Air Cargo Americas Brings Team PrimeAir Together

Nearly 5,000 business managers and executives from more than 50 countries attended the Air Cargo Americas Exhibition in Miami, Oct. 29-31. Chief among them were the major players of the four divisions of Prime Group who came in from all across its global system.

Held at the Miami Airport & Convention Center, the bi-annual trade show is designed to increase cargo growth and international business in the Western Hemisphere.

The Prime Group team kept busy on the exhibition floor, making new connections and catching up with existing customers. As a result, says Prime Group CEO Roger Paredes, they came away with solid leads on new and future business.

But they also came away with a greater sense of camaraderie for their fellow team members. Using the trade show as a backdrop, Paredes said this was a rare opportunity for all the members of the commercial side of the company to stage an internal management forum of their own. The team managed to get offsite to for a night of fun and dining in Miami’s Wynwood Arts District.

“It gave our Prime Group folks – who hail from as far away as Amsterdam, South America and the Western U.S. – a forum by which they could collaborate face-to-face, rather than always over the phone or via impersonal e-mails.”

Paredes and his business partner Omar Zambrano have been attending Air Cargo Americas consistently for nearly 20 years. In recent years, they are seeing a shift in the show’s focus from airlines to general sales agents (GSAs) and air-cargo industry service providers.

And despite the fact that this exhibition seems to be diminishing in size and importance, particularly when compared with its Air Cargo Europe counterpart in Munich, this Miami event remains a good show to see – and to be seen at.

“It is interesting to witness its evolution, as the industry has seen more and more consolidation over the years,” he said. “Yet Air Cargo Americas will always be an excellent forum to connect with people from Miami who are focused on the GSA side of the business – basically, the PrimeAir side of the business.”

Connecting with people is the core objective in sales, and having a cohesive, well functioning team makes their job easier – and more rewarding.

ABOUT PRIME GROUP
The four separate divisions of Prime Group Holdings are PrimeAir, Prime Fresh Handling, Prime Logistics, and Prime Fresh Products – all dedicated to offering the best international cargo and logistics products and support, from sales and marketing for cargo airlines, to ground handling and cold storage, and market analysis. For general information, visit https://primegroup.aero/ or call 305-592-2044.

Happy Holidays to all, from the Prime Group family

It has been said that feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. With 2019 coming to a close in just a few short weeks, all of us here at Prime Group hope that this holiday season, and the year ahead, hold great things for you and your entire family of friends and loved ones.

The holiday season is a time to spend with the most important people in your life. It is my wish that in the midst of your celebrations, you find a few moments of peace and embrace the spirit of what this time of year is truly about.

There are no hard and fast rules in holiday reflection. The end of one year and the start of another, along with the holiday time off and gatherings, just seems to naturally inspire us to reflect and express gratitude at every turn!

From a business standpoint, the same rings true. ‘This also the season to reflect, be thankful, and eagerly anticipate. Joined by my business partner Omar Zambrano and the entire Prime Group management team, that’s exactly what we’re doing right now. As the year comes to an end, we’re thinking about what was and what will be.

First and foremost, we thank our employees who are the finest group of professionals ever found at one company. They work hard and long – and strive to be better every day. They understand and live our values at work and most likely at home, by espousing “Honesty; Responsibility; Commitment and Integrity.”

We also wish to thank our customers, without whom, everything is irrelevant. We thank them for their loyalty, appreciation, and their receptiveness to our ideas and solutions.

Prime Group had a very good 2019. We grew the business at an astounding rate compared with our peers. And we made tremendous new staff additions and adjustments – all positive moves geared to support our 2019 goal of realigning the business on the commercial side.

In addition, we increased the scope of products and services for our customers, which also allowed us to work with others we previously had not served. In particular, we focused on growing customers in Los Angeles, New York, and Amsterdam, and succeeded in doing so.

We dedicated much of 2019 to the reinforcement of our corporate values, which is what will guide us into the New Year. We know adherence to our values makes us better. They define what we want to be, how we want to act, and how we want to be perceived.

Therefore, for 2020, we pledge to continue to be an organization that provides quality services, that is recognized for its honesty and professionalism, and that has a keen eye on constant innovation and adaptation.

Having just finished our budgeting and forecasts for 2020, I am confident I’ll have more good news to share in the months ahead. The plan is to continue building upon our successes, create new possibilities and customers in all-new service areas, all the while maintaining our historic high levels of service.

So, whatever your plans are for the New Year, Prime Group wishes you the best in reaching your goals, and striving for a brighter future.

Prime Fresh Handling-LAX earns food-safety stamp of approval from Primus

In the world of food safety, there are certain achievements that put you way ahead of the competition – and Prime Fresh Handling just nabbed a big one in Los Angeles.

After months of staff training, program auditing, and perseverance, PFH’s LAX-based facility has successfully attained the highly coveted Primus Certification, issued by PrimusGFS, a Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) that is recognized and respected around the world.

The Primus Certification applies specifically to qualified companies that operate within the fresh food supply chain, from pre- and to post-farm gate production, which is exactly what PFH does.

As a strategic ally for clients around the world, Prime Fresh Handling takes care of all logistics needs – from start to finish – in order to achieve safe and fresh delivery of perishable goods to their final destination.

At Prime Fresh warehouses and handling facilities, 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 products including fresh fish, fruit, and cut flowers.

According to Cristina Moscoso, the commercial manager for PHF-Los Angeles, retailers and other buyers around the world trust Primus Certification as a mark of the highest standards in food safety – allowing top-rated companies like PFH to gain access to all corners of the global market.

We sat down with Cristina recently to get the fresh news about this milestone achievement in Los Angeles.

Q: Why it is important that Prime Fresh Handling holds the Primus Certification?

Cristina: Let me start with a little background first. Primus Certification signifies that PFH maintains the highest in food safety standards. It is important because, as a result, we are objectively validated as a company that meets all procedures – making food safety a priority. It’s also rather significant because it opens even more doors for us in the worldwide market. After all, GFS stands for Global Food Safety!

Q: So Primus is viewed as a critical benchmark for PFH customers, as well?

Cristina: Yes, absolutely. Primus Certification is key for customers who need evidence showing that all the while their product is in our facility, it is being handled and processed under the best possible conditions so that it arrives to the final consumer exactly as expected.

Q: What was the most challenging part of the process?

Cristina: Well, it is not known as highly sought after badge because it’s easy! In fact, we have being working for about a year to meet all the necessary requirements to gain this certification. But what was most challenging is that it was truly an entire-team effort. In order to deliver on what the program requires, everyone at every level truly had to not only commit to understand the purpose and complexities of certification, but to honor the spirit of the program overall. It’s all about being a world-class provider of the highest caliber of quality in the food industry. And we are certainly up to the task.

Q: So, it sounds like it is PFH will benefit greatly with this certification in hand?

Cristina: Primus Certification is essentially a business-driven initiative for the development of food-safety management systems that ensure our facilities are processing safe food for consumers. So yes, in this industry, certification is becoming a must for companies like PFH that are determined to rank among the top-tier providers of food service and handling. Primus Certification also boosts our status and reputation, showing that PFH takes food safety seriously.

Q: Are there other similarly impactful food certifications?

Cristina: PFH also has a HACCP program (Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points) that certifies us to handle fresh seafood in particular. 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. In the near future, however, we aim to get certified “Primus Organics,” which is now the market trend.

In fact, over the last few years, large U.S. retailers and food-service companies have really been pushing for auditing schemes that are universally accepted worldwide. At PFH, we not only strive to keep up-to-date on customer and regulatory requirements, but to exceed them.

Q: Any last thoughts before you get back to work?

Cristina: I just want to mention that I have a lot of gratitude for my entire PFH team. We put in so much work to pass this rigorous inspection and to implement the program. And of course, I wish to thank our Prime Group management team for truly understanding the concept of the Primus Certification process – it really was a significant investment on their part.

ABOUT PFH
Prime Fresh Handling is one of four separate divisions of Prime Group Holdings including PrimeAir, Prime Logistics, and Prime Fresh Products – all dedicated to offering the best international cargo and logistics products and support, from sales and marketing for cargo airlines, to ground handling and cold storage, to market analysis. For general information, visit https://primegroup.aero/ or call 305-592-2044.

PFH is located at 5250 West 102 St., Los Angeles, CA 90045. For information, contact PFH Commercial Manager Cristina Moscoso at 323-328-8650, or send an email to Cristina.Moscoso@primeair.aero. Also visit www.prime-fresh.com.

Prime Group is off the bench and on top of its game

Last month while attending the big flower show in Bogota, Proflora, I got to spend quality time with some industry friends and customers who have worked with Prime Group over the years – people I have known since my business partner Omar Zambrano and I starting this company 20 years ago.

So naturally there was a lot of talk of “back in the day,” mixed in with a bunch of “I remember when” stories.

Reminiscing like this gives us a greater appreciation of just how far we’ve come in the shipping business in the past two decades. It also opens our eyes to the new realities of global logistics — changes that are happening at break-neck speed.

And I truly believe they are changes for the better. I mean, of course, there has since been major consolidation among air carriers and freight forwarders, and a lot of small farms across Ecuador and Colombia have been bought up by big-farm interests.

But I’m mostly referring to the way emerging technologies are now allowing us to build in such significant operational efficiencies, processes that we could never have imagined back in the day.

Ok, before I go any further, I’ve got to just share just one I-remember-when story, about how freight forwarders would come by to see what you’ve got to ship, with a typewriter under one arm and calculator in the other hand. They’d count up all our boxes and kilos, work some numbers, and then hand over an airway bill. I would then pull out my own handy calculator to double check whether they did it all correctly. Sometimes it was right, sometimes it was way wrong. You really had to be on your game.

That part certainly hasn’t changed. We still have to be on top of our game in logistics, but nowadays, we’ve got some amazingly sophisticated new tools that not only boost efficiencies but our competitiveness, too.

Today, it’s all about technology and automation.

Business Intelligence
Take for instance a major new tool that the Prime Group companies just launched. It’s called Power BI, a business analytics service – with the BI standing for Business Intelligence – and it really is a smart way to go.

It’s a platform that provides nontechnical business users with tools for aggregating, analyzing, visualizing and sharing data. The Power BI user interface is really quite intuitive for anyone familiar with Excel, and because it integrates with other Microsoft products, it’s a very versatile self-service tool that requires little upfront training.

With it we are finding insights within our organization’s data, by helping connect a wide range of data sets and then transforming them into easy-to-understand charts and graphs that provide a real-time “story” about what’s going on system wide. Best part is, all of this is being shared with other Power BI users within the organization.
No longer do we spend long hours at month’s end, gathering up our sales, shipping, and performance data, in order to package it in a report that presents stale data on key performance indicators.

Today, we pop out a cell phone, open the Power BI app, and get a real-time snapshot that allows us to answer questions in real-time and help with forecasting to make sure the different departments and division are meeting business metrics. The charts and data visualizations can even examine “what if” scenarios.

Tools like Power BI – and all the advances to come with artificial intelligence are clearly revolutionizing our industry. Only those companies that are able to use the new tech to their advantage will survive, grow, and thrive.

I am happy to report that Prime Group is off the bench and already on the playing field, stepping up our game. With a winning combination of best-in-industry customer service and advanced technology, we’ve got what it takes to win.

I’m glad you’re along with us for this exciting ride into the future.

Prime Group team harvesting business at BOG show

Easily one of the best opportunities to meet the most important people in the floral industry is at the most important flower show in Colombia – Bogota’s Proflora.

As one of the biggest in the world, the show is mostly for flower growers and breeders to show off their wares, but myriad providers of services and products that support the core industry are also represented.

So naturally, Prime Group has been attending for years.

As a veteran of many flower expositions around the world, over and over CEO Roger Paredes says he comes to the same conclusion: “The floral business is as much about the flowers as it is about the people – perhaps even more so.”

For sure, there were hundreds of exhibits and sessions this year highlighting emerging trends and the latest and greatest flower varieties. But Paredes and his sales team, joined by Prime Group’s Chief Operating Officer Omar Zambrano are much too busy to take in any of the “local color,” so to speak. That’s because they are almost solely focused on meeting with new and existing customers.

According to Paredes, it’s all about maintaining and building relationships. “We focus on building new business, but we also taking full advantage of the opportunity to meet with the existing customers of PrimeAir and Prime Fresh Handling in particular, to continually reinforce those important relationships.”

PrimeAir and Prime Fresh Handling (PFH) are the primary divisions of Prime Group Holdings that support the fresh-cut flower business. PrimeAir serves as the general sales and service agent (GSSA) on the ground in Latin America for the biggest players in the air cargo industry – including Atlas Air, and Emirates SkyCargo. These carriers alone transport millions of kilos of flowers out of Bogota and Quito each year.

PFH serves as a strategic ally for its clients by handling the logistics end of the business – from start to finish – in order to achieve safe and fresh delivery of fresh flowers and perishable goods to their final destination. With strategic warehouses and handling facilities around the globe, PFH offers a complete menu of logistics services from cold storage and inventory services, to document processing and customs clearance.

“It was a great show,” Paredes reported. “We arrived with solid sales leads that would allow us to continue developing our portfolio of services, and were able to meet with a handful of new customers that we’d already started working with out of Bogota. At the end of the day, it’s always a good thing to meet clients face-to-face, after interacting for so long via just phone and email.”

Other meetings during the show, scheduled in advance of the event, were set aside for existing customers, he said, to thank them for their business and to check in to see if everything is copacetic.

“What we heard most, thankfully, were expressions of satisfaction with our service,” he added.

Mission accomplished.

For information, visit www.primegroup.aero. To contact Prime Group at its Miami world headquarters call 305-592-2044 or send an email at info@primegroup.aero.

After celebrating 20 years with Prime Group, CFO Juan Galarraga banks on at least 20 more

It is said that long-term employees reflect a stable work environment and a great degree of employee satisfaction.

But for Juan Andres Galarraga, Chief Financial Officer of Prime Group Holdings, it’s not just a matter of being happy on the job, working here has become an extension of his family.

Galarraga celebrated his 20th anniversary Oct. 12, in good company, with Prime Group executives and management, sharing stories of the “good old days.” After all, he was just 20 years old when he joined this promising start-up in a tight little office in Quito focusing on the flower trade.

Right in line after the company’s first two employees, founders Roger Paredes and Omar Zambrano, Galarraga got onboard in October of 1999 for the ride of a lifetime, quite literally. Along the way, through the ups and downs of business, they also became great friends.

Family Affair
“But it goes further with me. Over the years, Roger and Omar not only became close friends, they became like a family. And I am so grateful to be a part of it all.”

As a result, Galarraga carries the title “Employee Number 3” – a designation he proudly touts to this day, and plans to hold onto for at least another 20 years.

“It’s the best of both worlds,” he says. “Amazing work and the reassuring feeling of family.

From his long-time perspective, Galarraga sees how most employees also have a great sense of camaraderie, of being part of something big and exciting – as the company expands across the globe with new services and products.

“Their ongoing passion and commitment to this company, something I have witnessed firsthand in Roger and Omar for years, makes a big impression on the employee group every day,” he added.

For Galarraga’s part, he brings great passion to the job, as well. “Don’t get me wrong, I have total commitment to this company, one that comes from dedication to the field of finance – but mostly it’s out of loyalty to the partners.”

Humble Beginnings
Paredes says he normally would prepare remarks in advance of such an occasion, but because it was more a “family reunion” than a formal affair, he chose to speak directly from the heart.

Reflecting on Galarraga’s humble beginnings, he noted, “We were all just a bunch of very young men… But from the very beginning, through all the good times and tough times, to this very day, we remain grateful for the talent and contributions he brings to our company.”

Starting basically as a messenger, Galarraga signed on during college. And quite soon after, while the ink was still wet on his financial engineering diploma, he moved directly into working full time with their flower-trading venture, all the while taking on more and more responsibilities.

He was there for the launch of PrimeAir, the first of what would become four divisions of the Prime Group. By 2006, Galarraga and his wife transferred from Ecuador to the company’s headquarters in Miami in search of new opportunities, and began a family here.

“With Omar overseeing operations and Roger on the commercial side, my place has always been right in the middle, working directly with both of them, serving as a conduit – and smoothing communications when needed,” he said.

Looking Ahead
“It’s almost too much to fathom, but half of my life has been with this company,” Galarraga shared. “The opportunities they’ve given me are nothing short of amazing. And as the company grows, I also get to grow, both personally and professionally.”

In fact, just last month, Galarraga was appointed CFO for the entire Group, consisting of PrimeAir, Prime Air & Ocean Cargo, Prime Fresh Handling, and Prime Fresh Products.

In his new capacity, Galarraga will not only continue to ensure that all business processes are in place and functioning well, but he will now focus more on the bigger picture – financial strategies that will help Prime Group continue to grow and prosper well into the future.

Says Galarraga, “We work incredibly well together. They trust me entirely and I trust them also. It’s a perfect equation.”

Paredes agrees. “It is so very important to find someone you can totally trust – someone like Juan who fights for us as though it’s his own money. That’s a good thing… Congratulations, Juan!”

Everything’s Bigger – and Crunchier in Texas

They say everything’s bigger in Texas. Now things are getting crunchier, too.

Prime Planet’s new and improved crunchy Tostones have made their debut in the snack aisle of one of the Lone Star State’s most favored specialty supermarkets, Central Market.

“This is really big news for us,” says Business Development Manager Marie Gonzalez of Prime Fresh Products, as the new and improved snack chip continues its journey into mainstream American stores outside the South Florida market.

“Our Tostones are part of a category that has been growing over the past two years as the U.S. market is adopting an appetite for better-for-you snack options,” says Gonzalez. “The current trend is for low sodium, low sugar, and high-quality ingredients – exactly what Prime Planet delivers.”

Tostones are made from hand-picked plantains manually processed and cooked in Ecuador under the highest standards, and then packaged there under the Prime Planet name, a division of Prime Fresh Products (PFP). “Along with being simply irresistible, it’s also important to consumers that these chips are non-GMO, gluten free, and kosher,” she added.

Gonzalez says this move is rooted in a new strategy for Doral-based PFP to expand its existing partnership with KeHE Distributors in order to introduce Prime Planet elsewhere across the U.S. Illinois-based KeHE distributes natural, fresh, specialty, and organic food products to more 30,000 vendor partners and retail grocers across the country.

“We have been working with KeHE since they helped us introduce our product into about 1,000 Publix stores across the Southeast over the past year,” she said, “and so now we’re on mission to grow our distribution – which includes this exciting expansion into Texas.”

With about 25 total stores, Central Market is well recognized in Texas as a specialty market, like Trader Joe’s. Product placement here will allow PFP to focus on delivering a much better product for Central Market customers, while establishing key brand awareness in the Texas community. Central Market is part of H-E-B, a growing family of stores with more than 3,000 points of sale in 150 communities around Texas.

According to Gonzales, “In the snack world, Central Market is known to be very exclusive and not easy to break into. They have high standards for product selection. That’s why everyone wants to distribute their products there – because mainstream American people go there to look for unique new quality products.”

Since PFP launched its a new-and-improved Tostones in April 2019, these delicious green plantain chips not only taste better and come in a better package, they’re easier to find on the grocer’s shelf.

Tostones have long been a staple on Caribbean and South American tables. “But that’s all changing now,” she says.

The stand out quality of Prime Planet Tostones is that they are prepared with palm oil that 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 what they want when purchasing a snack.

Gonzales noted that Prime Planet has also recently made its way into the New York metropolitan market, with a chain called Christmas Tree Shops, a bargain department store like Burlington Stores that now sells food and beverage items in the front-end cashier area. Here shoppers are treated to such fine foods items as gourmet cookies from Switzerland, coconut water from Thailand – and now crunchy delicious Prime Planet chips from Ecuador.

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 Marie Gonzalez at 305-592-2044 or via email at opscoordinator@primefreshproducts.com.

Trade Shows are Excellent Forums for Learning, Networking, and Promoting

Being part of the never-ending trade show circuit comes with flying around the globe multiple times a year, racking up millions of miles, jet lag.

Moscow, Berlin, Singapore … It might sound glamorous, but it’s a lot of hard work. Yet important work, because we understand the value of networking at these shows and conferences. They are a powerful and necessary part of doing business in international logistics.

Face-to-face exposure is essential to ensuring that the key decision makers in our industry continue to have a firm grasp of our products, services, and expertise in “carrying the weight of the world,” if you will.

And sometimes we mean that quite literally, as in our recent success in shipping bodybuilding weights all the way to a Pakistani gym. Now there’s an interesting story to share.

But it goes well beyond just show-and-tell. There’s relationship building, brand exposure, and great leads to be had at these events. So allow me to share with you the nine boxes we like to check in claiming success at an industry trade show or conference:

First and foremost, trade shows provide you with an organized stage to advertise your brand to thousands of vendors, prospective customers, and industry leaders.

Keep an eye on your competitors. Prospering in this increasingly competitive environment requires you to know your competitors’ business practices and sales tactics so that you can stay one step ahead of them.

Display your latest products and services. By showcasing your best selling items, such as our new and improved Tostones, you can grow your base of purchasers and give prospective customers the chance to touch and feel your best sellers.

Meet new and existing clients face to face. Trade shows and conferences provide a welcome forum for you to put faces with the names of the customers who you normally only deal with over the phone or via email.

Generate high quality leads. Because many attendees participate in trade shows for the sole purpose of purchasing products or services, you can enjoy a robust collection of high-quality leads.

Evaluate new products. Trade shows are full of companies exhibiting their latest and most innovative products. So, don’t be afraid to take it all in – and learn from what you see and experience from your competitors on the trade show floor.

Close sales. Key decision makers comprise a sizable portion of trade show attendees. With nearly half of these decision makers placing orders during a trade show, you should come prepared to close sales and process payments.

Discover the latest industry trends. Trade shows provide the perfect forum for mingling with industry leaders, pioneers, and business big and small that are experimenting with new ways to make logistics products and services better.

Learn about changes in industry regulations. Many trade shows and conferences include seminars and training opportunities that are designed to educate participants about key changes in related laws and regulations.

Clearly, trade shows, and conferences are excellent forums for learning, networking, and promoting the Prime Group companies – and perhaps yours, too. Ramping up your trade show participation is one of the most effective means of expanding your business.

I’m glad we had this opportunity to connect!

Prime Air is fit to take on the UFC

With nearly 20 years of training, expertise, and determination, Prime Air & Ocean Cargo has mastered the art of shipping around the world. So it came as no surprise that PAOC was invited to jump into the ring to do some heavy lifting for UFC Gym by shipping fitness equipment to Lahore, Pakistan – more than 8,000 miles away.

Actually, to use the correct vernacular, fights in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) don’t take place inside a ring – they take place within an Octagon, an eight-sided mat and cage. And it gets pretty harrowing in there.

But as UFC has become a worldwide phenomenon, they are also emerging as a big contender in the world of fitness centers. With more than 150 locations in 30 countries, UFC Gym is now bringing the same training programs and benefits that elite Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) athletes experience to the general public. And most recently, to the people of Pakistan.

Because UFC Gyms feature a full-range of fitness classes and specialized trainings, each facility around the world must provide its signature state-of-the-art equipment – along with installation of UFC’s world-famous Octagon. So whether its a UFC Gym in North Miami, United Kingdom, or Pakistan, much of this heavy equipment comes directly from a central shipping point in Virginia, USA.

“Up to this point, working with one our newest freight-forwarders, PAOC has been moving mostly medical equipment and supplies to Pakistan,” says Operations Supervisor Bryan Rivas.

“But this was our first really big shipment we handled for them – and definitely the most interesting.” Rivas is based at Prime Group headquarters, home of four divisions of the Miami-based logistics company, including PAOC.

This major shipment to UFC Gym Pakistan, carefully loaded into a both a 40-foot and 20-foot container, consisted of new exercise machines and related training equipment – and literally tons of body building weights.

“Through one of our designated sea carriers, we expertly coordinated every aspect of this 8,000-mile journey to ensure safe delivery,” said Rivas. With a starting point of Valencia, Va., the agent picked up the containers, coordinated the appointment with the shipper, and then said “bon voyage” at the Port of Virginia in Norfolk. With a transit time of 30 to 45 days, the final destination is Lahore, Pakistan.

Located about 160 miles from Islamabad, Lahore is Pakistan’s second-most populous city, and one of its most wealthy. It is also the country’s most socially liberal cities, and is a major center of education, so residents here are eager to explore UFC’s highly popularized fitness-center alternative.

With an arrival date sometime in mid-October, Rivas is presently tracking the progress of the containers and is following up with the client to convey that everything is ok.

Rivas takes great pride in what he does for his customers. An employee with PAOC since 2012, he says on any given day he guides his clients to do what is best for them – and delivers.

“Depending how urgent their cargo is, if it’s next day or needs two-day delivery, air is the best option,” he says, “On the other had, ocean transport delivers with a longer travel time, and it all depends on the origin location, which port the shipment is coming out of, and its destination. Or if they want to save money, they can consolidate their cargo into an outbound container that we can ship for them.”

He says land transport is also an option, especially in the U.S. or to Canada. “Whether it’s a small packages or a pallet, we arrange everything,” he added.

“It’s always busy, but I like to be busy. And sometimes our work goes into off hours, especially if there’s an unexpected issue with a shipment. But when it comes to helping our global clients, there are really no ‘off-hours’ – and I really don’t mind, because it’s the challenge that keeps me going.”

It is said that UFC champions are the best-trained athletes in the world. To succeed, they must be determined to work daily to master their skills and abilities with supreme stamina. If there is one thing these champs have in common with ops team at PAOC, this is it.

Because Prime Air also works every day to earn its title as one of the best logistics firms in the world. By mastering shipping solutions and clients services with supreme skill and determination, they are emerging as world champions in the highly competitive business of logistics.

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 secure competitive rates and ample space to destinations all around the world. For information, call 305-592-2044 or visit www.primeaircargo.com.

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, our 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.