A Time to Share Thanks

By Prime Group CEO Roger Paredes.

Every Thanksgiving, my family goes around the table to share what we’re thankful for, just before digging into the turkey. Even back when we lived in Quito, my American wife would insist on putting on a huge Thanksgiving dinner each year, complete with all the trimmings, in an effort to keep the stateside tradition going for our young daughters.

 

Close friends and family joining us there really enjoyed the chance to experience this unique American holiday, not just because it was like getting an extra early Christmas turkey meal, but because it focuses on the universal theme of thanks and gratitude.

 

And although this year we plan to take our celebration to the beach here in Miami, the warm and wonderful family tradition of sharing gratitude continues. Be it a beach blanket or formal dining table, it’s really all about being together, breaking bread, and acknowledging those who are most important.

 

Thanksgiving is also a time when we take stock of what we’ve accomplished over the past year and give thanks to all the wonderful people in our lives who have been at our side along the way, like our valued customers.

 

So, I want take a moment to personally let you to know how thankful my business partner Omar Zambrano and I are to be associated with you. Thank you for placing your trust in us and giving us a chance to provide you with our services. Your success is our success – and I am pleased that for so many of you, this has been a banner year.

 

And because much of our company’s good fortune is also tied to our dedicated and talented employees, I want to thank them as well, for the work they do to make our company great. You help us provide top-tier services to our clients every day. Without your commitment, creativity, and high standards, we would not be the thriving company we are. I am very grateful for your efforts.

 

I wish you a Thanksgiving filled with abundance and bright moments.

 

PFH is making connections with the right people

“The PMA Fresh Summit is the epitome of where you can come to get the best ideas and make connections with the right people.” That’s how the Produce Marketing Association summed up its huge show a couple weeks ago in Orlando serving the global produce and floral-supply chain business.

 

And that’s exactly what they delivered for Prime Fresh Handling (PFH) who sent a sales team to attend the annual Fresh Summit International Convention & Exposition at the Orange County Convention Center.

 

Says Prime Group CEO Roger Paredes, “The response from potential customers at the show was fantastic. We not only came home with new customer business in hand, but with a number of very solid prospects, as well.”

 

With about 1,200 fresh-produce exhibitors showing their wares, this year’s Fresh Summit paid special attention to new and emerging products and services. So it was a natural that first-timer PFH was in the house, with their Commercial Manager Cristina Moscoso from Los Angeles, PFH’s North American Sales Manager Alex Paredes out of New York, and Prime Group Business Partners Omar Zambrano and Roger Paredes from the Miami headquarters.

 

The PMA Fresh Summit is an industry show for everyone from growers in South America to importers of produce, to conglomerates with household names like Dole – to, of course, firms like Prime Fresh Handling, involved in the transport of perishables.

 

The Prime Group sales team used the show as a steppingstone in expanding the company’s Prime Fresh Handling product and service line, versus a sole focus on the company’s core business, flower transport. “It’s part of our strategy to grow Prime Fresh Handling,” says Paredes.

 

In fact, he says, it is this very shift from flowers to general perishables that is fueling the overall growth of the company.

 

“After 17 years in business, there’s little doubt we’re a familiar face in the transport of fresh flowers – which will certainly continue to be a huge focus for us, “Paredes continued. “But we see great value in aggressively expanding into handling produce such as fruit, vegetables, and fish.”

 

Which is why it was so important to attend the PMA. “We achieved numerous leads, had great discussions, shared ideas for new projects… and to top it off, we came back to Miami to immediately begin providing service to at least two of the new customers we met there,” said Paredes.

 

Prime Fresh Handling benefits by being part of Miami-based Prime Group, a network of coordinated cargo and freight specialists with offices and representatives worldwide.

 

Paredes noted he and his team will continue attending the PMA Fresh Summit and grow their presence at this annual trade show. “There’s a lot of untapped potential there,” he said.

 

PMA offers a unique network of more than 34,000 member contacts from more than 2,800 member companies, based in 53 countries, on six continents. These contacts span all sizes and types of businesses across the supply chain. For information, visit www.pma.com.

 

With offices in Miami, Los Angeles, New York, Amsterdam, Bogota, and Quito, Prime Fresh Handling has decades of experience handling perishables. Its vast network warehouses and handling facilities use leading technology that guarantees consistent and safe delivery of flowers, produce, and fish. PFH also provides cold storage, tracking and tracing, and logistics support including document processing and Customs clearance.

 

PFH is located at the headquarters of Prime Group at 1301 NW 84th Ave., Suite 127, Miami, FL 33126. For information, visit www.prime-fresh.com or call 305-592-2044.

Prime Group sees presence in European market budding – with Amsterdam Station

Here’s what most people know about Amsterdam. It has more canals than Venice, it rains a lot, everyone rides bicycles there, and it’s right in the heart of the flower capital of the world.

 

But those of us in the air cargo logistics and services business know one more thing, that Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is also home to one of the top providers in the industry– Prime Fresh Handling.

 

A total of three PFH employees are now based at Schiphol, the main international airport of the Netherlands. Located nine km outside the city of Amsterdam, AMS is high on the list of the world’s busiest airports by cargo traffic, ranking alongside Chicago O’Hare and London Heathrow.

 

And for Prime Fresh Handling, it is a prime location for growth, opportunity, and successes now and for years to come, as it also serves as a convenient gateway to the rest of the European market.

 

To get a perspective on the AMS operation, we talked with Marco Vink, Prime Fresh Handling’s General Manager based here at Schiphol.

 

Q: Tell us a about your Amsterdam operation?

MV: Prime Fresh Handling is one of the companies that compose the Prime Group. It is dedicated to import and handling of flowers, fruits, and vegetables. We are handling over 26 million kgs here on our six weekly freighters from South America, offering services such as vacuum cooling, transit handling, and export from the Dutch and French growers.

 

Q:With the growing success at AMS office, are you outgrowing your office?

MV: At the moment, we are in the process of moving to a new and larger facility where we can further grow and expand our operation. It’s going to be in a facility just 10 minutes from the airport, with very good infrastructure – and close to all major customers are in the region like Aalsmeer, Westland – all via direct access of the motorway.

 

Q: What is the focus of service at the AMS station?

MV: Our focus is on import and export, handling produce and flowers, and offering our clients an end-to-end solution with Fresh 2 Door service.

 

Q:What is your strategy with the AMS operation?

MV: Specializing in professional and responsive service to the customers, with a single-point-of-contact policy, is the hallmark of our service. We also offer the customer direct service so that they never have to wait for hours to get the attention they need and deserve. It’s a strategic approach that is not only quite appealing  in the marketplace, but is working well for our customers and us.

 

Q:What does the market in The Netherlands and Europe look like?

MV: Markets across Europe have a lot of potential with imports and export of various produce from Peru, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina – and there is a wide range of products for sale on the export markets into Middle East, Far East, and U.S.

 

Q: Who are your biggest customers?

MV: Our biggest customers are the agents who we are flying the products for; and all major fruit, vegetable, and flower importers/exporters in the wholesale markets – as well as the big flowers auctions in Holland, of course.

 

Q: What are the primary products of the region?

MV: The main products we transport by air are flowers, plants, fish, cheese, fruit vegetables, and general cargo.

 

Q: How do you store, ship, and transport product to ensure the best quality?

MV: We are the “go-to professionals” in the business, transporting temperature-controlled products and maintaining a closed cold-chain, as we have the capability to store various products in the right environment and at different temperature settings. All is constantly monitored and measured by qualified, experienced staff.

 

Q:What do you think of the city of Amsterdam? Is Holland your home country?

MV: I was born there in 1971 – a very good year if I may say so myself! Amsterdam is a truly multi-cultural city and has a strong reputation in the world as a lovely town with an amazing flower-bulb market, some cheese farms, and of course the wooden shoes.

 

Q:Are you happy with your assignment in the Prime Group world? And please share a little know fact about Marco Vink that we might find interesting.

MV: I am a father of four children and married to a lovely wife. I started working in the industry in 1992, and accepted various positions in the business of import and export air and ocean logistics of perishable products. I think working for Prime Group gives me a strong motivation to succeed – and hope to have the opportunity to do just that by growing the business, in a nice and stable environment.

 

Q. In addition to the recent Royal FloraHolland Trade Fair Aalsmeer, what other shows are best to attend – in getting the word out about Prime Fresh Handling.

MV: The IFTF show indeed just passed we had a very productive presence, yes. Other shows we are visiting are the Fruit Attraction in Madrid, Fruit logistica in Berlin, the PMA in the USA, Flowers Expo in Moscow, and the Expo Flor in Ecuador.

 

For information, contact General Manager Marco Vink via email at managerams@prime-fresh.com. Also visit www.primeair.aero.

Consumers are finding Prime Planet snacks taste ‘out of this world’

Prime Fresh Products’ line of tropical vegetable snacks is taking off with the introduction of healthy and delicious Prime Planet Parsnip and Cassava Chips.

 

The innovative tropical-packaged food company launched the new product line in September. The new better-for-you chips join the existing – and amazingly popular – Tostones, Maduritos, and Quinoa Cereal presently being produced and distributed by Prime Planet, a division of Prime Fresh Products.

 

Up to this point, the company has primarily been focusing on its flagship product, Prime Planet Tostones, a crunchy green plantain chip that Marcia Tipiana says is the best in the market. Tipiana is Operations Coordinator for Prime Fresh Products, based in Doral, Fla..

 

“We are number one in quality and taste because our Tostones are processed naturally under the highest quality standards, and because they’re a delicious alternative to other typical snack chips in the market,” she says. “Our Tostones are also very popular because they appeal to a growing number of consumers who are nutrition conscious.”

 

With the Tostones serving as an irresistible entree to the healthy-snacking market, Prime Planet is now doubling down by launching chips created from cassava and parsnip, two vegetables that have many health benefits.

 

“We believed we could make parsnip and cassava more appealing to our customers by using the minimum quantity of salt and vegetable oil – and the end result is a unique and new delicious snack option,” said Tipiana.

 

As with the Tostones, vegetable chips are part of growing trend among consumers who want to lead a wellness-oriented lifestyle. Prime Planet products are gluten free, Kosher with no sugars added, and can be part of a balanced healthy diet as well.

 

“Consumers are more health conscious these days, which is why we intentionally market our products as ‘better-for you’ snacks. With such new options in the marketplace, people don’t have to try to snack less, just better – and Prime Planet is well positioned to help meet this emerging demand,” says Tipiana.

 

One of Prime Planet’s core values is something called, “ethical supply sourcing,” where they are very selective in picking their chip ingredients and product suppliers. And with South America being a major plantain producer, at the moment the company is primarily sourcing its product from there.

 

“Our suppliers must follow certain standards such as having a HACPP program (Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points Plan), be Kosher certified, and have other quality controls in place,” said Tipiana.

 

In addition to ensuring top quality, Prime Fresh Products also wants its customers to know they are being truthful every step of the way.

 

For instance, she says they do not label their Tostones as “healthy,” rather, they are described as a better option than traditional snack chips.

 

“Consumers love our honesty and the fact that we do everything we can to make our products as natural as possible. At the same time, our chips taste great, they come in awesome packaging, and they’re looked upon as something different for a change. It’s a win-win for everyone,” she added.

 

So where do consumers find Prime Planet Tropical Vegetable Snacks? Right now, at Publix Supermarkets throughout South Florida. But over the next couple years, Tipiana says the trajectory is for Tostones to be available nationwide.

 

Prime Planet is also getting ready to blast off with a new slogan, “A Natural World of Flavor,” driving home the point that by using simple yet innovative ingredients, snacking can be incorporated in a balanced diet without depriving yourself from the tastiest flavors in our planet.

 

Stay tuned. The Prime Planet journey has only just begun.

 

Operations Coordinator Marcia Tipiana may be reached by calling 786-956-0080 or via opscoordinator@primefreshproducts.com. For general information, visit www.primefreshproducts.com.

PrimeAir set sights on Colombia, one of the hottest markets in South America

When people think of Colombia, what often comes to mind is coffee, cut flowers, and emeralds. Prime Group is working hard at adding its name to this list.

 

And with a continued expansion of the company’s presence here, they’re on track to do just that. The umbrella company and its multiple divisions are fast becoming known as Colombia’s top provider of air cargo logistics and services.

 

While the primary focus of Prime Group services here continues to be in support of air carriers and the shipment of perishables – the company is focused on expanding its presence in the highly lucrative Colombian market.

 

With about 25 employees now based in Bogota, they recently boosted staffing to accommodate a shift in focus from a purely PrimeAir office to a diversified Prime Group operation. They are also focused on best accommodating their new relationship with Emirates SkyCargo, the largest cargo airline worldwide in terms of international freight flown.

 

To get a good perspective on the Bogota operation, we recently spoke with Commercial Manager for Colombia José Luis Vargas.

 

Q: Tell us a about your Bogota operation?

JLV: PrimeAir is one of the companies that comprise the Prime Group, dedicated to representing cargo airlines in South America markets. In September, we celebrated our second year of direct operation here with six frequencies per week between Bogotá and Miami with Atlas Air, one of the most important and reliable cargo airlines in the world. Another important point is that we are listed as the second biggest carrier in the market from Colombia to worldwide destinations, according to IATA statistics.

 

  1. With the growing success of the BOG, are you outgrowing your office?

JLV: Well, yes, we’ve been on the move – but that’s certainly a good problem to have! We started with a small office of 500 ft2. in 2017, and quickly had to move into a new space double the size. But it didn’t end there – this year we expanded to an area of 1,700 ft2 for Administrative, Finance & Sales, and Marketing; and to a separate office of 800 ft2 for operations. All tolled, we house 25 employees at Terminal 1, Office 220, of El Dorado International Airport.

 

Q: What is the focus of service here?

JLV: As I mentioned, we are focus primarily on the PrimeAir services, representing airlines in the local market. But being part of the overall Prime Group allows us to provide our customers with a full range of solutions within the supply chain – not only as a carrier but also as a strategic partner with our own facilities in the U.S., Europe, South America, and our strong partnership with companies all over the world. We are also presently building momentum with several new offerings for which new people are being hired, for instance to man our new Vacuum Cooling service; and for our new service with Emirates Sky Cargo here.

 

  1. What is your strategy with the BOG operation?

JLV: When you start a project in a new market, you need to identify one purpose, and start by offering one specialized service. Once that’s established, you can move on. This is what we have done in Colombia. Such an approach helps us avoid improvisations and mistakes that could come at cost in the future. In Colombia we want to replicate what the Prime Group is doing in other parts of the world, and in a very deliberate way. Now we believe is the time for us to diversify our products in Colombia, which is why the company is making important investments in order to serve the market with better solutions and services. It’s an exciting time.

 

  1. What does the Colombian market look like?

JLV: We are seeing hefty increases in market volume. If you compare this year’s Valentines Day season with last (Jan-Feb 2018 v Jan-Feb 2017), we went from 35.336 tons to 40.238 tons moved during that period, according to Asocolflores official report. This represents an increase of 13.9 percent of the volume transported by air this year. To us, this is a positive sign for the upcoming years. Obviously there are some challenges in the sector that must be sorted out and involves different actors (government, flower association, carriers, freight forwarders), but in general we are very optimistic about the future of the economy and the country.

 

Q: Who are your biggest customers?

JLV: In the Colombian market, global agents such as Kuehne & Nagel and Panalpina have a strong presence and consequently are very important partners of ours in the country. But local agents also play a very big role, companies like Logiztik Alliance, Cargex, Masterfreight International, and Cargomaster among others. In fact, most of them are becoming regional partners due to their presence in other countries of the region.

 

Q: What are the primary products of the region?

JLV: The main products we transport by air are flowers, fruit, and fish – all of which are very sensitive commodities requiring special handling processes – which is exactly what we specialize in. Although these products represent more than 90 percent of our total volume, we also transport other many other items that are, frankly, no less difficult to handle, such as aircraft engines, cars, motorcycles, tools and machines for the oil industry, live animals, and more.

 

Q: How do you store, ship, and transport the products?

JLV: In-country shipments are delivered directly by the farms themselves to the airline facilities at the airport. Here, all shipments must pass through a rigorous security process, where all single boxes are scanned and measured – a process that is professionally and competently supervised. After all, when you talk about air transportation, security is a top priority. Then, all shipments pass into to the cool facilities where they are palletized according to the configuration of the aircraft. One hour before each aircraft arrives in Bogotá, the pallets must be ready and waiting on the ramp. The transit time of the aircraft cannot exceed 1.5 hours, before it is loaded up with the outbound cargo. The aircraft has its own cool system that guarantees that the cool chain will never be interrupted. The dynamism and exigency of this business make all your days different.

 

Q: Tell me about the new agreement with Emirates.

JLV: PrimeAir has a long-time relationship with Emirates. In Ecuador, EK operates four direct flights per week from Quito to Amsterdam, under PrimeAir representation. In that sense, the cooperation between both companies is very well established. Now, Colombia is an interesting market due to its volume of flowers being exported not only to the U.S., which has been the country’s traditional main partner, but also to Europe, the Middle East, Far East, and Oceania – markets that are served by Emirates with its immense network around the world. We are starting a four-day a week operation to Dubai and beyond, via Ft. Lauderdale (FLL) in cooperation with Avianca Airlines as a feeder for the transit from BOG to FLL. This is a great opportunity for the Colombian market to get into Dubai in just one day using the direct AWB of Emirates, which makes the transit times in FLL fast and easy.

 

  1. With the Quito Flower Show season behind us, are there other trade shows that are of equal importance to attend?

JLV: Yes, we always attend the Quito and Bogotá flowers shows, and Air Cargo Americas in Miami. This year we also attended the Amsterdam, Moscow, Guangzhou, and Tokyo flowers shows. And we already have a full agenda for the next year, including perhaps attending the Intermodal show in Sao Paulo in 2019.

 

  1. What do you think of the city of Bogota?

JLV: Bogotá is a main capital known for a wide range of attractive cultural and culinary offerings. With a population of almost nine million people, it is an amazing location to do business, as it is the base hub for most of the country’s biggest and most important companies. Bogota also benefits due to its location in the heart of Cundinamarca, the region where 70 percent of the total production of flowers is generated.

 

  1. Are you happy with your assignment in the Prime Group world?

JLV: Yes, I am quite happy indeed. Let me tell you a quick story: I had been in the sector for seven years, when I left Lufthansa Cargo to join with Prime Group in 2014. This was a new project and, as I mentioned, we started with a very small office. One of the reasons for going with Prime Group was that the company already had an impressive presence and was well recognized in other markets at that time – so in that sense I knew I was joining a serious group. But the main driver was the vision and sense of purpose of the company that made me believe in this project. Now, five years later, I can tell you it was the right decision and I feel very proud and honored to be part of this company and in the role I play.

 

For information, contact Commercial Manager José Luis Vargas via email at joseluis.vargas@primeair.aero or by calling 305-735-3570. Also visit www.primeair.aero.

The Inside Scoop on ‘Thinking Outside the Box’

By Roger Paredes, CEO Prime Group.

One of the most well-worn business clichés is “thinking outside the box.” It seems that everyone is obsessed with thinking outside the box – even those of us in air cargo logistics where we spend most of our time thinking about what’s inside the box!

 

But aside from this playful irony, for a business like Prime Group to become a best-in-class company in today’s competitive environment, we must work hard not just on what we do well today, but also on planning what we might do better tomorrow.

 

This requires thinking and performing outside the box.

 

So what’s this term all about? Thinking outside the box is supposed to mean confronting challenges in atypical ways, thinking creatively and freely, and encouraging frequent challenges to the status quo. Sounds like common sense, but this way of thinking is rarer than you might think in corporate America.

 

Not with the Prime Group family. It is evident to our customers that our people work for a company that encourages non-conformity, in an environment that allows them to continually generate new ideas and innovation. Our employees know that the work they do everyday and the ideas they bring to the table can – and do – have a huge impact.

 

The idea to grow a line of imported snacks here in the U.S. is one such move.

 

On the face of it, for a company focused primarily on air cargo logistic to leap into an enterprise that is totally unrelated to its core business is rather unconventional, to say the least.

 

But not the case. After testing the waters by launching our now-popular line of Prime Planet Tostones, we realized it makes great sense to grow this division of Prime Group.

And lo and behold, our outside-the-box thinking brought us right to the parsnip.

 

Yes, the inimitable parsnip chip is now making its way from select producers in Ecuador, via our well-established transportation and distribution network, all the way to grocer’s shelves in North America. They are tasty, unique, and healthy for a mom to give to their kids. And Prime Planet is right at the head of the pack – by thinking outside the bag, in this instance!

 

Prime Group is growing and succeeding because we have successfully cultivated a culture that empowers and inspires our team to approach problems in new, innovative ways; conceptualizing challenges differently; and understanding customer needs in a way perhaps they’d never thought of before.

 

It is important that our customers know this, that the Prime Group imperative is to think inside the box and outside the box – every day.

PrimeAir roots run deep at Quito Station

Prime Group continues to be recognized as a significant player in the business, with the clearest sign being the continued expansion its largest station operations across its system.

Leading the way is the Quito station, the historic base of operations for the company – where it all started 17 years ago inside one small office.

Today, the primary focus is still PrimeAir’s services in support of airlines and the shipment of perishables – even as Prime Group is engaged in a strategic restructuring of the operation to ensure the Quito’s long-term success.

With about 30 employees now based in Quito, the company recently boosted staffing to accommodate a shift in focus from a purely PrimeAir office to a diversified Prime Group operation, where the entire spectrum of brands are now present under one roof.

To get a better perspective on the Quito operation, we talked with General Manager Elizabeth Suarez. She oversees PrimeAir’s representation of airlines in Ecuador and Colombia, in terms of air cargo services, operations, handling, vendor control, and accounting.

Q. Tell us about PrimeAir’s early days in Quito.

Elizabeth: PrimeAir started as a GSSA, servicing three 747s in 2001 to Miami, and over the years, has focused solely on serving air-carrier shipments of perishables – mostly flowers. We have had different experiences with different companies. But today, I can tell you, we have an important presence in the market because we are working with very reputable companies. We have found the right formula. So now, when someone thinks “Quito,” they instantly think PrimeGroup.

 

Q. Describe the physical office in Quito.

Elizabeth: Originally operating in a tiny office of about 500 square feet, we moved in 2015 into a 1,600 sqft office inside the Mariscal Sucre International Airport. But just this year, our recently expanded Administrative, Finance, Sales and Marketing team moved into a whole new area of 2,500 sqft and moved our operational team into a separate to 1,000 sqft space.

 

Q. In what ways is Quito different than Prime Group’s other station operations?

Elizabeth: UIO and BOG are similar in that we primarily focus on PrimeAir services, while LAX and JFK focus heavily on providing freight forwarding services, warehousing for perishable cargo, and distribution.

 

Q. Describe the makeup of the Quito team.

Elizabeth: We have a very experienced team of people here who are extremely knowledgeable in their respective fields – which is why our company is now known as one of the most respected in the market. The staff includes a general manager, sales director, operations manager, sales executives for each service, flight dispatchers, administrative and accounting agents, and operations and traffic supervisors and agents.

 

Q. What does the expansion mean in terms of efficiencies and accommodations?

Elizabeth: Well, more space is always good for a growing team of professionals. It allows us to be more focused and comfortable in what we do best – provide great service – not only to local cargo agencies but for all our customers.

 

Q. What’s it like with all the services of Prime Group now under one roof?

Elizabeth: Being part of the Prime Group is a challenge because we always have new projects and goals to fulfill, which makes our day-to-day work dynamic, but exciting at the same time

 

Q. What does the Quito market look like?

Elizabeth: It definitely looks challenging! Quito is a very dynamic in which you must have a finger on the pulse of the customer at all times, along with a real knowledge of handling flowers, fruits, and traditional commodities.

 

Q. Are the primary products that come through Quito?

Elizabeth: Actually, both Ecuador and Colombia have always been seen as the main producers and exporters of top quality roses, but over the years, the demand for other fresh and tropical flowers has blossomed, so to speak, as well as fresh fruit.

 

Q. How do you store, ship, and transport your product?

Elizabeth: Two words: cold chain. This is the main reason why our business is so successful. We have are able to maintain the required temperature at all transit points along the way, right up to delivery at the final destination. Coolers are waiting at the time of receipt of cargo, we’ve minimized time on ramp, carefully controlled temperatures in our freighters with latest technology, and again while in transit on the ground to final delivery. We are able to meet the high demands our customers search for.

 

Q. What’s the future of Prime Group in Quito?

Elizabeth: For 2019, it is the company’s desire to expand the portfolio of airlines we work with in order to expand into more markets in South America, Asia, and other U.S. cities and states.

 

Q. Tell us a about your experience working with the company.

Elizabeth: It has been an exceptionally rewarding experience serving with Prime Group. And a big responsibility leading PrimeAir in Ecuador and Colombia – firstly, because of my responsibilities to company leadership; and secondly, due to my commitment to my employees and their families. But of course the most important responsibility has been to meet and exceed the needs of the customer by providing top quality, efficient, professional service.

 

To reach Elizabeth Suarez, send an e-mail to esuarez@primeair.com.ec. The main point of contact for customers is Regional Sales Director José Luis at joseluis.suarez@primeair.aero.

Alex Paredes Appointed North America Sales Manager for Prime Fresh Handling

Reflecting the rapid growth of Prime Group and its multiple divisions worldwide, Alex Paredes has been appointed Sales Manager for Prime Fresh Handling in North America.

This newly formed position will oversee PFH sales at the company’s station operations at New York JFK, Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and Miami International Airport (MIA).

Dedicated to a career in logistics since an early age, Quito-native Paredes graduated from La Salle High School before earning his degree as a Business Administration Technician from German School in 2010.

Alex first served with Transoceanica/Lufthansa Cargo as Booking Agent for three years before being promoted as National Cargo Chief with at Lan Cargo in Ecuador. In 2013, upon introduction of Atlas freighter service between Quito (UIO) and Amsterdam (AMS), Alex joined PrimeAir as Quito Sales Manager. As additional aircraft capacity was introduced at UIO and his responsibilities grew, he was subsequently selected to be an integral part of PrimeAir’s opening of BOG Station.

By 2016, Alex was transferred to JFK where a new challenge awaited him with the expansion of Prime Fresh Handling in the New York market. Here, as Sales Manager of PFH, he oversaw sales operations of this logistics and handling facility focusing on perishables.

With his relocation to JFK, Alex noted, “From a business standpoint, New York, it is truly unbeatable,” due to the fact that it’s the most populated U.S. city per square foot. “You can find always someone trying to sell or buy something here I this amazingly robust market.”

Following the company’s steady growth over the past two years in the New York market, Alex is now ready to take his energy and enthusiasm to a new level. With the recent opening of a PFH operation at LAX, he is now taking over sales management of that facility as well, while focusing on expanding business opportunities in both New York and Los Angeles.

As the North American Sales Manager for PFH, Alex will be responsible for:

  • Identifying opportunities to expand the business through new markets/customers;
  • Analyzing sales, marketing, finance, and other data to gain insights into how to improve company performance;
  • Maintaining a productive relationship with existing clients;
  • Setting and fulfilling company goals and generating analytics.

Based in Miami, Prime Fresh Handling benefits from being part of the Prime Group, a network of coordinated cargo and freight specialists with offices and representatives worldwide. For general information, visit www.primegroup.aero.

Alex Paredes may be reached at the JFK Office by calling 516-837-9777 or via e-mail at salesjfk@primegroup.aero.

Quito Flower Shows are Where Business and Beauty Merge

By Roger Paredes, CEO-Prime Group.                           

This is truly one of my favorite times of year – flower show season in Quito. Not only does it mean I get to travel back to my homeland of Ecuador, but it is also a fantastic opportunity to catch up with old friends and associates in the business, while forging new relationships.

This year is extra special because we get an extra helping of networking. That’s due to the fact that there are two flower shows happening simultaneously, Sept. 19-21. Granted, they are taking place at different venues, but in the same city of Quito – so there is little chance of missing you.

On behalf of my business partner Omar Zambrano and the entire Prime Group team, I invite you to visit us at both shows, Agriflor and Expo Flor Ecuador, each showcasing Ecuador’s cut-flower industry to the international flower buyers community.

You will find us at the two booths Prime Group is hosting at each event, representing our air-cargo partners Atlas Air and Emirates Sky Cargo. The international flower trade exhibitions Expo Flor Ecuador-2018 is at the new Metropolitan Convention Center of Quito; and Agriflor-2018 is at the Centro de Exposiciones of Quito.

These flower trade fairs are the most important annual events for Ecuador – and Prime Group is so pleased to play a part. While the biggest group of exhibitors consists of flower growers from Ecuador, literally hundreds of other industry-related companies will also participate.

Among the people coming in from all over the world are service providers connected to the flower industry, such as freight forwarders and airlines – which is why we have such as big a presence here.

I have been going to flower shows in Ecuador since even before Prime Group’s founding in 2001, so I know such events are an excellent way for us to provide personalized benefits to our customers, strengthen our relationship with them, and increase company visibility.

This year we will be on the floor marketing the services of Prime Group that are directly connected to flowers, especially Prime Fresh Handling.

And that’s why we are planning to have such a big presence here again this year. Joining Prime Group’s executive leadership will be our local staff in Quito plus a number of our people from Bogota, and key members of our sales team.

At the end of the day, the centerpiece of everything is flowers, flowers, flowers – especially Ecuadorean roses, which are the best in the world. No doubt, you will be left in awe by the enormous arrangements that will be on display, as the growers show off their best products, their best colors, and the absolute best quality.

Quito is the a place to be and to be seen this time of year – upon a backdrop of one of the most amazingly beautiful shows in the world. I look forward to seeing you there!

Investing in an Upgrade – and in Prime Group’s Future

They say what often drives someone to make a major move is the notion that the grass is greener on the other side. But sometimes, it doesn’t matter what the color of the grass is – or the flowers, for that matter!

Such is the case leading up to the recent move of Prime Group’s international headquarters in Miami. It just had to be done.

So last month, we pulled up stakes and moved to a new office-warehouse complex just a couple miles away in Doral, Fla., that offers a promising path for continued growth.

Companies commonly cite multiple reasons for moving, but for us, the clear driver was the need to upgrade to a larger space that will facilitate that growth. Business is good, we are expanding services, boosting staff – and simply stated, we outgrew our previous outmoded, undersized facility.

But this action was driven by more than just physical-space limitations. The Miami expansion is part and parcel of an overarching strategy to which company partner Omar Zambrano and I have committed over the past year – to restructure and streamline Prime Group in a way that will ensure its long-term success.

The multiple companies under the Prime Group umbrella presently employ about 40 headquarters staff, assigned to the following functions: Administration, Finance, Operations, Sales, and Marketing.

We now boast more than 4,000 square feet of office space in the new facility, compared with just 2,000 sqft in the previous facility. And the same stands true with our new adjoining warehouse, which is double the size of the former warehouse – now at 20,000 sqft.

We may even find it easier to recruit workers because of the new, more modern and attractive location.

 

Making the Move

Although deciding to move is tough, it’s nothing compared to actually making the move. Psychologists will agree that on a personal level, no move is easy. In fact it ranks as one of life’s toughest transitions whether it’s your home or business. I may actually have grown a few gray hairs in the process.

And it’s not without short-term heartburn, as we had to figure in the cost of business interruption. But this move was expertly planned by our professional staff to be swift and well staged. As a result, we’ll see only a minor dip in business productivity over a period of just a few days. I am certain the investment is well worth it.

In business, you have to look closely at the reasons for moving – which we did. You also have to make sure the chosen spot addresses your needs – which it does.

These smart steps, coupled with a strong willingness and ability to shape our own future, guarantee that the grass truly will be greener at our new location and will prove to be one of the best moves in our company’s history.

We look forward to serving you even better from our new facility and invite you to come by for a visit us at 1301 NW 84th Ave, Suite 127, Doral, Florida 33126.