Emirates SkyCargo is flying high again in Quito offering scheduled freighter service worldwide

After a slowdown in service due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Emirates SkyCargo is once again on course at Quito’s Mariscal Sucre International Airport, with three scheduled weekly frequencies to Amsterdam and Dubai – and plans to add one more.

According to José Luis Suárez, PrimeAir’s South America Regional Sales Director based in Quito (UIO), this come back is welcome news for local shippers, freight forwarders, and his other customers in the region.

Before the pandemic hit, PrimeAir was supporting the operation of four regular flights from UIO to Amsterdam (AMS) and Dubai (DXB), Emirates’ main hub with connections across the entire Emirates SkyCargo network.

As its general sales and service agent (GSSA) in Ecuador, PrimeAir and Emirates SkyCargo (EK) have been working closely together since EK first entered the market in 2013. PrimeAir provides in-country sales, marketing, and accounting for Emirates SkyCargo, in addition to specialized airport services such as warehouse supervision and ULD control.

PANDEMIC RESPONSE

But, according to Suárez, as the coronavirus crisis grew, so did demand for service to transport medical equipment and supplies. In March and April, regularly scheduled service in multiple markets was interrupted – and not just for Emirates SkyCargo. Nearly all cargo carriers worldwide were re-allocating their capacity – and humanitarian commitment – to countries hardest hit by the virus.

Flash forward to August, and only now are service patterns getting back to normal, which Suárez says is very good news for shippers of non-medical material – especially among Ecuador’s vast floriculture industry.

“Even as the impact of the virus was hitting markets hard, there was still a demand for fresh-cut flowers, and product was available. But there were only limited options available to move it.”

UNIQUE SOLUTIONS

To help meet the capacity challenge at UIO, PrimeAir stepped up with unique solutions to support its customers throughout Ecuador – first by successfully arranging interline shipments with AtlasAir to AMS through April.

As available capacity started to come back on line, PrimeAir received its first offering of Emirates SkyCargo service at UIO with Boeing 777ER passenger aircraft, also called PFs (Passenger Freighters). Interline and PF service continued weekly until early June when pure B-777F freighters were reintroduced and added to this mix of service on SkyCargo’s standard routes.

Presently, three freighters flights (B777F) operate weekly, departing UIO on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays with direct flight to AMS.

Looking forward to returning to pre-pandemic levels of service, Suárez is hopeful that by mid-August a fourth frequency departing Fridays will be added.

“It has been a time of ups and downs, but I know that our clients are grateful for the unconditional support of both Emirates SkyCargo and PrimeAir in the Ecuadorian market,” he added. 

“We understand that the investment in bringing empty flights to UIO was high, but the effort was not in vain because our goal is to preserve the long-term relationship with our customers.” PrimeAir also has served as the designated GSSA for Emirates SkyCargo in Colombia, since Summer 2018.

ABOUT EMIRATES

Emirates SkyCargo, the freight division of Emirates, is the largest international airline cargo operator in the world. With an unrivalled route network, the carrier connects cargo customers to 155 cities across six continents and operates in many of the world’s fastest developing markets.

Besides supporting the floriculture sector, Emirates SkyCargo exports other perishables such as mangoes and baby bananas from Ecuador to markets such as Germany, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

Emirates SkyCargo’s modern fleet of extended-range widebody freighters have controlled temperature zones set up inside the aircraft ensuring that perishable shipments travel at the right temperature.

For more on Emirates SkyCargo, visit https://www.skycargo.com/network/air/

ABOUT PRIMEAIR

PrimeAir benefits from being part of Miami-based Prime Group, a network of coordinated logistics specialists with offices and representatives worldwide.

For information, call 305-592-2044, email info@primeair.aero, or visit www.primeair.aero

 

The New Normal Cost of Trade Show Connections

In my 20-plus years in global logistics, I’ve come to learn that success in business is all about human connection. In fact, the Prime Group of Companies has pinned its entire approach to business on this core principal.

 

Consistent, timely, and direct interpersonal communication – it’s how we understand customer needs, and expertly match our services to satisfy those needs.

Every day, across our entire system, we use a broad spectrum of communications options to network and make connections that will attract new business, ensure the best in customer satisfaction, and maintain long-lasting relationships with clients.

But in recent months, one of the most impactful of those efforts has ceased to exist.

The Fallout

The COVID-19 pandemic has imposed sudden changes on our industry, to say the least. Most notably, in the form of an immediate interruption of the global trade-show circuit, a necessary step to ensure public safety and to help stop the spread of the virus.

But the fallout has been the loss of dozens of crucial once-yearly meetings we would be now be conducting with so many of our key customers, prospects, and peers – all under one roof.

Events like the Produce Marketing Association Fresh Summit and Bogota’s Proflora that attract top players in the fresh-food and floral industries. And huge exhibitions like Air Cargo Europe with 65,000 logistics professionals in Munich last year, where we made great strides in moving into untapped markets across Europe and beyond.

With attendance numbers like that, it’s no wonder mass gatherings are totally off the table for the remainder of 2020. Can’t argue with that!

The Show Must Go On

While no one can see into the future with certainty, when these major business conventions and exhibitions make a come back – and they most certainly will – they’ll need to be changed, forever.

Face it, we are social animals, and no advancements in video or telecommunications technology can ever match the effectiveness of direct human connection, and the business it generates.

Of course, there will have to be an entire revamping of the trade-show industry’s delivery of mass meetings. It is imperative that they make these gatherings safe and responsible from a public-health standpoint, so when the time is right, we will be able to immediately and confidently step back into the most impactful means of  human connection.

Necessary Enhancements

Beyond the introduction of lots of sanitizer dispensers on convention floors, major changes at trade-show venues will need to include wellness checkpoints, increased ventilation filtering capacity, greatly expanded presentation spaces and controlled traffic-flow lanes to ensure social distancing – and perhaps even extending the length of shows by an extra day or two, and/or limiting daily attendance.

Such measures will no doubt be pricey. Significantly higher participation fees will need to be imposed to offset the high cost of supplying enhanced safety and security measures. And at first, there will likely be fewer participants than we’re used to. But this will be the new normal price of doing business in the post-coronavirus period.

Communication is what brings people together in our business and paves the way for future success. That will never change – just the means by which we achieve it.

I look forward to connecting with you soon. Until then, please stay well.

Stay informed, think global, act local

Every day, PrimeAir keeps close track of the trends and rapid changes now facing the air logistics services industry. This allows us to analyze, anticipate, and mobilize on behalf of our customers – and to ensure they get the best possible service.

One way we stay on top of our game is by constantly monitoring what’s being reported by the biggest and most reliable sources for trade news worldwide.

So here’s the inside scoop on how you, too, can get fast access to some of the same breaking news and info we rely on – it’s right here on the PrimeAir website

So join us as we kick-start your morning and help prep you for the rest of your workday by visiting our scrolling news ticker. Stick with us and stay in the know.

About PrimeAir

PrimeAir is a Miami-based global service that combines extensive experience with local knowledge to ensure the best in cargo services, operations, handling, and accounting easy and reliable for airlines working across the globe.

Since 2001, PrimeAir has been providing the Generals Sales & Service Agent (GSSA) services to the biggest players in the air cargo industry – like Atlas Air and Emirates SkyCargo, just to name a few.

PrimeAir also benefits from being part of the Prime Group, a network of coordinated cargo and logistics specialists with offices and representatives worldwide.

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

HQ Move Signifies New Place on Global Stage

When the Prime Group moved to its new headquarters complex in 2019, we said goodbye to our former place in the landscape of shipping companies just west of MIA – to land a much more promising position on the map.

In making the move, we made a significant investment in what we want to convey about the vision, business strategy, values, customer service, and the environment where the Prime Group of companies operate.

Granted, our new home office and expanded warehouse component in Doral, Fla., is still within proximity to Miami International Airport – which is of key importance to the historic core of our operation as a worldwide air cargo logistics firm.

But as the Prime Group becomes more widely recognized as a sophisticated global player with diverse services and products, we needed a corporate base of operations that signals we are right-placed for continued growth and expansion of our worldwide brand.

Simply stated, we want our headquarters to represent what the company is going to achieve.

A Big Move

Choosing a new location is an extremely important decision for any business. The workspace needs to capture the essence of your brand personality and identity – the emotional connections that customers have with your business and how its competitors perceive you.

In the global logistics business, with customers scattered across the world, the reality is, the vast majority of our clients may never step foot in our Doral offices.

But for those who do, we want to present them with a space that not only represents us well, but affirms they made the right decision in working with the Prime Group. How they are greeted, what technology they see us using, and where we are located, are all strong indicators of what our business stands for and how successful it is.

Internally, the new office environment communicates to our employees the way we want our business to operate. By choosing this workplace, we have created comfortable and collaborative environment where productivity is key.


None of which is to suggest this shift was easy – it wasn’t. At times, the lengthy process of moving and settling in threatened to disrupt daily operations. Nonetheless, staff remained patient and focused on the task at hand – like the professionals they are. For that I am grateful and thank each and every one of them.

We took the time to do it the right way – after all, that’s what we. So please come by for a visit soon, to see what we mean when we say, “the difference is in the details.”

The Secret to Handling Uncertainty is to Focus on Progress

As a businessman, a father, and a member of the world community, I’m very concerned, as most of us are. I’ve been closely monitoring news of the progression of coronavirus around the globe – and its impact on the markets and the logistics industry, in particular.

Yet all I can be sure of these days is that there are very few things we can be sure of.

In fact, as I share these words, news just popped up that the global death toll has now passed 3,000, with South Korea and China leading the way in confirmed infections.

Apparently they are calling this thing a “novel” coronavirus, because it’s an all-new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. They know for sure it causes a highly infectious respiratory disease called COVID-19. But beyond that, they are unsure how and when it will be brought under control. Meanwhile, we wash our hands, cover our coughs, and limit exposure to crowded areas.

And we stay tuned. That’s what I have been doing, gathering all the information I can from trusted sources of information, such as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization. I encourage you to so the same.

Impact on Logistics
With regard to the health of the logistics industry, we should likewise keep a close eye on what is happening as the world’s second largest economy, in China, continues to spook global markets and dent growth in all sectors of the worldwide economy.

To say the potential impact of coronavirus on the logistics industry is a fluid situation is an understatement, because, as we all know, we are more interconnected today than ever. Asian markets are closely tied to European markets and to North America and South America.

For those who remember SARS in 2003, this situation is far more complex because back then, the economy worldwide was much more siloed. Today it is all interdependent.

Thus far, however, the impact of this epidemic on Prime Group operations has been minimal – but it’s not clear how much worse this outbreak will yet become and how long it will last. Some experts are now saying perhaps through the summer.

Global Impact
I just read a late February study by the American Chamber of Commerce stating that three-quarters of international businesses around the world expect the COVID-19 outbreak to impact 2020 revenue.

The study further states that the outbreak has affected operations “to a great extent” for 43 percent of logistics companies they surveyed in the Asia-Pacific region, with 57 percent of logistics companies saying operations were “somewhat” impacted. In terms of revenues, the report also indicated that the 86 percent of logistics companies are expecting revenue to be down between 1 and 10 percent.

What’s even more disconcerting is that the fear of what could happen is driving the markets. Yes, few things these days are for sure. But there is certainly always hope.

Let’s Focus on Progress
I think it was author and life coach Tony Robbins who once said, “The secret to handling uncertainty is to focus on progress.”

So as I get back to work this morning, I do know one thing: We are in this together. We will get past this together. If we all stay focused on progress, soon it will be business-as-usual again, I’m sure.

Prime Group’s Long Affair With Valentine’s Day

If you’re involved in any sector of the fresh-cut flower business and you’re reading this right now – get back to work!

Although we’re just moving out of the peak Valentine’s Day period, January 25 through February 7, there’s still a lot of work to be done. With International Women’s Day around the corner, the clock is ticking and there’s little time to rest.

But all kidding aside, I’m glad you’re here, because it gives me an opportunity to say thanks to all of our freight forwarders with whom we get to work so closely this time of year, and to our shippers and air carriers who so depend on us.

I’m also grateful for the passion for perfection exhibited by our team of dedicated hard-working employees who continue to do what they do best – especially over the past few weeks.

The monstrously high volumes we are presently handling is nearly unimaginable for the typical consumer. But we’re used to it. We’ve been working with perishables for so long, it’s become second nature to expect nothing less – and to provide nothing short of perfection.

So hats off to the dedicated folks in our two divisions that play such an integral role in preparing, shipping, and delivering such delicate and highly time-sensitive product as fresh-cut flowers – PrimeAir and Prime Fresh Handling. Our customers depend on you and you deliver every day.

This is also the time of year that my business partner Omar Zambrano and I pay homage to the company’s core business of providing top-line logistics support for the flower industry. Since day one, shipping roses and other fresh-cut flowers from South America to the U.S., and now Europe and beyond, has been our main focus.

In fact, flowers are the very reason Prime Group exists today – and continues to succeed. They are the seed that started it all, and that are allowing the company to thrive and strategically expand into other profitable business and product lines.

It’s a busy time. It’s an exciting time. And there’s always time to say thank you.

So thanks! And Happy Valentine’s Day!

Helping to Make Life’s Little Moments the Biggest

It goes without saying that Valentine’s Day is the most romantic day of the year – a time to show that special someone just how much they mean to you. Most often, it comes down to a beautiful little moment on this one special day, perfectly accentuated with a breathtaking bouquet of long-stem roses.

And then it is done. Mission accomplished – for the thousands of people behind the scenes, as well, who have toiled for weeks to ensure this exact moment goes without a hitch. People like the team of professional employees at Prime Fresh Handling and PrimeAir.

For them, however, the biggest moment all year is a 17-day stretch of time, from Jan. 20 to Feb. 7. It’s that small window during which they tap into their years of expertise to expertly manage the myriad logistical complexities in transporting millions of pounds of Valentine’s Day flowers – from source country to the florist, just in time for Feb. 14.

Growing Demand
Valentine’s Day is big business. There’s no question about it. And the role these dedicated workers play is crucial to supporting the every-growing demand for fresh flowers. Valentine’s Day sales for 2020 is expected to reach $27.4 billion in the U.S. alone – an increase of $6.7 billion dollars in sales from 2019.

So how are the numbers stacking up for PrimeAir and Prime Fresh Handling? Business is on a continuous upward swing. In fact, according to Regional Sales Director Jose Luis Suarez, one of the primary indicators is the volume of shipments coming out Bogota – the rose capital of the world and primary supplier of the U.S. Valentine’s Day market. In terms of tonnage, he says the Prime team fully expects to see an increase of 15 percent into Miami.

“On any given week, we operate about six cargo flights per week, but in order to meet the heightened demand, we’ve significantly boosted capacity leading up to Valentine’s Day. Over this peak 17-day period, we’ve been carrying literally triple the volume we normally handle, with about 48 total flights,” he added.

That amounts to three B747s flights per day carrying 100,000 kilos of crated flowers per flight – the equivalent of more than 100 tons!

“And that’s just what we’re handling. Considering that multiple other handlers and carriers are also putting in extra capacity to handle the demand over this same time period,” Suarez added, “that’s a lot of rose petals!

Projections out of Quito are equally impressive. According to the Expoflores, the National Association of Producers and Exporters of Flowers of Ecuador, air shipment of flowers during this same period, Jan. 20 – Feb. 8, were also projected to be up year-over-year, by 6 percent to the U.S.; 9 percent to Europe and Russia; and 20 percent to “other” locations.

On the Horizon
Flowers from Ecuador primarily go to supply Europe demand, with PrimeAir operating two extra flights to Amsterdam for the Valentine’s period and four extra flights in advance of International Women’s Day, coming up in March.

The peak period for Women’s Day is Feb. 16-28. After that, shippers get a break until Mother’s Day, May 12, which means everyone in the industry will be super busy again the last week of April through May 4.

Well in excess of 20 million flowers from Colombia and Ecuador are planned be cut, gathered, and shipped during the 2020 Valentine’s Day/Women’s Day season.

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

Regional Sales Director Jose Luis Suarez may be reached in Quito via email at joseluis.suarez@primeair.aero, via cellphone at (593-9) 9 555-3195, or at (593-2) 281-8055, ext. 1006.

Out With The Old and In With The New

As we join together to celebrate the New Year and the launch of a new decade, allow me to wish you all the best in 2020, and thank you for helping to make 2019 a banner year for the companies of Prime Group Holdings.

Few holidays are celebrated the world over like New Years Day. It’s that one universal moment of bliss and hope where people all across the globe vow to toss aside the old and welcome the new.

It’s also a time when revelers partake in all sorts of traditions, like bolting down a dozen grapes right before midnight, symbolizing great promise in the 12 months ahead.

But mostly it’s about partying, dancing, drinking, and eating, which is also the case in my hometown of Quito. But there’s one big difference, something that no one else in the world does.

For as long as I remember, an essential part of our New Years holiday included celebrating with “Año Viejos effigies. Translated as “Old Years,” it consists of making and displaying artistic paper-Mache dolls – and then setting them on fire at the stroke of midnight!

These Año Viejo dolls typically represent all kinds of figures associated with the past year. Especially popular are cartoon characters, celebrated sports figures, and ridiculed politicians.

Growing up, everyone I knew did this. And it obviously isn’t just about burning brightly colored dolls. It remains a tradition because it signifies the human desire to continually improve, shed past behaviors and actions, and make way for new possibilities. It is essentially our way of joining the world in saying, “Out with the old and in with the new.”

And not to say old is bad. Because looking back and remembering is an important exercise that gives us space to reflect on all the good things that have brought us to this point. And from this point we get to grow, improve, and advance.

That’s precisely what we’re doing at Prime Group. As a company, we are at a point where smart growth and planning is bringing us great success. But I believe we can do even better – and that’s exactly what we plan to do in the year ahead.

Our overarching goal last year was to clear the way for what’s to come, by focusing on re-assessment and planning. Because as you start growing, it is imperative that you get better organized.

How we went about that was by initiating innovative business processes and technologies throughout 2019 to make way for greater efficiencies and new growth in 2020.

One example of this is the anticipated integration of a new system of software across our entire international network, provided through Microsoft Dynamics 365.

It had become nearly impossible – and totally inefficient – to manage with four different accounting systems. We were using one set of business-tracking and accounting software in Ecuador, a totally different set in New York, and another in Miami and in Amsterdam.

So for 2020, we are engaging in a companywide migration to Microsoft Dynamics 365, an all-in-one business management solution that will help us to connect financials, sales, service, and operations to streamline business processes, improve customer interactions, and make better decisions across all Prime Group divisions.

It’s powerful tool that will allow us to better manage our financials, accelerate financial close and reporting, and improve forecast accuracy.

And in the case of our product-focused divisions, it also promises to automate and secure our supply chain by optimizing inventory levels, reducing lost sales and shortages, and maximizing profitability.

Another goal – one that we actually roll out every year – is to continue growing the commercial side of our operation. We will focus on expanding our client base in all divisions: For PrimeAir, add more airlines and new territories; for Prime Logistics (formerly Prime Air & Ocean Cargo ), more importers and new suppliers; for Prime Fresh Products, more supermarket chains and new distributors; and for Prime Fresh Handling, more fish, more produce, and pursue all new lines.

Simply stated, our New Year’s resolution is “new, new, and more new” through constant innovation and adaptation. We will continue building upon our successes, and creating new possibilities and customers in all-new service areas – while maintaining our highest levels of service.

So again, from our Prime Group family to yours, we wish you a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year.