Wherever You Are, Prime Group Is Here for You

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

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

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

World Service

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

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

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

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

New Directions

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quito Operation Goes With the Flow for International Women’s Day

Although International Women’s Day was founded in the U.S., it has grown in significance in many other countries worldwide – and Prime Group’s operations in Quito continues to play a key role in keeping this annual tradition going strong.

With Ecuador serving as the primary source of flowers for this March 8 holiday each year, the efforts of both PrimeAir and Prime Fresh Handling in Quito and Amsterdam are crucial to advancing the company’s winning strategies at meeting the demand of its valued customers.

The Ecuadorian flower market supplies 72 countries around the world with floriculture products. But when it comes to Women’s Day, Europe is the number one market.

In order to ensure the fresh and timely delivery of fresh-cut flowers by March 8 – the day people recognize the most important women in their lives – the peak period for handling and shipping actually begins Feb. 16.

According to PrimeAir Regional Sales Director Jose Luis Suarez, in terms of logistics support, every year is different – but this year, there were several unique aspects at play.

“It was a good season for us, no doubt. First, there was notable increase in air cargo capacity, meaning more service than normal was available out of Quito. But to this we must add factors that were outside the control of the industry that also affected the market and production of flowers.”

Suarez was primarily referring to last fall’s situation in Ecuador during which plantations were attacked by the protesters who barricade roads across the country in response to government policies to end diesel and gasoline subsidies. As a result, fuel prices to spiked across the country – as did tempers – which in turn prevented the normal development of the market.

“The protests did negatively affect overall production, because it delayed the cutting of the plants for the Valentine’s Day period. But apparently this helped to make production for Women’s Day season more stable,” he added.

Ultimately, PrimeAir was able to move 1.2 million kilos of flowers over the two week peak period, Feb. 16 to March 1. “Meeting this challenge took a lot of hard work, but for us, hard work is regular work – and it’s what prepares us to continually be attentive to providing the high levels of service and reliability that our customers demand.”

And so it goes working in a market as sensitive to outside pressures as the fresh-cut flowers.

About Women’s Day
For more than 100 years, International Women’s Day has been celebrated annually round the world on the 8th of March. A public holiday in many countries, it is a focal point in the movement for women’s rights that started back to 1910, when the day was first observed across America and Europe. Later, in 1946, feminists in Italy chose the mimosa flower as a symbol of strength, sensibility, and sensitivity for Women’s Day.

Today, although the mimosa flower maintains a special significance, it’s not the only flower given. Other flowers popular flowers to gift on International Women’s Day are lilies, alstroemerias, tulips, orchids, and roses.

In fact, flower shops across Russia sell upwards of 150,000 roses on March 8. And while pink, yellow, and white carnations are also hugely popular, light pink flowers are highly preferable in the U.K.

Elsewhere in Europe, such as in Romanian, purchasers want red and white flowers, and Greek purchasers mostly buy white flowers. Pastel colors are most preferable in the Western European countries while those in the Eastern European countries buy mostly vivid colored-flowers.

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.

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!

Who Ya Gonna Call…

When the flag carrier of Ecuador suddenly needed to get their hands on a spare $6 million engine, naturally they called Prime Air & Ocean Cargo.

Tame had a pesky AOG situation on their hands – an Embraer 190 sitting idle on the ramp at their base of operations in Quito. Time is money for airlines – big money. They had to get one to get their General Electric CFM34 engines moved from Miami to Mariscal Sucre International Airport swiftly, safely, and the right way.

There’s no margin for error in this business.

Prime Air & Ocean Cargo has been handling parts shipments for the carrier for years, so everything moved smoothly, of course. But whether it’s a single part or a several thousand-pound jet engine, it’s always urgent.

“Time is of the essence, but they know they can depend on us for shipments big and small,” said Prime Group Omar Zambrano.

As soon as they got the green light, the engine was immediately transported from the supplier to Prime Air & Ocean Cargo’s facility just west of MIA via a special air-ride suspension truck to avoid any impact damage. Here, the Prime Air & Ocean Cargo Operations team made sure it was in good condition and ready to ship out with all the proper haz-mat documentation and labeling in place.

“Airlines are going to have maintenance issues from time to time. It’s the nature of the business,” says Zambrano. “But these matters have to be rectified fast, because the ripple effect caused by an AOG or other delays can be crippling to a carrier’s entire operation.

“Everything is urgent, urgent, urgent, but we love the challenge.”