delivery fleets, and delivery-area storage facilities must have appropriate temperature-control mechanisms in place, load-tested, and with little chance of failure under any conditions. The cold supply chain needs investment in software technology to meet any given demand-supply scenario at any given time. It also needs investment in tracking technology that enables a manufacturer or the procurer to track the temperature, humidity, and such necessary conditions at any point along the way, from point A to B.

 

Manufacturers and logistics vendors that are holding back on making such investments, are doing so at their own risk – with only short-term gains in mind. The problem is, a lack of such investment ultimately weakens the elements of the supply chain over time. They start performing below their intended capacity, which results in increases the overall cost of operations.

Prime Logistics approaches technological efficiency with the utmost seriousness. The company consistently pursues technological solutions and makes the investment where it must at each key phase of the cold supply chain. These phases include facilities of pre-cooling, temperature monitoring, refrigerated trucking, and more.

 

Prime Logistics’ top-tier logistics services and expertise stand as testimony that the best approach to ensuring mitigation of all the potential challenges in pharmaceutical delivery, is a proper understanding of the bottlenecks and a strong resolve to address them in time – every time.

Hope Continues to Bloom

With springtime comes flowers and Easter, typically one of the largest floral holidays on the calendar – which means, this is one of the busiest times of year for the Prime Group of companies.

 

Traditionally, Easter Sunday and spring weddings make this one of the highest demand periods for growers, florists, flower importers, and shippers, and of course logistics companies such as Miami-based Prime Logistics, Prime Fresh Handling, and PrimeAir.

 

Last year, coronavirus shut down churches and restaurants – two major consumers of flowers for Easter services and brunches. Shelter-in-place orders meant fewer families could host Easter dinners at home. Spring weddings also were postponed, all severely impacting growers across the world.

 

But this year, hope is in the air – in the form of the new life-saving vaccines developed to help control the spread of virus that has plagued us for so long. Company names like Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and Moderna now play large in the world of pharmaceutical logistics. These names have also become part of our everyday conversation, signaling an awakening from the darkest period of the pandemic and providing overwhelming sense of relief, re-emergence, and renewal.

 

Aren’t these the very themes of Spring itself? The season associated symbolically with dramatic changes such as rebirth, resurrection, and waking from sleep.

 

Turning the Corner

What a difference a year makes – in stark contrast with April 2020, when the pandemic was in full swing, international trade had altogether halted, and the entire global economy was collapsing before our eyes. Like most business in the world economy, needless to say, the cut-flower industry was very severely impacted.

 

Thankfully though, we’ve turned the corner, as traditional importers who sell to wholesalers who sell to retailers, supermarkets, big box retailers, online distributors, as well as to traders at the world’s largest trading site in Amsterdam – are all now enjoying the resurrection of the industry.

 

Of course, this also includes a resurgence of businesses at the root of the flower industry: the farms, in-country forwarders, and shippers serving the verdant regions of Colombia and Ecuador. Great news for those local economies.

 

Rosier Outlook

Today, global sales related to the spring-time floral business are now booming because of the weddings and other events that had been rescheduled after long delays. This upward trend is expected to continue, reaching the same economic levels as compared to late 2019.

 

Even rosier is the outlook for the worldwide market for flowers and ornamental plants over the next five years. It is expected to grow roughly 6.3 percent, reaching $57.4 billion USD in 2024, up from $42.4 billion USD in 2019.

 

While the global floral market is faring better than initially anticipated, the economy will no doubt continue to be impacted by the consequences of the pandemic. Nonetheless, consumers are thankful they are getting back to being able to brightening the day of their loved ones with flowers this spring.

 

“Let Hope Bloom”

In the midst of the crisis last year, the Dutch Flower Council created a social media campaign called, “Let Hope Bloom.” This uplifting message reminded consumers of the importance of flowers in their lives and in fact did lift spirits – and sales!

 

But for me, it also reflected the resilience of an industry that has endured unexpected turns in the economy, the environment, and a multitude of other unpredictable forces over the years.

 

I am confident hope will continue to bloom this year, and that the floral industry will be stronger than it ever has been as the world continues to emerge from this crisis, and well into the future.

 

Happy Spring – and please stay safe.

Doing It All: Our Mission to Serve Clients With Extreme Care for HAZMAT Shipments

Safe, professional, and reliable, shipment of goods via air, sea, or ground is always important – and Prime Logistics has the experience to make that happen for its valued customers. But some cargo, classified by U.S. authorities as “hazardous goods” (HAZMAT) or alternatively, internationally, as “dangerous goods,” requires extreme care and top-of-class expertise at every step of the packaging and shipping process.

Fortunately, Prime Logistics can handle packing and shipping services for multiple types of cargo. When we’re asked to assist a client with a HAZMAT shipment, we work to ensure the safety and protection of our employees, transportation companies, the general public, and the communities we serve.

Complying with Diverse Regulations
Heavily regulated by U.S. and international government agencies as well as industry organizations such as the International Air Transport Association (IATA), global, and domestic HAZMAT shipments have the potential of a higher-than-normal risk to the public and the environment. As a result, strict rules, regulations and legal requirements for these types of goods are imposed by regulators and can vary from country to country.

Fortunately, Prime Logistics knows the ins and outs of these requirements with “boots on the ground” all around the globe – employees who know local requirements, as well as which airlines or ocean cargo operators will carry specific types of HAZMAT cargo, such as perfume, flammable fuels, or even aircraft engines that by their nature contain oils and other components deemed as dangerous goods (DGs). It’s definitely not a cookie-cutter process.

Expertise on the shipping side, whether it’s domestic or international in nature, is critical. For example, HAZMAT goods can include everything from corrosive goods to explosives, gases, flammable and combustible liquids and solids, oxidizer and organic peroxide, poison, explosives radioactive items, and corrosive goods.

Training, Training, and More Training
“Safely and efficiently transporting HAZMAT boils down to specialized training on an annual basis, emphasizes Edgar Campana, general manager, Prime Logistics. “Training, training and more training – Nothing is more critical.”

In fact, Prime Logistics’ multifaceted training program covers all the basic aspects of all services provided to customers. That includes annual HAZMAT training, during which employees learn how to identify and safely package HAZMAT materials for shipment, critical to the company’s full-service mission of moving all types of cargo for clients.

Why proper packaging is s important
Even the most responsible customers who know the complex rules and regulations for HAZMAT may simply never get close enough to their own products on the shipping side to assure that those goods are packaged properly. In turn, Prime Logistics’ priority is to ensure any dangerous goods presented for shipping by customers are packaged correctly with the correct items.

“That way our employees can advise the transportation company if the package or cargo received is ‘good to fly’ or, alternatively, has issues,” says Campana. If there are problems, Prime Logistics can take the appropriate action to rectify those. It also takes great care to assure its own employees should not be put at risk.

Campana stresses that “we as a company have to know how to properly identify such cargo, learn what we need to clean, contain the material right away, and eliminate risk for employees and the environment.” Among the many steps along the shipping journey, employees must follow varied domestic and international rules and regulations for classifying, identifying, packaging, marking, labeling, documenting, placarding and separating HAZMAT cargo.

Striving for Safe, On-Time Deliveries
It’s a reality that some forwarders that specialize in transportation of cargo simply don’t feel comfortable in dealing with HAZMAT shipments. While handling those certainly isn’t Prime Logistics’ prime business goal, they fall within our full-service approach to serving customers.

HAZMAT is just another element in the shipping process, another way to assist clients. Then, “at the end of the day, it falls on us to help make sure the customer’s shipment makes it to the final destination safely, intact and without a delay at Customs that could be caused by improper packaging or other HAZMAT issues,” he emphasizes.

Keeping People Safe
One facet of Prime Logistics’ HAZMAT service for its shipping clients is unwavering – the safety and protection of employees, customers and the public. It’s also a team approach inside the company. Even Campana has taken the annual HAZMAT training “because the best way to know what people are doing is to know what they are doing day to day, and if they need help, I am ready.”

Beyond HAZMAT certification, Prime Logistics’ employees also offer diverse skill sets and other important certifications. Employees are trained to safely operate forklifts, manage perishables, understand good distribution practices and safely handle specialized products such as vaccines that require lower temperatures. Some also take TSA training to assure they understand Customs requirements.

“As a result, our employees have all the tools they need to safely do their jobs and protect customer shipments,” Campana stresses. For example, if cargo comes to Prime Logistics packed in dry ice, the employee knows how to safely work with it and avoid injury, as dry ice is dangerous to touch and can burn eyes.

“It’s all about having all the expertise needed to assist our clients and handle the shipment with the utmost care,” he points out. “From client to client, cargo always comes in differently and goes out differently, whether it’s fluids, a product that needs to be below zero, dry cargo, or perishables.”

The Right Stuff
Making Another point Campana makes? The supplier may believe “all is okay,” but “if the packaging is not up to our specifications for the transfer to airlines, this is where our expertise comes in – to ensure smooth packing and transport so the customer delivery is not delayed.”

In some cases, Prime Logistics may have to open a crate and repack it to meet HAZMAT regulations or other specifications. Since Prime Logistics is certificated in the U.S., it obviously follows U.S. regulations, but Campana say the company’s employees across the globe understand the requirements and nuances of government rules outside the U.S.

Knowing those local regulations – whether in Rio de Janeiro, Amsterdam, Singapore, or elsewhere – is a plus for customers. “Otherwise, the shipment will get stuck at Customs if we aren’t on top of what’s regulated – and know the right way to move the cargo through,” he adds. That could mean a loss of time for the customer, as well as a loss of money due to fines or extra taxes.

So, while often a customer’s prime concern is that Prime Logistics succeeds in getting their product from Point A to Point B on time and in good shape, Campana emphasizes that “we must handle everything in between, whether a normal shipment or HAZMAT goods.” Fortunately, Prime Logistics has both the experience and expertise to accomplish that in a safe, timely and efficient manner” whatever is being shipped.

Nurturing Community Spirit is a Prime Quality

Having a heart – by “giving back” to the local community, diving into volunteerism, or working directly with charitable organizations – is a positive way to show employees and customers that what’s important in business is more than just dollars and cents.

As Helen Keller said, “Alone, we can do so little, together, we can do so much.”

At Prime Group, we strongly believe that any company – big or small – with a sense of social responsibility and a volunteerism-friendly culture for their employees can truly make a difference. That’s why we strongly encourage all businesses to improve the quality of life in their communities through local projects and volunteerism.

It Takes a Planet

“Over the holidays, most of us had the blessings of food on the table and a home from which our families celebrated,” Marie Gonzalez, manager of Prime Planet Business Development. “But at the same time, so many others were not so fortunate.”

To help, Prime Group provided a Prime Planet Donation for the Miami Global Colombian Lions Club project to feed homeless residents.

“Our employees took to the streets of Miami and provided goodie bags with a sandwich, beverage, and snacks that homeless residents could later enjoy,” Gonzalez notes. “It was a small, but meaningful food donation. Not only was it the right thing to do, but it helped these less fortunate people know that we care.”

On the Frontline for Kids

Individual employees who pick a personal passion for their community service also can enrich their own personal lives, which often makes for a happier employee in general, as well. For example, in the past, Igor Vilas Boas, operations manager at Prime Logistics and his wife Diana have volunteered their time on weekends at His House Children’s Home of North Miami, a frontline provider of residential and foster-care services dedicated to restoring the lives of children.

In addition to helping the kids and teens, the couple soon discovered that volunteering was a great way to disconnect from work after a busy day and foster a good work-life balance. Studies show that the act of giving to others can help employees enhance both mental and physical health.

More Than Just Chipping In

For example, over the past several months, Prime Group’s global headquarters in Miami, served as the local arrival point for Girl Scout Cookies in Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties. More than 60,000 boxes of cookies were warehoused at Prime Group’s Doral warehouse facility, and our company partnered with the Girl Scouts of Tropical Florida for the launch of the 2021 cookie season.

Over several weeks, employees worked side by side with the Girl Scouts to prepare for the launch of the cookie distribution phase of the program from the warehouse.

“It was so much more than just another successful logistics operation,” says Edgar Campana, general manager-Prime Logistics. “It was also our way of being a good corporate citizen and helping to foster the development of future female leaders.” He also points out that volunteering and working on community projects can benefit business too.

According to a recent global study on corporate social responsibility, 93 percent of consumers polled by Cone Communications said they’d have a more positive image of a company that’s socially responsible. Ninety percent of those surveyed also said they’d be more likely to trust that company, while 88 percent would be “more loyal” and continue using that firm’s products or services.

We’ve discovered that when we support our local communities, our business has higher local visibility, more robust networking opportunities, a team-focused sense of accomplishment among our employees, and an enhanced business reputation.

Prime Group encourages all companies to pick their passion – by finding projects that can make their community a better place to live and work. It can change lives.

So why not set up a volunteer action plan within your company? Encourage employees to pick a charity or community project and volunteer. As a business, look for corporate projects that improve the lives of local residents, and in some cases, even save lives.

As the 19th century playwright and theater director Henrik Ibsen said: “Community is like a ship. Everyone ought to be prepared to take the helm.”

Prime Logistics First in U.S. to Receive WCA’s ‘Responsible Person for Logistics’ Certification

General Manager Edgar Campana now recognized by World Cargo Association for compliance with ‘Good Distribution of Medicinal Products for Human Use’

Prime Logistics is now recognized by the World Cargo Association (WCAworld) – and its nearly 10,000 members in 194 countries – as 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 General Manger Edgar Campana 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.

“We are extremely proud to be the first logistics firm in the U.S. to receive this certification,” says Prime Group CEO Roger Paredes. “Having a WCA-accredited Responsible Person on staff not only reinforces our commitment to continually expanding our knowledge base through education, innovation, and adaptation, but also reaffirms Prime Group’s position as a trusted leader in the global logistics industry.”

Prime Group’s four enterprises, Prime Logistics, PrimeAir, Prime Planet, and Prime Fresh Handling combined serve a wide range of industries by providing professional sales and marketing services, ground handling and cold storage, market analysis and yield management, and retail food distribution.

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.

Along with General Manager Edgar Campana’s certification, the company is now entitled to proudly display the distinctive Responsible Person Certified seal.

Says Campana, “This important RP designation ensures that our customers know Prime Logistics is highly qualified, knowledgeable, and compliant with not only the rules and regulations for shipping in the United States, but for multinational clients and companies depending 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.”

Such certification comes at a pivotal time for the air cargo industry, in particular, as logistics companies across the globe are maneuvering into position to support the crucial worldwide distribution of COVID-19 vaccine.

“Certainly, this achievement puts Prime Logistics in prime position, competitively,” Campana said, adding that RP certification is not just focused on moving pharmaceuticals like vaccines, but also covers compliance and needed skills in correctly transporting all types of medicines and medical equipment.

“And though it is very rare, if and when called into service, we are now able to handle the shipment of human organs and tissue for transplant, for customers anywhere in the world,” he added.

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 an RP 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 a well-designed Quality Management System (QMS) with a focus 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.

This announcement comes on the heels of announcement of Campana and one other member of the Prime Logistics staff, Cristina Moscoso receiving WCA’s Certification for Good Distribution Practices. Additionally, eight members of the company recently received Anti-Bribery & Corruption Certifications, also issued by WCAworld Academy.

About Prime Logistics

Prime Logistics is a division of Prime Group, a Miami-based air cargo and international logistics conglomerate founded in 2001. Prime Logistics has hundreds of contacts and representatives around the globe, who are skilled at providing expert logistics solutions. Many industries are supported in shipping commodities via air and ocean to virtually any destination.

Prime Group Aligns with Big Names in the Business

Many are right here among our ranks

Smart and innovative firms often surround themselves with other smart and innovative players. The Prime Group has been painstakingly diligent over its 20-year history to align itself with the most prominent air-cargo carriers in the business along with highly reputable vendors, distributors, and global trade organizations.

The caliber of external relationships is a strong indicator of the type of company you are known to be. In other words, you are the company you keep – an extremely telling standard by which a company’s reputation is measured.

There is another important gauge that accurately reflects your business acumen, philosophy, and practices, one that is perpetuated internally – Prime Group’s highly qualified and skilled workforce.

We recognize that our employees also are a clear reflection of the company and our core values: honesty and professionalism, and constant innovation and adaptation. So similarly, we have worked very hard at maintaining – and improving – our place in the industry by selecting, cultivating, and retaining the best possible talent.

As the true face of the company, Prime Group people represent a huge investment, one that deserves the greatest care and attention. One way to gain and retain the best talent is to continually offer opportunities for professional growth.

Education never ends – nor should it. There is always room for growth and knowledge, especially in the form of professional certifications. Investing in employee skills training not only bolsters employee expertise and knowledge, but having certified specialists on staff positively impacts the entire corporation.

In light of this, we keep a keen eye on ways to expand and enhance the skills and aptitude of our team specifically within the area of perishables and pharmaceuticals logistics. Through our relationship the World Cargo Association (WCA), the Prime Group of companies may now boast three new levels of certification among staff in several areas.

Awarded by WCAworld Academy within the last two months, they include:

  • Responsible Person Certification for Good Distribution Practices;
  • Anti-Bribery & Corruption Certifications; and
  • Responsible Person Certification for Logistics (for Good Distribution of Medicinal Products for Human Use).

This third honor, issued to Prime Logistics General Manger Edgar Campana, is most impressive as it makes us the first logistics firm in the U.S. to receive this level of certification. It signifies to the cargo world we have a representative on staff with 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.

This announcement truly is a feather in our cap. It reinforces the fact among our many stakeholders and business prospects that we are not only well positioned to do our part in the vital distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, but going forward, in to support the ongoing seasonal distribution of other biologics and pharmaceutical equipment worldwide.

I couldn’t be more proud of our staff and their dedication to elevating their professional skills and abilities while showing the world that Prime Group is succeeding in our pursuit to not only do the best, but be the best. Congratulations, team!

Prime Group looks forward to continuing to align itself with the greatest names in the business – and they are right here among our ranks.