The Pros and Cons of Paperless Customs processing

The era of the paper form is coming to an end. While they have not disappeared entirely, there’s been a clear shift over the past few years as more and more businesses and government agencies are opting to go paperless.

And there are many reasons for this – with environmental concerns being a leading motivator, but so is all the time and effort that goes into processing and distribution of paper forms.

In the case of the import and export of cargo and the customs clearing process, however, the primary driver is efficiency. Time is money, and if you can save time, this is good news for everyone. Or is it?

“Sure, with paperless forms, all you need to do is go online, file your information at any hour of the day, and it’s all done,” says Omar Zambrano, chief operating officer of Prime Group Holdings, who also heads up the Prime Air & Ocean Cargo division.

But that’s only if you’ve done it right, he warns. “And thankfully, or customers know we only do it right.”

A leading global trade services company, Prime Air & Ocean Cargo provides complete customs, import, export, and related services for shippers worldwide. Partnering with some of the most seasoned licensed customs brokers and global trade experts in the business, PAOC prides itself on being able to provide prompt and efficient clearance of merchandise.

The pros of going paperless also include a more accurate and precise representation of data, better control of the information, and Customs personal having more time to check documentation.

But what happens if a shipper has a question or coding-entry concern that needs to be addressed onsite. Now, those questions often go unanswered and incorrect data makes its way into their tariff calculations.

The clear disadvantage of a paperless process is the lack of direct contact with Customs officers. Previously, they were widely available to lend assistance on such procedural matters. But that face-to-face advantage is a thing of the past. “Now, you basically have to talk with a machine,” Zambrano quips.

“Not everyone can provide this service and hope to do it correctly every time,” says Zambrano. “Sure, you take a test to show proficiency in entering data in the new paperless system, but one small mistake could end up costing you dearly.”

By transitioning to a paperless, the U.S. Customs is seeing the benefits of more efficient processing, but the new system seriously tests the skills and expertise of the customs brokers and shippers using it.

“We truly have to possess a deep understanding of the complex regulations around Customs Law to successfully navigate through this online process. This is why it is so important to have a seasoned customs broker working with you to ensure smooth delivery of product when it arrives in the U.S. – and to protect against costly mistakes.”

Still at the core of today’s system is the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, also known as the Harmonized System (HS) of tariff nomenclature, an internationally standardized system of names and numbers used to classify traded products.

Problems arise when data entry errors go undetected for years after paperless forms are completed and submitted to the Customs Inspectors. In the process of auditing your data, and detecting any incorrect tariff codes, the agency will recalculate your taxes to see whether you underpaid – and now you owe.

By inputting just one wrong number and accepting delivery of the goods, shippers could face thousands of dollars in re-taxation years later when the form is ultimately reviewed and readjusted.

That’s because the HS is organized logically by economic activity or component material. For example, animals and animal products are found in one section of the HS, while flowers are found in another. The HS is organized into 21 sections, which are subdivided into 99 chapters. The 99 HS chapters are further subdivided into 1,244 headings and 5,224 subheadings. You could accidentally enter a number that corresponds to the delivery of live pigs when all you wanted was to denote the delivery fresh peonies.

“Customs is a very tricky business, and we have pros who have been at our side for years assisting with the export and import of fresh cut flowers – historically, our core business.” He noted that PAOC is also well versed in providing shipping support and customs clearance for many other perishables and merchandise for several other industries as well, including aerospace, chemical, consumer and retail, constructions, healthcare, and automotive.

“We can do this because we have the knowledge of our network of experts right at our fingertips,” says Omar Zambrano. In fact, in Miami, PAOC works directly with one of the most respected licensed customs-brokers in the entire U.S., with 35 years experience. “And our existing customers know they can count on us because we work with the best.”

At the end of the day, Zambrano says the lesson is, “Go with who you know is a pro.”

ABOUT PAOC
Prime Air & Ocean Cargo prides itself on its use of industry-leading technology and smart, experienced staff to deliver consistent, safe, and efficient delivery of goods for a wide range of customers. Whatever your industry, Prime Air & Ocean Cargo provides integrated and seamless service. They specialize in warehousing, transportation, crating, and packaging — and the all important documentation processing and customs clearing services.

By teaming with Prime Air & Ocean Cargo, customers avoid the need to juggle multiple service providers all over the world. Big or small – whether it’s one box, one pallet or a company-wide logistics management operation – Prime Air & Ocean Cargo does everything – in an easy, organized, and timely fashion.

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

Employing the Rules of Weight and Balance in the Workplace

In our line of work, providing ground operations services for our air cargo partners, it is essential to understanding the principles of weight and balance. Without question, we comply with the recommended limits of a particular cargo aircraft – after all, knowing these rules are critical to its structural integrity and flight safety.

What if we had such stringent rules around managing our own “work-life balance.” Well, some of us do. Problem is, many of us don’t. As a result, people in the workplace often find themselves compromising their well-being and performance on the job – without even knowing it.

The idea behind this concept of work-life balance is to achieve an ideal balance between your working life and private life. It is a concept whereby the maximum happiness of an employee acts as the fuel for productive and fulfilling work.

And although there is no rulebook, summer time often presents a prime opportunity to do just that – by unplugging from work. In fact, now that kids are going back to school, we are just coming out of a key period during which we were able to step back and spend quality time with the family, go on a summer vacation, or engage in some form of personal development.

In summers past, because it is a little slower in our industry, I was able to take time out of my busy schedule to spend it with my family. We would alternate between taking the kids to Ecuador to reconnect with their family in Quito; and then over the next summer, we would head north to see their grandparents at a lovely cottage up on Lake Michigan.

One year we drove all the way back from Michigan to Miami, taking offshoots all along the way. We got to see and experience Memphis and New Orleans, and cities people don’t typically visit, like Springfield, Il., Baton Rouge, La., and Tallahassee, Fla. Together, we got a totally new perspective of the American scene.

And in the process, I got to re-energize. Though it wasn’t always easy pulling away from work, it was so important on so many levels.

Because the ability to turn off distractions and enjoy uninterrupted quality time is a great way to relax, rejuvenate, and regenerate. It allows us to get away from the pressures of everyday work life, and come back to the job with a new perspective – and actually be happier and more productive on the job.

That’s important stuff. Having a healthy life-work balance makes us better to work with, better able to serve our customers, and better people in general.

I hope you give some weight to this idea of finding balance in your life.

The best way to ‘balance’ yourself

Mahatma Gandhi once said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Turns out, the act of giving to others is also one of the best ways to achieve a life-work balance.

Just ask Igor Vilas Boas, Operations Manager at Prime Air & Ocean Cargo. He and his wife Diana knew they wanted to do something to help their community. What they didn’t know was that their volunteerism would end up being a two-way street.

“Giving is not only good – it feels good too,” he said, soon after joining with a group of friends to pitch in at a local foster home.

“Sure you can go online, buy a toy, and have it delivered to a needy kid,” said Vilas Boas. “But we wanted to do something that would be more lasting – something that would make a bigger impact.”

They ultimately enlisted to volunteer 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 distress.

In the process, they quickly recognized that the mere act of disconnecting after a busy week, to reconnect through charity work, was helping them gain a healthy work-life balance.

“Sure, it feels good to bring a bright moment to a child in need,” said Vilas Boas. “But I found that engaging like this outside of office also helps to keep me balanced.”

Like Vilas Boas, many people chose to volunteer as a way of achieving a work-life balance – by unplugging from a demanding desk job volunteer to plant a community garden, walk dogs for an animal shelter, or help out at a children’s program.

 “For me, it is better to donate your self – not your stuff.” With that said, it is worth noting that in his native tongue, Vilas Boas in Portuguese means, “Good Village.”

“I’d like to think I am doing good work for the greater ‘village’ – our community,” he said.

Vilas Boas came to Miami from Sao Paulo about eight years to work with PAOC, a key division of Prime Group Holdings, an international import-export logistics conglomerate founded based in Doral. Today, in his demanding role in Operations and Customer Service, he ensures that things run smoothly for PAOC’s customers and freight forwarders, from the moment they request a quote, through shipment of their goods, to delivery.

The work-life balance definition sets out to achieve an ideal balance between a person’s working life and private life. It is a concept whereby the maximum happiness of an employee acts as the fuel for productive and fulfilling work.

Turning off distractions and enjoying uninterrupted quality time is one method by which workers relax, rejuvenate, and regenerate, as is meditation, music, and physical activity – anything that allows people to get away from the pressures of their everyday work life.

However, one of the most satisfying means for many people is to engage in volunteer work.

Volunteering offers vital help to people in need, but the benefits can be even greater for the volunteer. Studies show that the act of giving to others can help employees protect their mental and physical health. It can reduce stress, make them mentally stimulated, and provide a sense of purpose.

Best part is, volunteering doesn’t have to involve a long-term commitment. The act of giving, in even simple ways, helps those in need.

So when the spirit strikes, Vilas Boas and his crew head over to the His Home campus on a Saturday or Sunday, and pick out a child to work and play with. On a sunny day, they go outside to toss a ball or play hide-and-seek. On rainy days, they enjoy video games or board games – or just talk.

“If only for an hour, the kids feel good and get a sense of being integrated again into the community,” said Vilas Boas. “Even though they don’t speak about their issues, or their feelings, you can see when someone comes in to play with them they light right up.”

When it comes to volunteering, “Passion and positivity are the only requirements,” headed. Not surprisingly, these are two of the very qualities Vilas Boas brings to his work with the Prime Group.

About His House
His House Children’s Home is a non-profit organization with a 232-bed capacity situated on a beautiful campus at 20000 N.W. 47th Ave., Hector Building No. 2, Miami Gardens, FL 33055. They care for children removed from their homes during turbulent times in their lives, abuse, abandonment, and neglect.

For information call 305-430-0085 or visit www.hhch.org.

About PAOC

Prime Air Ocean Cargo has a unique ability to streamline, optimize, and expedite freight to and from the U.S. for a wide range of major industries. They work closely with air carriers and ocean carriers to sec

ure competitive rates and ample space to destinations all around the world.

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

Prime Fresh Handling Casts a Big Net Over New York

Prime Fresh Handling is casting a bigger net over New York by expanding its perishables business to include the handling of fresh fish – but also by enhancing the customer experience with the rollout of exciting new software.

Since early 2019, when PFH decided to couple its core mission of handling fresh-cut flowers with the import of fresh fish, business has been growing exponentially. And now, a soon-to-be released tracking software is promising to make the company’s service product even more desirable.

“The strategy of introducing fresh fish into our New York service line is definitely paying off,” says Alex Paredes, PFH Sales Manager North America.

“It’s been just four months, but we’re growing at a very fast rate because of course were not only able to take immediate advantage of PFH’s existing cold-chain infrastructure here that supports our established flower business, but our vast know-how in shipping perishables in general. So expanding into fish was the next natural step.”

Not to suggest PFH isn’t facing competition in this enormous metropolitan market. But Paredes says other companies in New York focus predominantly on the trucking service, not on the handling end of the business, as PFH does so well.

“While we do have own dedicated fleet of refrigerated trucks to ship product, our primary focus is expert handling – and of course quality control.”

PFH currently serves most major distribution centers in New York including Fulton Market, and the New Fulton Market in the Bronx, as well as upstate New York and into New Jersey.

Let’s Get Fresh
Although timing is everything in the highly-specialized perishables business, understandably, fish require a lot more care and attention than flowers, for instance.

“Freshness is everything with fish. That’s why our customers demand that their product is recovered within less than three to four hours of landing at the airport, and that we adhere to the strictest standards of quality control all along the way,” says Paredes. “And this is where reliance on real-time technology steps in.”

New Technology
According to Omar Zambrano, Prime Group’s Chief Operations Officer, the new hand-held units they are deploying utilize similar software to what’s already in use to ship of flowers, dry cargo, and perishables.3

Integrally involved in the development and rollout of the new software and scanners, Zambrano says the officially rollout is on schedule for an August release.

The new software will be deployed in Los Angeles as well, where the company is also enjoying a booming presence in the fresh-fish business.

How it works:
• As soon as the precious cargo arrives at the PFH’s JFK warehouse, expert handlers are standing by to begin preparing the fish immediately, in order to meet strict delivery deadlines throughout the New York area and to connect with flights to down-line cities.
• From that moment of arrival, the imperative is to initiate direct, real-time communications with the end-point customers – the wholesale/retail distributors and restaurants.
• Using a mobile scanner, warehouse staff clicks on the pallet, triggering a message to the customer that their fish is here, it’s been offloaded from the aircraft, and it is now in the warehouse.
• As the process of breaking down the pallets begins, temperatures are continually monitored and the customer is now advised that their delicate cargo is being segregating by fish type.
• Because orders are custom-prepared based on customer need, on their end, they sign for what they want it, their order is boxed and iced, and is quickly dispatched for delivery.

All the while, this custom-designed software is also keeping PFH staff on point in order to minimize delays and eliminate human error.

“It is easy and smart – and benefits everyone,” says Zambrano. “The software was designed to be totally user friendly so all they have to do is click, click, and click – and there is nothing more to think about.”

Except, of course, enjoying amazingly fresh and delicious fresh fish.

For details, contact Alex Paredes, PFH Sales Manager-North America, via email at salesjfk@primegroup.aero or call PFH New York at 516-837-9777. For more information, visit www.primegroup.aero.

Prime Group Boosts Presence on European Stage

Prime Group’s sales team chalked up a long list of highly productive meetings and promising leads at last month’s Air Cargo Europe 2019, the world’s leading trade fair held in Munich for the air cargo and logistics industry.

While there, says Prime Group CEO Roger Paredes, they made it a point to not only buttress relations with current business partners Atlas Air and Emirates SkyCargo, but also to pursue key introductions with several additional cargo airlines. “Because at end of the day we are sharpening our focus on serving other carriers in untapped markets to and from South America.”

For years, Prime Group has had a significant presence at the major trade shows in North and South America, most notably, at Air Cargo Americas in Miami, because it is right in their back yard.

Comprised of four separate divisions, Prime Group is based in Doral, Fla., bordering Miami International Airport. The companies include Prime Air & Ocean Cargo, Prime Fresh Handling, Prime Fresh Products, and PrimeAir.

“As we continue to put greater emphasis on global expansion, it is vitally important that we make our name known among potential customers all across the world,” said Paredes.

Air Cargo Europe is an international exhibition with an accompanying high-profile conference offering opportunities for prominent industry representatives to discuss the latest trends and topics.

Reflecting the major growth of the cargo industry overall, this year’s show, June 4 to 7, saw a 10 percent increase in exhibitors (to 2,400), as well as a jump in visitors to the show – with more than 64,000 in attendance for 2019.

Top topics included status of the trade war between the USA and China, discussion of the “New Silk Road,” and how artificial intelligence will help the industry in the long term by making logistics chains more transparent and efficient.

Most impressive for the Prime Group team was the sharp increase in the number of Chinese attending the show, as Chinese firms are increasingly looking for cooperation partners in Europe. With Prime Group’s strong and growing presence in Amsterdam and multiple service connections to and from South America, this came as very good news. After all, sparking new growth in capacity between Europe and the Asia market is one of the company’s prime objectives – especially during peak seasons for fresh flowers and other perishables.

Despite the fact that current relations between the governments of the U.S. and China are not conducive at the moment, says Paredes, “We have to be open to options and think in the long term.”

With an exhibition covering 10 halls, the top 10 exhibitor countries after Germany were: Netherlands, Italy, Belgium, France, Poland, China, Austria, Spain, U.K., and the Czech Republic. New exhibitors this year included Fercam, Neutral Air Cargo, Hong Kong COSCO Shipping Lines, China Asia Shipping, and Yuxinou Logistics.

Paredes said there are significant benefits to participation in trade shows – and this show in particular allowed his team to check many boxes. First and foremost:
• The ability to effectively advertise their brand to thousands of vendors, prospective customers, and industry leaders;
• To see familiar faces and build upon existing relationships; and
• To generate high-quality leads and close sales.

“It’s also a great way to display our latest products and services, while keeping an eye on your competitors” he added.

“We’ll definitely be back, as Air Cargo Europe is the perfect networking platform thanks to its massive global appeal.”

Celebrating 18 Years of Prime Group Success

While flipping through some old photo albums in preparation for our company’s 18th anniversary this month, a great rush of nostalgia came over me. It was just so satisfying to look back at the myriad milestones we achieved over the years and the amazing growth we’ve experienced.

There we were in dozens of pictures with bright smiling faces accepting corporate awards, rolling out new services in new markets, working major trade shows… Some things never change.

But then again, some things change a lot – and I’m not just referring to how young I looked! As I sat there looking down memory lane, it suddenly hit me that all those faces looking back at me were on glossy color-photo paper pasted into a faux leather-bound book. That’s how we use to do it! Using a “technology” that is now considered totally out of date in today’s digital world.

Who could have foreseen the avalanche of impending advancements that would not only revolutionize how we capture and share images, but in the process, deal a deathblow to major corporate giants like Kodak and Polaroid. I am sure they wish they were better prepared for what was coming.

Lessons Learned
So, lessons learned. But also lessons applied – which is why I can say with great confidence that as we celebrate 18 years in business, I firmly believe Prime Group is extremely well positioned to survive the unknown unknowns. Because we have a strategy in place that keeps our companies open to all possibilities. We are not only nimble, but entirely deliberate in the way we are diversifying our business lines.

Who would have thought 18 years ago we would be here today using cutting-edge communications technology to track and monitor the status of thousands of pounds of fresh fish arriving at LAX and JFK, real-time, for a whole new base of customers. That’s what’s happening right now at Prime Fresh Products.

Who would have thought we’d have created a line of snack-foods, Tostones harvested and packaged in Ecuador for distribution among major retail supermarkets all across the U.S. That’s what is happening now at Prime Fresh Products.

Well Positioned
And all this upon a backdrop of aggressive sales and marketing efforts geared toward boosting awareness of the Prime Group brand in a way that will position us for long-term growth in new and emerging markets around the globe.

They say the only constant in business is change. With that in mind, we are continually monitoring our alignment with defined organizational challenges and objectives. We are also keenly aware that our business can be influenced by:

• Increased diversity and globalization in the workforce, customers, suppliers, and competitors;
• New technologies that have resulted in faster pace and larger scale;
• A more complex communications environment with more channels; and
• Changes in business situations and strategy.

So in 18 years, when I look back at our bright smiling faces, the moments, and milestones – stored on an antiquated USB drive – I will know that right there in the background, there were smart and strategic efforts taking place to ensure the long-term success of our company.

Thank you for being with us on this journey.

Prime Planet re-engineers an already delicious snack product

They say letting something go creates space for something better. In the case of Prime Planet Tostones, they’re absolutely right.

Since Prime Fresh Products (PFP) let go of the original iteration of its much-loved Tostones chips in order to launch a new and improved version in April – they are flying off the shelf.

That’s because now these delicious green plantain chips not only taste better and come in a better package, now they’re easier to find on the grocer’s shelf. After meeting certain standards in order to be re-designated a more mainstream snack, Prime Planet Tostones have made the critical move from the ethnic section to the all-important snack aisle.

“Since 2016, we have been the pioneers of converting plantains into all natural and better-for-you chips,” says Prime Fresh Planet’s Marcia Tipiana, “So, naturally, we wanted to get the formula for production and distribution right.”

Initially sold only in the South Florida, over the past several months, Prime Planet Tostones underwent a total re-engineering, by taking a really good chip and making it a whole lot better. In fact, when compared with the original chip, existing customers overwhelmingly love this new product, with Original, Lime, and Habanero varieties topping the list.

“Tostones have long been a highly recognized side plate among the Caribbean and South American culture,” says Tipiana. “But that’s now rapidly changing as they are being distributed to U.S. grocery stores well north of South Florida – in fact all the way to the Canadian border.”

What’s more, a recent report on Hispanic food-marketing efforts and consumer behavior points to projected sales in the Hispanic-foods market in the U.S. increasing from $17.5 billion in 2015 to over $21 billion in 2020.

 

Good News Travels

PFP also has been taking its new and improved chip on the road to retail/wholesale food events, such as this spring’s Efficient Collaborative Retail Marketing Company (ECRM) Snack Food Show in Las Vegas. Here, the company focused on presenting the new snack item to buyers from across all U.S. retail channels.

According to Tipiana, it was also here that Prime Planet introduced its new re-sealable packaging, “because we understand that portion control is a big concern for consumers before they choose their snacking option.

 

The Difference

Prime Planet’s palm oil is certified RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil). The difference between regular banana chips or plantain chips is the taste, texture, and health benefits. The company focuses on ensuring its all-natural plantains have no added sugars or preservatives, since 47 percent of U.S. consumers indicate natural and non-added sugar is a main driver for putting an item into their grocery buggy.

“We are constantly innovating and adapting to the current snacking trends, which is the main reason we changed our packing image to target not only Hispanic/ethnic market but the mainstream market,” Tipiana added.

PFH also innovated the type of bag they offer, featuring a re-sealable a stand-up package, since demand for such pouches used in the candy and snack industry is forecast to increase 3.8 percent annually through 2022 to $3.4 billion.

 

About the Company

Founded in 2016 PFP finds the finest food products from around the world and then import, distributes, and transports them to the shelf in the U.S. Prime Planet is a brand of PFP that that focuses on the production of ready-to-eat tropical snacks for the retail and wholesale industry.

 

PFP is a division of Prime Group Holdings, located at 1301 NW 84th Ave. Suite 127, Miami, FL 33126. For information, visit www.primefreshproducts.com or contact Marcia Tipiana at 305-592-2044 or via email at opscoordinator@primefreshproducts.com.

More than just another success story

Few things are as important as giving your mother the undivided love and attention she deserves.

That’s why I am so thankful that by the time Mother’s Day actually arrives each year, those of us in the flower industry have pretty much accomplished everything we need to do in advance of this important day, whereby allowing us to be truly present to honor the amazing women in our lives.

As the busiest time of year for PrimeAir and Prime Fresh Handling, the work we do starts well over a month prior to Mother’s Day – and I must say, the frenetic pace by which our people perform is nothing short of astounding. Night and day, right up to about a week before, they work tirelessly to ensure that your Mother’s Day bouquet makes the journey from farm to florist, fast and fresh, and into mom’s arms by that second Sunday in May.

No complaints though, because we love what we do – and it shows. From a revenue and reliability standpoint, the 2019 season may very well have been our healthiest season ever. Adding up the all the flights from Bogota and Quito we operated on behalf of our air-cargo clients, and the number of kilos we moved across our network, it was a banner year.

What’s more, not surprisingly, the level of satisfaction among our customers is also at an all-time high, as a result of zero problems with shipments, zero reported claims, and zero delays.

What’s it called when news keeps getting better, year after year? It’s called a successful business!

But this year, it’s more than just another good news story. That’s because even as our corporate footprint has significantly expanded over the past year, we were able to exceed expectations in service delivery and reliability even at our newly expanded facilities in Los Angeles, New York, and Amsterdam.

All across the board, we were well prepared for the high season, fully staffed with experts, and more than ready to manage the shipment of fresh flowers in a smooth, professional, and efficient fashion.

At Prime Group, everything keeps coming up roses!

A perfectly balanced bouquet of service

Last month, Prime Group got wind of an opportunity to potentially expand operations in the flower-rich region of South America. This would be good news, as it would allow Prime Group to not only grow its network as a dedicated provider of operations, sales, and ground handling services – but to continue boost its brand here.

“To be able to expand into, Medellin, Colombia, for example would be an exciting prospect indeed, said Roger Paredes, CEO of Prime Group. “From a logistics and transport standpoint, it would be ideal to be in the three top flower-producing origins, by adding a second Colombian city.”

The world buys about $1.35 billion worth of Colombian flowers every year, making the country the world’s second largest producer of cut flowers after The Netherlands.

However, launching operations in a new city is no small task. Work on such a project would involve extensive outreach and examination, from meeting with flower farms and grower’s associations, to checking and double-checking whether a new airport would even be suitable.

“Everything from determining whether we could store the volume of pallets necessary, to warehousing and cooler capacity would need to be looked at,” said Paredes.

But for Prime Group, opening the door to Medellin would allow the company to achieve a long-awaited goal of market expansion in Colombia. “We would love to cross Medellin off our bucket list,” he said.

Responsibilities here would mirror those in Bogota and Quito, in that Prime Group subsidiary PrimeAir would supervise all operations and customer service on the ground, Paredes added, “With an eye on safety and quality of service, we ensure everything goes smoothly, supervising all the vendors – and managing all aspects of cargo transport.”

Quito, Bogota, and Medellin would be a perfectly balanced bouquet of service.

Prime Air & Ocean Cargo is all spooled up over AOGs

There are two things people know about “AOGs.” They come with little notice and a lot of emotion.

For Omar Zambrano, they also come with a huge rush of adrenaline.

“I just love moving engines,” he says without a flinch as another wide-body screams over his Doral office where he serves as GM of Operations for Prime Air & Ocean Cargo.

Working right under the approach to MIA, it’s not the loud aircraft that give Zambrano a thrill, rather it’s the quiet ones – the “Aircraft On Ground” that’s stranded on a ramp a continent away, or the AOG at a Costa Rican overhaul center waiting for a new engine to arrive.

“When we get an AOG call, we immediately go into ‘emergency responder’ mode. You jump up, pull the team together, and don’t stop ‘til the job is done,” says Zambrano. “It’s intense and nerve wracking…”

Yet he boasts that AOG’s are the best part of his job. “Never a dull moment, that’s what I like…”

Airline operators however, look at AOGs with an entirely different set of emotions – like anxiety and impatience. That’s because they usually come with great cost.

 

AOG 101
Zambrano explains that any failure in providing spare parts for an aircraft can lead to a situation called “Aircraft On Ground,” a term that indicates a problem is serious enough to prevent an aircraft from flying.

“Generally, to get the aircraft back into service, the airline needs to provide the part immediately, otherwise it will lose its profit – and perhaps even its reputation.” In fact, in operational costs alone, including passenger, crew, ground services, and catering costs, the tab for an AOG can be as much $25,000 per day for the airline.

This is where Prime Air & Ocean Cargo (PAOC) comes in, with a team of highly qualified personnel managing all aspects of the dispatch and delivery of an entire engine or the smallest of parts, door to door. Whether it’s in the middle of the night or for shipment to a remote island, PAOC does its part to ensure fast repair of an aircraft and prompt return to service.

But not all AOG are emergencies. Some aircraft are out of service as part of regular maintenance. Even still, a qualified network of AOG professionals is required to ensure safe and reliable transport of crucial replacement parts.

“If an overhauled engine doesn’t make it to the waiting aircraft in the allotted time, now you got a serious AOG emergency on your hands,” said Zambrano.

 

Success Story
Consider this real-life scenario Zambrano experienced recently with a new client, a vice president of a U.S.-based company that performs major work for airlines and other clients from around the world.

He heard that PAOC is a top provider of AOG service. With years of experience with customers like Aerolineas Argentinas and TAME, he figured he could entrust PAOC with a CFM56-3 engine he needed shipped to Costa Rica for one of his company’s biggest customers.

And he figure right.

The initial inquiry came in to Zambrano’s Doral office just after noon on a Tuesday. The client wanted a quote to transport an engine from AeroThrust at MIA to SJO by the weekend. E-mails shot back and forth well into the night, with final negotiations between 2 and 3 a.m.

Within hours, an email popped back, saying: “Ok, that’s great guys. Let’s proceed. How would you like to be paid.”

With the agreement signed, sealed, and delivered, this next email, at 11:53 a.m., was the moment Zambrano was waiting for – a promise of more business in the future:

“Hi guys, thanks for the efficiency in the last 24hrs. I’m looking forward to using you more often… I’ll be in Miami next week … and would like to set up a side meeting to make sure we look at how we can cooperate on future projects and consignment.”

 

We Can Ship It

“We have a saying around here that goes, ‘If you can ship flowers, you can pretty much ship anything’,” says Zambrano. “But let’s face it, AOGs are even more critical than flowers. Because not only do you have to be reliable and fast, you have to be totally available on a moment’s notice.”

Jet engines and electronic aircraft components are highly sensitive and complex items that simply cannot be handled by just anyone. Everything has to be perfect.

But with a global network of AOG specialists, expertly coordinated by Zambrano from his Doral-base of operations, word of PAOC achieving perfection is now being thrust around the world.

That thrills Zambrano, too.

 

About PAOC

With offices and warehouse facilities in Miami, New York, and Los Angeles, Prime Air & Ocean Cargo (PAOC) has a unique ability to streamline, optimize, and expedite freight to and from points all across the globe for a wide range of major industries – with creative, smart logistics solutions.

 

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