PrimeAir Thinks Global, Acts Local

The spread of COVID-19 is taking a particularly heavy toll on Colombia and its major economic centers, including Bogota where PrimeAir has a significant presence.

Here in Latin America’s third biggest economy, the unemployment rate is still hovering near 16 percent as economic activity shrunk by 17 percent in the second quarter of 2020. Compared with where the country was during the first months of the pandemic, there is reason for optimism.

Yet there’s still a long way to go, provided that the pandemic is relatively short-lived and the community hangs onto hope—and each other.

“For months now, the government and private sector have been looking at ways to strengthen the national economy, get us through this crisis intact, and get back to the promise of a bright future,” says Jose Luis Vargas, Commercial Manager for PrimeAir in Bogota.

To promote stability and economic development in Colombia, he says the answer is to think globally and act locally. For PrimeAir and its parent company Prime Group, that means continually adapting to the ongoing changes impacting the global supply chain, pursuing emerging market opportunities worldwide, and focusing on what the company and its people do best—provide world-class logistics support to local industries including fruits, fresh fish, aircraft engines, and most importantly, flowers.

“We are truly proud to be able to play such an important part in sustaining business in these important sectors. By working closely with our vendors and cargo airline partners, we are ensuring that our local shippers and forwarders have unfettered access to the capacity they need to continue supporting the farmers, producers, and manufacturers in the region,” says Vargas.

Committed to Keep Flying

Certainly, the surest sign of PrimeAir’s commitment to the market, its customers, and the people of Colombia, was its dogged determination to maintain uninterrupted operations, even in the immediate aftermath of the coronavirus break out.

As the general sales & service agent (GSSA) for Atlas Air in Bogota, it fell upon PrimeAir to ensure their daily B747s continued providing lift in the market, at a time when most carriers abandoned their regular schedules and rotations to go elsewhere for more profitable short-term business.

According to Vargas, “Atlas Air depends on PrimeAir’s expert abilities and long-time boots on the ground, and we deliver.”

PrimeAir currently handles six B747-400 freighter flights per week between BOG and MIA (Tuesday through Sunday); and two additional segments that operate BOG-MIA-AMS (on Wednesdays and Saturdays). In September, PrimeAir celebrated its fourth year of operation with Atlas Air in Colombia.

Rosy Economy

Prior to the sudden and devastating impact of the pandemic on the global economy, Colombia was on a solid path of growth, expecting to top the list of “30 countries preferred for investment by foreigners” published by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

Relying on its rich natural resources, and other important solid sectors like fresh flowers and agriculture, Colombia was anticipating continued prosperity through 2020 and well beyond, a trend that observers remain confident will continue.

Key to the promise of national recovery is Bogotá’s El Dorado International Airport, the largest airport in Latin America in terms of cargo traffic. This major economic engine offering vast air connectivity is a major hub in PrimeAir’s global network. By servicing its many customers here, the company is also facilitating local trade, supporting economic competitiveness, and helping to increase productivity.

“The air cargo industry is a powerful catalyst for economic prosperity at the local level, ensuring delivery of farmers’ products to markets around the world and helping to sustain jobs and economic opportunity,” Vargas added. Of course it’s not just perishables; PrimeAir also supports a growing number aircraft engine overhaul and maintenance stations, transporting many of the industry’s largest aircraft power plants into and out of Colombia.

About PrimeAir

As the biggest GSSA in the country, PrimeAir sets the standard in on-time performance and is proud to deliver best-in-class service to Atlas Air, a global leader in the air transport of Colombian products.

PrimeAir combines extensive experience with local knowledge to ensure expert cargo sales and marketing services, operations, handling, and accounting for airlines across the globe including Atlas Air, Emirates SkyCargo, DHL Worldwide, and Eastern Airlines, among others.

PrimeAir benefits from being part of Miami-based Prime Group, a network of coordinated cargo and logistics specialists with offices, refrigerated and bonded warehouses, and certified handling facilities strategically located in Europe, South America, and the U.S.


For information about the entire family of Prime Group companies, visit www.primegroup.aero.

bogota

Prime Fresh Handling’s New Vacuum Cooler at BOG is BIG News

From farm to cargo-port to shelf, there are myriad steps along the way that must be taken to maintain the quality of delicate perishables. Topping the list is the steady application of cool air.

To eliminate the chances of a moldy old blueberry or warm and bruised flowers ever making it to market, shippers and handlers need the right stuff, like tight procedures, experienced staff, and top-of-the-line equipment.

Prime Fresh Handling’s got all that—and now even more in its ongoing fight against temperature abuse: a new ColdMax vacuum cooler at its BOG facility.

We recently spoke with Jose Luis Vargas, our Commercial Manager on the front lines in Colombia, to learn about this unique new feature that is making his customers happy, and the consumers they serve even happier—and for longer. Turns out, application of a vacuum cooler to the existing standard pre-cooling process can extend the vase life of flowers by up to 1.5 extra days.

So, let’s get to the root of the story:

Q: The new vacuum coolers at BOG are said to be a “rare find.” Why’s that? This technology has been around for years.

A: Yes, you’re right. Vacuum pre-cooling for floral crops actually dates back to the 1950s, but for years, few such systems were being used commercially. In recent years however, they’ve become more prevalent at centralized cargo terminals, such as our PFH facility at BOG.

What makes this system a “rare find” is that due to high capital cost of the equipment, few other local logistics providers can offset such an investment. It also adds a little extra time to the overall staging process, but the payoff for consumers is a longer vase life. Because of the high throughput of boxes at BOG, it was considered it an essential next step in PFH’s evolution as Colombia’s premier shipper and handler of fresh-cut flowers. Now it’s a real feather in our cap.

Q: So it is used only for shipment of fresh-cut flowers?

A: This system is being used primarily in the handling of our number one export at BOG—fresh-cut flowers. But it also can be used in staging sensitive perishables like fruit, vegetables, and herbs that we expertly handle for our customers.

Q: Why is this process so important?

A: Rapid cooling is an essential step in maintaining the cold supply. The way to ensure the quality and attractiveness of flowers is to cool them as soon as possible after harvest and then steadily maintain optimum temperatures throughout the entire transit and distribution process.

Once packed, flowers are difficult to cool. Their high rate of respiration and the high temperatures of most greenhouses and packing areas result in heat build-up in packed flower containers, unless measures are taken to ensure temperature reduction. Forced-air cooling of boxes with end holes or closable flaps is the most common and effective method for pre-cooling cut flowers. But the vacuum cooling process is that extra special step that few other handlers can offer.

Q: How big is the unit at BOG, and what are the rates for usage?

A: Manufactured by one of the biggest names in vacuum coolers, cold rooms, and ice machines, our advanced ColdMax KMS-4000 system has a processing capacity of 4000 kg/cycle, and is about the size of a two main deck jet pallets. Service rates take into consideration weight, volume, packaging, and other factors, but generally, chargeable weight or gross weight is USD 0.06/kg.

Q: How does vacuum cooling work?

A: Vacuum cooling is based on the fact that water boils at lower temperatures at lower pressures. At about 1/10th atmosphere pressure, water boils at 0°C (32°F). When flowers or plants are placed at these low pressures, the water in their cells “boils,” removing heat. It usually takes only 18-30 minutes to reduce the temperature of multi-leaf products from 35 °C to 2 °C.

Q: Are there other benefits to vacuum cooling?

A: It should be noted that this system also serves as a useful “backstop” for when flowers arrive that either were not properly cooled by growers or have been delayed for any reason along the way to the airport.

They say the weakest link in the flower post-harvest chain can be found at the airport—where the chance of delays is greatest—causing flowers to quickly loose their edge due to temperature mismanagement. But that’s not PFH—we’re your strongest link in the perishables business.

About Prime Fresh Handling

PFH’s global network of offices and bonded and refrigerated storage facilities provides timely and easy access to all of the world’s major markets. With innovative technology, operational proficiency, and friendly customer relations, PFH expertly manages all aspects of the logistics and handling of temperature-sensitive products, from fresh fish, produce, and cut flowers to pharmaceutical products and vaccines.

PFH Bogotá is located at Av El Dorado N. 111-51, TC1 Officina 220, Colombia. Call 57-15185555 or in the U.S. at 1-3055922044. Also visit www.prime-fresh.com.

Growing Presence of E-Commerce Making Holidays Even Happier This Year

The explosive growth of e-commerce accelerated by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic is offering a more than a twinkle of hope for those of us in global supply chain management— especially as we go into the holiday season.

As consumers have grown accustomed to a digital-first shopping mindset, they plan to do more online shopping this holiday season than ever before, and that’s great news for the logistics industry.

To meet this challenge, producers of consumer goods worldwide and their requisite distribution providers are keeping pace, learning to adapt, and growing stronger. This silver lining to the pandemic is also being seen in the global shipment and handling of perishable foods and fresh flowers, Prime Group’s core business.

As we march into the holiday season, new data from PriceSpider on consumer purchasing behavior shows a 113% increase in year-over-year e-commerce sales through the first three quarters of 2020.

Factoring in the recent spikes in COVID-19 infections in tandem with flu season this winter, there will likely be even more stay-at-home orders as consumers continue to avoid brick-and-mortar retail entirely. So, happy holidays, New Year, and beyond…

Frenzy for Food

With grocery e-commerce now ranked among the fastest-growing product categories online, Prime Group companies are committed to providing the highest levels of service for our fresh food customers and forwarders around the world. And it’s not just retail grocery; online sales are also skyrocketing in the food and beverage segment, as they too have successfully adopted alternative methods to meet emerging customer preferences.

In response to the boom, one step we’ve taken is to increase cold storage capacity all across our global network of warehouses and handling facilities. The demand for coolers and freezers was already high prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. But now we are even better positioned to maintain the cold supply chain for our customers shipping temperature-sensitive fruit, vegetables, cheese, and fish.

We are also continually beefing up our technology and introducing new and more efficient systems by which we track and monitor our customers’ precious cargo to ensure fresh, safe, and on-time delivery worldwide.

Forget Me Not

‘Tis also the season for fresh flowers. Despite the major challenges imposed on this industry since the beginning of the pandemic, fresh-cut flower distribution, buttressed by e-commerce sales, is also taking off again. And just in time. With nearly 30 percent of adults in the U.S. purchasing flowers or plants to give to others on Christmas and Hanukkah, many will also click and buy blooms for themselves.

As you’ll recall, early in the pandemic, retailers struggled to keep floral shelves stocked, due to shortages in production and a lack of transport capacity. Since May, however, the industry has gradually gotten back on track. In fact, according to the Produce Marketing Association (PMA), after two months of near identical gains, floral sales gains actually exceeded fresh produce growth by about one percentage point in September.

Here again, the increased prevalence of e-commerce is feeding growth in this key market segment. Although the idea of simply clicking on a button to order fresh flowers is nothing new for this industry, now that consumers are wary of mingling with other shoppers, they appreciate the sterility offered by the flower e-commerce industry.

Life as We Knew It

The pandemic has reshaped life as we know it, and in the process, has accelerated consumer reliance on alternative means of accessing food and merchandise. So buckle up, this e-commerce boom is not going away any time soon.

For 20 years, our customers have depended on Prime Group to smooth out the bumps in the road by identifying ways to swiftly adapt and respond to sudden and sustained changes that affect the cold supply chain.

Just know we’re here with you for the entire ride.

Sizable Benefits of Shipping by Ocean Freight

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

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

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

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

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

Q: Why do customers pick ocean freight?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About Prime Logistics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Chag Sameach” – Happy Holiday!

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

Bi-Coastal Appeal

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

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

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

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

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

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

About Prime Fresh Handling

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

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

Specialized services available at all PFH facilities include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No small task.

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

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

Transport

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

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

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

Storage & Material Handling

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

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

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

Packaging

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

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

Information & Control

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

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

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

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

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

From Tuna Farm to Table, PFH Is in the Loop

When Bluefina USA promises to deliver its high-demand Pacific Bluefin Tuna to the world’s best chefs, they can do so with total confidence. That’s because Prime Fresh Handling is in the loop.

Freshly harvested off the idyllic coast of Ensenada, Mexico, PFH at Los Angeles International Airport recently received hundreds of pounds of prized Bluefin Tuna destined for New York’s Fulton Market and high-end restaurants in Miami.

The company’s certified handlers take their responsibility for monitoring freshness and safety very seriously. Upon arrival at PFH’s refrigerated warehouse facility at LAX, the crew quickly stepped in. The temperature of the packed fresh fish needed to be stabilized in a hurry before making outbound connections on scheduled air carriers.

The crates of precious cargo were immediate ushered into one of PFH’s top-of-the-line coolers. Proper staging of these oceanic superfish for the next phase of their journey entailed stabilizing temperatures between 36-38 degrees. If temperatures were to rise above this threshold, the shelf life and quality of the fish would be significantly compromised.

This specialized but necessary step took extra time. The customer was advised. New connecting flights were booked. Promises were kept.

With real-time technology, top-grade facilities, and the most experienced professionals in the perishables business – Bluefina USA not only knows fish, but also knows Prime Fresh Handling is a good catch.

About Prime Fresh Handling

Since 2001, Prime Group, has served as an ally and trusted advisor for trans-global customers across a wide range of industries. One of four companies in the Group, Prime Fresh Products is charged with expertly managing all aspects of the logistics and handling of perishables and other time/temperature-sensitive products

From fresh fish, produce, and cut flowers to pharmaceutical products and vaccines, Prime Fresh Handling is the authority on reliable, timely, and trustworthy delivery of precious commodities.

In addition to Los Angeles, PFH’s global network offices and refrigerated warehouses are located in Miami, New York, Amsterdam, and Bogotá – providing fast and easy access to all of the world’s major markets.

For information, contact PFH Commercial Manager Cristina Moscoso at 323-328-8650, via email at Cristina.Moscoso@primeair.aero, or visit www.prime-fresh.com.

Fishing Boat

Wherever You Are, Prime Group Is Here for You

As the international turmoil of the pandemic continues, Prime Group remains steadfast in its support of our customers as they respond to the global need for essential commodities and healthcare supplies and equipment.

Nowhere near the end of this storm, and still not knowing what the “New Normal” will bring, for the present we will continue to do what we normally do – provide expert logistics support and services for our customers when they need it, where they need it, and get the job done right.

Our long history of service in the perishables business has prepared us well for this inflection point. We’re nimble, ready, and reliable. After all, when dealing with time- and temperature-sensitive commodities, it is all about precision and preparedness – because at any moment anything can go off track. And it usually does, which is why we’ve learned to always be ready with a plan B, C, and D.

World Service

Deemed an “Essential Business” early on, Prime Group companies were immediately front and center serving government agencies, world health organizations, and other customers integral to the global distribution of personal protection equipment (PPE) and crucial medical material. We’re proud of the part we played then and stand ready to continue to serve in this capacity as COVID-19 persists.

Successful missions to date have included managing numerous charters with PPE from Asia to the U.S. and Latin America. In addition, we continue moving multiple containers of needed material by ocean from Asia to the U.S., where we then transfer it to Latin America by air – always with an eye on cost and efficiency.

We also did 18 charters between Quito and Amsterdam with Emirates SkyCargo using B777-300s PFs (passenger freighters) to support the local growers and the flower industry in general.

And with so many people these days in self-isolation – and in need of better-for-you-snacks to help get them through – we successfully managed a doubling of sales of our Prime Planet Tostones, crafted and exported from Ecuador to retail markets all across the U.S.

New Directions

During this heightened period of activity, we also implemented a new marketing strategy that is effectively getting the word out regarding the wide range of new and existing services available through the Prime Group.

This major effort will allow us to build upon our existing strengths, while also moving us in new directions.

As we consider the ongoing impact of COVID-19, we are monitoring market forces that are shaping the future development of multiple industries and regions across the world. With our global network of offices and expert representation, we are continually finding new opportunities to answer the call for service – and to deliver.

Prime Group is eager to play a crucial role in supporting the major industries that today are facing the biggest logistics challenges – with FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) and healthcare products leading the way. However, we are closely eyeing automotive, energy and utilities, industrial machinery and equipment, and other industries that are expecting new growth in the post-pandemic economy.

Although it may take another 18 months for things to “normalize,” whatever form that may take, the Prime Group will remain vigilant to changing customer needs and to delivering on our commitment to excellence in all we do.

The challenges before us are many. The opportunities are wide open. Wherever you are, we are here for you.

PFH Takes an Organic Approach to West Coast Market Expansion

Precision planning, attention to detail and flawless execution is what it takes to succeed in the perishables business. But sometimes it’s just a matter of being in the right place at the right time.

Such is the case with Prime Fresh Handling’s months-long certification process to work with organic foods in California. Turns out, just as consumer demand is on the rise, PFH at LAX gets the green light to move into this market – with a fresh new seal of approval by the state.

“Our brand was built on expert handling, on-time delivery, and effective quality control of perishables. That’s what Prime Fresh Handling customers demand – and that’s what they get,” says Margarita Duron, PFH Sales Executive.

“But shipping and handling food designated as ‘organic’ requires a heightened degree of care and attention – and regulatory oversight – due to the potential safety issues involved,” she said.

To be allowed to work within this highly regulated segment of California’s fresh food industry, all parties involved, including shippers and handlers like PFH, must be fully compliant with state and federal rules and procedures,” Duron added.

Always looking to expand into untapped segments of the perishables market, PFH recently applied for and received the industry’s foremost certification to handle organics in California – where organic food reigns. With an astounding $2.2 billion in sales (41 percent of the national total), California makes up the biggest slice of the country’s organic food business.

Sign of Approval

After a rigorous inspection of PFH operations and records, the California Department of Food & Agriculture State Organic Program declared in August that PFH meets all the necessary requirements to be a certified handler of organic food.

Signifying this status, PFH may now proudly display the California Certified Organic Farmers certificate (CCOF).

And it’s right on time, because industry reports show that for the first half of 2020, organic fresh produce sales were up 11 percent, despite the general worldwide impact of COVID-19. Similar positive growth is expected into the fall – with organic fruit like grapes, melons, stone fruit, and blueberries leading the way.

“Perhaps the boost in business is because more consumers are cooking at home and trying to eat healthier as they self-isolate, or it’s a facet of the growing number of organic farms that are being certified. Either way it’s a significant target market for PFH to pursue,” said Duron.


Certifications Held by PFH

Prime Fresh Handling has received some of the industry’s most noteworthy certifications, ensuring safe handling of a wide range of perishables, potentially hazardous foods, and time/temperature-sensitive pharmaceuticals:

  • California Certified Organic Farmers Certification: The PFH facility in LAX is approved to handle organic produce by the California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF). Accredited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, CCOF certification signifies that PFH complies with federal regulations on the handling of agricultural commodities labeled and sold as “organic.”
  • PrimusGFS Certification: Signifying that PFH meets the highest standards in food safety, the Primus Global Food Safety Certification applies specifically to qualified companies that operate within the fresh food supply chain, from pre- and to post-farm gate production. With this prestigious certification, PFH is one of the world’s top-rated in the perishables industry.
  • Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points Certification: HACCP approval certifies PFH to handle fresh seafood. HACCP is a systematic preventive approach to food safety from biological, chemical, and physical hazards in production processes that can cause the finished product to be unsafe for consumption.
  • IATA Temperature Controlled Cargo Operations Certification: IATA’s annual certification in Temperature Controlled Cargo Operations ensures Miami Operations staff complies with complex shipping regulations and standards as they relate to the proper transport of pharmaceuticals.

“These certifications demonstrate PFH strives for and achieves the highest standards in safety and product efficacy. Widespread acknowledgment of these accomplishments also serves to open even more doors for us in the worldwide market,” said Duron.

“It’s all about being a world-class provider of high-caliber services in support of the fresh food industry. We want to corner that market, too!”

About PFH

PFH warehouses and refrigerated handling facilities offer wide-ranging services include crating and package, cold storage and inventory services, as well as document processing, and customs clearance.

In addition to LAX, PFH operates facilities in New York and Miami, as well as Bogota, Quito, and Amsterdam – all key gateways for perishable time-temperature sensitive commodities including fruit, vegetables, fresh fish, pharmaceuticals, and cut flowers.

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

 

fruit

PrimeAir’s handling of oversized cargo is a heavy responsibility

When it comes to handling high-value, oversized cargo there is no margin for error. Especially when it’s a large commercial turbine engine – or an entire helicopter.

As Atlas Air’s general sales and service agent (GSSA) in Bogota, PrimeAir’s expert team on the ground knows well that working with such major payloads is no small task. It is a specialized skill that requires years of experience and knowledge of the critical nature of the cargo.

PrimeAir benefits from being part of Miami-based Prime Group Companies, a global logistics conglomerate with 20 years of experience in working with such heavy and oversized items. Ensuring the safe and reliable handling of aerospace equipment is just one of many services they provide as the GSSA for Atlas Air, but it certainly ranks among the highest in importance.

With a price tag for one single engine exceeding $20 million, and $3 million for a new rotorcraft off the line, it is critical that the operation goes perfectly.

Last month, Atlas Air was contracted to transport a 13-ton General Electric LM6000 engine from Los Angeles to Bogota (BOG), where PrimeAir’s crew would offload it. A gas-turbine derivative of the CF6 engine family that’s been the cornerstone of the widebody aircraft business, this particular version is used for marine propulsion of cruise ships and fast ferries… A big engine with big work ahead.

Upon arrival at BOG, the PrimeAir team used a ramp-side crane to delicately move the 26,000 lb. behemoth to a nearby trucking area where a wheeled flatbed trailer took over, by providing final delivery to the customer’s warehouse.

“Special cargo like this needs definitely gets special attention,” said José Luis Vargas, PrimeAir’s Commercial Manager at BOG. In fact, both the engine and the helicopter that was delivered in a separate operation were designated Dangerous Goods (DG). This meant that expert handlers were required at each of the points of origin to carefully inspect the outbound shipments to ensure their acceptance and transport on Atlas Air aircraft.

Point of origin of the helicopter was YQB, the Canadian airport serving Québec City – not far from where Bell manufactured this Bell 407 GXi rotorcraft destined for Colombia.

With a chargeable weight of approximately 10 tons, the seven-seat four-blade helicopter was disassembled for transport and shipped BOG where it was accepted ramp-side by PrimeAir. Once off the Atlas Air freighter, the payload was transported using a normal dolly to a trucking area for the continuation of its journey to the customer.

“Our customers know we’re the go-to experts for big logistics challenges like these. That’s because we’ve been doing specialized heavy-cargo work for decades – and not just for the aerospace industry. We also manage logistics for the transport of oil-industry equipment, construction equipment, and automotive parts and equipment.”

One of the premier carriers in PrimeAir’s portfolio, Atlas Air is not only one of the most important and reliable cargo airlines in the world, it is the company’s longest lasting customer. PrimeAir also offers sales and marketing, cargo services, operations, handling, and accounting.

While PrimeAir has been Atlas Air’s designated agent in BOG for three and a half years, the relationship between the two companies began 20 years ago, in support of Atlas Air’s freighter operations between Quito and Miami, which continues today.

For information, visit www.primeair.aero.