Prime Logistics Launches Distribution of 60,000 Boxes 
of Girl Scout Cookies at Doral Warehouse Facility

Global logistics firm serves as central warehousing and distribution point for the 2021 Girl Scout Cookie program in Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties

MIAMI, FL- Jan. 11, 2021 – Prime Logistics global headquarters in Doral, Fla., served as the local arrival point for Girl Scout Cookies in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties as they partnered with Girl Scouts of Tropical Florida for the launch of the 2021 cookie season.

“Our 20-year-old company is most often identified with managing heavy duty import-export logistics and highly sensitive pharmaceuticals, but Prime Logistics has many other skills sets as well – some sweeter than others,” says Edgar Campana, general manager-Prime Logistics. He added that the mission included providing careful, safe handling, and warehousing of 60,000 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies including Thin Mints, Samoas, and the entire range of favorites.

Prime Logistics signed a 2020-2021 agreement with the Little Brownie Bakers on behalf of the Girl Scouts of Tropical Florida for warehousing services for the cookies. The nonprofit organization serves approximately 3,500 young girls and adult volunteers in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties. Prime Logistics is one of four companies of Miami-based Prime Group, a global logistics conglomerate founded in 2001.

Over the past few months, Little Brownie Bakers has been transporting thousands of cookie boxes to the Prime Logistics warehouse facility in Doral. Here, staff has been busy carefully accepting and housing the eight different colorful box types.

“We’re so pleased to be a part of this annual Girl Scout Cookie Program, which began in 1917,” Campana emphasizes. “The prime purpose is to help young girls develop marketing and other business skills as well as raise funds for Girl Scout troop operations.”

According to Girl Scout Council organizers, between now and Feb. 15 the girls are selling the cookies in several ways. Many girls this year are operating “virtual cookie booths” using the Girl Scout’s Digital Cookie online platform for iOS or Android devices. Through that platform, the girls are offering cookie customers contactless delivery/drop-off or other options including donating cookies for local hometown heroes, such as first responders and medical workers battling COVID-19 on the front line. Customers can click on the Cookie Finder on the GSTF website.

With parental permission, the girls are also creating social-media posts for cookie selling. Organizers note that other options (varying this year based on government restrictions) may include cookie booths at local stores like Milam’s Markets and Winn Dixie, or, alternatively, a drive-through rally – which is a fun, safe way to distribute the cookie boxes.

The program is aimed at helping to prepare young girls for their future careers. “The common goal with the Girl Scout Cookie Program is to teach these young people in our community how to think like entrepreneurs as they engage in the typical functions of running their own small businesses,” Campana stresses.

“We’re happy to assist in a program that teaches such important business skills as goal setting, money management, business ethics, people skills, and decision making,” he explains. “Who knows? Maybe in the future one of these Girl Scouts will become a valuable member of our Prime Logistics management team.”

“There is nothing our G.I.R.L.s (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ cannot accomplish. Faced with adversity is actually when we shine the brightest,” said Chelsea Wilkerson, CEO of Girl Scouts of Tropical Florida. “Cookie sales are what fuel their goals, and we look forward to a robust season.”

Visit www.girlscoutsfl.org for more information about cookie sales, dates, and specific cookie availability.

About Prime Logistics

Prime Logistics is a division of Prime Group, a Miami-based air cargo and international logistics conglomerate founded in 2001. Prime Logistics has hundreds of contacts and representatives around the globe, who are skilled at providing expert logistics solutions. Many industries are supported in shipping commodities via air and ocean to virtually any destination. For information, call 305-592-2044 or visit www.primelogisticsgroup.com.

About Girl Scouts of Tropical Florida

Girl Scouts is the preeminent leadership development organization for girls. We believe in the power of every G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ to change the world, and our programs offer each one a chance to practice a lifetime of leadership, adventure, and success. Girl Scouts of Tropical Florida was founded in 1923 and currently serves over 3,500 girls in grades K-12 from nearly every residential zip code of Miami-Dade and Monroe counties. To volunteer, reconnect, donate, or join, visit www.girlscoutsfl.org.

PGL Building

A Humble and Happy New Year Greeting

It can be a tough balancing act to spread holiday cheer while at the same time acknowledging that the previous year was so difficult for many of us due to the impact of COVID-19.

But from a purely business standpoint, I would like to celebrate the fact that because Prime Group was so well established before going into the “storm,” we were not only able to survive, but thrive. And that’s a good thing for our many customers and employees around the world who depend on us every day.

It’s also important to note that it’s not just a happy new year, but an exciting new decade of service as well for the Prime Group. This year we reach a major milestone in the company’s history—our 20th anniversary.

Budding Business

It was July 2001 when the company launched out of one small office near Quito’s Mariscal Sucre International Airport. The plan was to provide the utmost in customer service and know-how in transporting fresh flowers from Ecuador to Miami, and business took off.

At that time, we could hardly foresee that within 20 years Prime Group would grow to be a leader in logistics services with a network of facilities, professional staff, and certified agents all around the world. We have since grown and evolved in all sorts of ways and have a host of accomplishments of which we are incredibly proud.

The Prime Difference

At our core, Prime Group has always been about solving the customer’s most difficult problems. When challenges are presented, we flourish because they bring out the very best in us and give us the stage to show others just how good the quality of our services are.

We are extremely thankful to all of our customers—past and present—for whom we have proudly worked side-by-side as we continually endeavor to support their missions. It continues to be an honor and a privilege.

Upon this milestone, I’d also like to express my sincerest gratitude and appreciation to all of our employees. In my mind, the absolute best part of building and growing a company has been the opportunity to attract, recruit, and retain exceptionally skilled individuals that share the mindset of working together as a team to solve difficult problems. You can draw a direct line between their talents, dedication, and hard work, and our success.

Looking Ahead

World renowned for our attention to detail, we recently turned our attention inward by launching new business-management and marketing initiatives—and this strategy is paying great dividends.

We are expanding and energizing our organization from top to bottom by introducing new talent with specific skills. Their enthusing energy combined with our seasoned team of experts in their respective fields has not only further enhanced the customer experience, but has positioned us as stronger and more resilient in facing the biggest challenges of our times.

New possibilities will be realized as we further grow the commercial side of our operation. Aggressive expansion of our customer base across all divisions remains a top priority this year while staying true to our corporate values of Honesty, Responsibility, Commitment, and Integrity. These core standards not only serve to make us better internally, but define how our customers and our peers perceive us.

As you know, this is also a very challenging year as the world is still in the midst of an unprecedented global health crisis. So while it’s not a time for celebration in the true sense of the word, it is still important for us to humbly recognize what the Prime Group of companies have become over the past two decades and to be excited about what is to come as we crest the horizon of the new normal in global logistics.

So again, from our Prime Group family to yours, we wish you a happy and very healthy new year.

Critical Mission: Assuring Vaccines Become Vaccinations

In 2020, the entire world’s priority mission was to stop COVID-19 in its tracks. Sadly, by late December, more than 77 million people had become infected and 1.7 million had died, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

But thankfully, the new year has begun with much hope for brighter days ahead with the launch of both Pfizer’s and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines, as well as the potential for a release of more than 250 additional vaccines across the globe.

Today, the virus-fighting mission has shifted to a new, different, and just as critical priority – “quick, efficient, and safe distribution” of tens of millions of doses of those life-saving vaccines and medical supplies to support the massive immunization of people on every continent on the planet.

At Ground Zero

Global logistics companies such as the Prime Group thus are now at “ground zero” in stopping the spread of the virus, by ensuring vaccines move door-to-door while maintaining their efficacy—from manufacturer to airport to the last mile.

And it’s an astounding task. According to Larry St. Onge, President of Life Sciences & Healthcare for DHL, the need for a stable cold-supply chain for both vaccines and medical suppliers is clearly the key. (Note: PrimeAir serves as the General Handling Agent for DHL Aviation in Ecuador.)

Pointing out that more than 10 billion doses will need to be delivered to all corners of the world within two years, he further estimates the need for 15 million deliveries in cooling boxes, 200,000 movements by pallet shippers, and 15,000 flights across the various supply chain setups.

Closer to home, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) projects that 30 million COVID-19 vaccine doses will be made available for distribution within the U.S. this month and another 50 million doses in February.

Prime Group’s vital role is to provide the best supply-chain transport and logistics possible to ensure vaccine doses intended for recipients across the globe get to the right places in a safe and timely manner. Ultimately, as a global community, the goal is to turn vaccines into vaccinations—and failure is not an option.

Cold Supply Chain

The cold chain is at the forefront of vaccine logistics. The coronavirus vaccines have strict temperature requirements that must be maintained throughout the supply chain. An important part of adhering to the requirements is ample freezer capacity and monitoring systems that ensure product temperatures don’t get too high or too low. These are service lines where Prime Group companies excel.

All across the globe, we are now handling multi-faceted, highly complex logistics and carefully mapping out the transportation of vaccine vial shipments from manufacturing sites to land-based transportation, onto airline and cargo flights, and into temperature-controlled holding facilities. From there, the vaccines await pick-up by delivery services on the local level for distribution to hospitals and clinics.

We know that no mission is more important. For every day that goes by without the maximum number of people being vaccinated, more lives are at risk. We are very grateful that we’re able to utilize our expertise in shipment and handling of cold-pack, perishable goods to help save lives and stop the spread of the coronavirus.

A Global Team Effort

We are also so appreciative of our industry partners, especially the major air cargo carriers whom we directly support such as Atlas Air, Emirates SkyCargo, DHL Aviation, and even Eastern Airlines.

The critical mission is clear. Vaccines cannot work if they don’t get into the hands of the right people—and quickly. We’re very proud to be doing our part.

Woman getting vaccine

Recognizing Prime Group’s Roots in Roses

Like most things in the age of COVID, it’s difficult to predict what will flop and what will fly. But one thing is for sure—fresh-cut roses are soon to start flying off the shelf with Valentine’s Day just weeks away.

Even in a normal year, no one can predict the exact volume needed to meet the demand on this “day of lovers.” But of course, these are not normal times, especially considering that Valentine’s Day 2021 lands on a Sunday of a long weekend (President’s Day) in the middle of a global pandemic.

Add to that, a plan by American florists and distributors to play it even safer this year by expanding the holiday throughout the week to help boost sales in such a volatile environment. Just a few variables at play here, right?

Flexibility has always been the name of the game in the perishables industry, but even more so in the handling of fresh-cut flowers. In fact, they say if you succeed in shipping fresh flowers, you can ship anything, anywhere.

Simply stated, Prime Group has succeeded.

“Flowers were always very important to our company,” says CEO Roger Paredes. In fact, Prime Group was formed in 2001 solely to provide local growers and forwarders in Ecuador with the best in customer service, know-how, and logistical management in getting their flowers to Miami and beyond.

Budding Business

“The expertise we gained in those early days, and have since built upon, allowed us to retain long-term customers, while at the same time generate new business over the year along multiple service lines like pharmaceuticals and fresh fish, fruit and vegetables,” Paredes adds.

Initially, the company supported operations between Quito and Miami only, but the flower exports just kept growing, so the next logical step was to enter the Amsterdam market, the primary gateway to the entire European market and beyond.

“As business continued to grow, we did too, by moving into Los Angeles, New York, and Colombia, pretty much following the flowers all over the world,” says Paredes.

Now, after 20 years of success, the company has in fact expanded its scope to shipping just about “anything, anywhere” in the world, but this time of year it’s back to basics—filling dozens of freighters full of long-stem roses, just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Recent-year sales of roses on Valentine’s Day have risen to nearly $20 billion, with 250 million roses produced for this holiday alone. Though it is not yet clear the degree to which COVID-19 will impact the market this year, it’s all systems go, from the farm to shelf and every specialized step along the way.

So here we are, entering peak season, with two of Prime Group’s key divisions working tirelessly to meet the enormous demand of Valentine’s Day. Prime Fresh Handling is working hand-in-hand to fine-tune the proper shipping and handling process, while PrimeAir is focused on managing the on-the-ground needs of the company’s air cargo partners, as they double, triple, and in some cases quadruple their regular capacity to meet this annual spike in demand.

“The ingrained mentality is you work until you get it done, and that there is zero margin for error. It’s always been this way and always will be,” Paredes notes.

From Field to Vase

The key ingredients for success center around time and temperature. The stopwatch starts ticking with the snip of a stem at the farm, and product must remain perfectly chilled the entire way until it reaches the retail consumer.

Without proper packaging and express shipping, flower life is cut significantly shorter. Appropriate cooling systems and temperature regime are needed to ensure that the flowers remain in good condition. Of course, retailers want to receive fresh-cut flowers as soon as possible after harvest to lengthen vase life, achieve customer satisfaction, and spur repeat sales.

Flowers from farms in Colombia and Ecuador reach North American retailers in as little as four days. So for a rose with an average cut-life of 21 days—with proper care and handling at every stage of its journey—there should be up to 10 to 14 days of vase-life in the consumers’ homes and workplaces.

Once harvested, the supply flow then starts as flowers are placed immediately in refrigerated trucks for transport to Prime Fresh Handling’s facilities where they are prepared for air transport to the center of the U.S. flower distribution system: Miami International Airport. Others head off to Amsterdam for distribution to France, Australia, and the U.K., which also celebrate Valentine’s Day in a big way.

Upon arrival at MIA and AMS, the flower shipments are inspected to ensure the flora is free from harmful pests and diseases. This process can take up to four hours. But after they get a green light, they are released to a local warehouse, where shipments are broken down and shipped off to down-chain international locations or placed on refrigerated trucks for domestic distribution. Retailers are the final link in the journey where the flowers reach the retail shelf and ultimately into the hands of sweethearts.

As the most popular flower in the world, roses are long coveted for their beauty and sweet fragrance, and Valentine’s Day is their biggest day. But for flower producers and shippers/handlers, this holiday is less a day of love, and more a three-week sprint to the finish line.

It’s hard work, and we love it!

Prime Logistics Is Suited up to Support Cold-Chain Distribution of Vaccines

With the addition of a fleet of all new temperature-controlled freezers at its MIA warehouse facility, Prime Logistics is doubling down its readiness to meet the pressing needs of customers serving the pharmaceuticals industry at a pivotal point in history. 

The company initially ramped up its freezer capacity in response to the soaring popularity of e-commerce distribution of frozen foods, as millions of consumers chose online shopping and delivery rather than leaving home. 

But of course, since the earliest days of the pandemic, Prime Logistics knew there would come a day when much more capacity would be needed to service the imminent release and distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine. That day has come.

In late November, as several pharmaceutical companies began releasing their pandemic fighting inoculations, it officially signaled to global shippers and handlers that their crucial role delivering coronavirus vaccines worldwide was now underway. 

Prepared & Ready

“The good news for Prime Logistics and our customers worldwide is that we’re ready,” says Omar Zambrano, the company’s chief operations officer.

“Between the new 400cbm capacity at MIA and the vast freezer space already in place at our consolidated freight stations at LAX and JFK, we are well positioned to safely store, stage, and transit highly-sensitive vaccines and other pharmaceuticals at a time when the world needs us most.”

Prime Logistics had in fact played a significant role in the distribution of vaccines in normal times through its well-established global time- and temperature-sensitive handling and distribution system. 

Says Prime Logistics Sales Manager Yulieth Onofre, “It is also important to point out, as demand heats up for temperature-controlled refrigerator and freezer units, our strategically positioned facilities have the available space to expand as greater capacity is needed.”

This addresses one of the biggest challenges facing the cold chain distribution process in delivering a temperature-sensitive COVID-19 vaccine. The supply of cold storage facilities is woefully outdated, at least in the U.S., so there is greater need for back-up modernized facilities, such as that which Prime Logistics has to offer.

According to a report from Supply Chain Dive, “Demand for cold storage has been on the incline for years as consumers have slowly adapted to shopping for groceries online, but the coronavirus shot that curve up sharply. So, even within a generally hot market, the supply side for highly desirable cold storage facilities is lagging.”

Onofre notes that maintaining supply chain integrity, from the starting point at the manufacturing site to finish, will require all parties to work together. Knowing that no single agency or entity can do this alone, Prime Logistics is aware of the urgency at hand and is ready to step up to do its part.

“This is where we clearly excel,” says Onofre. “With facilities, partners, and qualified agents all around the world, Prime Logistics is particularly experienced in the global management and delivery of temperature-sensitive products anywhere in the world.”

Every party realizes that supporting the global effort at vaccinating everybody in the country and across the world is going to be a phenomenal logistical feat. Knowing this, Onofre adds, “We absolutely have zero margin for failure. We are going to get this right.”

Information & Control 

Getting it right also means maintaining the integrity of the product from source to destination and every point in between. Beyond the challenge of physically transporting the vaccine across America and internationally, there is the additional obstacle of monitoring deliveries for theft.

This sudden burst of activity and demand, as vaccine producers are now ready to ship, will no doubt create openings for providers of transportation and warehouse facilities that may have poor security practices. The rush to market with large quantities of the inoculation will make it difficult for manufacturers to vet all their suppliers.

Not a problem for Prime Logistics, however, with its reputation for being one of the most professional and trustworthy providers on the industry. Its solid reliance on enhanced state-of-the-art inventory tracking and product monitoring technologies not only serves to answer the customer’s most basic questions—where is my shipment and when will it arrive?—but also adds the much needed element of security. 

Charter Operations

One other important service area where Prime Logistics excels is in the delivery of time- and temperature-sensitive products via its air cargo charter division.

Not only does the company enjoy long-time relationships with some of the world’s largest and most reliable air cargo carriers, Prime Logistics also has proven expertise in managing ad-hoc cargo charter operations. This also well-positions Prime Logistics to step up for its many customers in expediting vaccines and other pharmaceutical products when and where they are needed most.

Zambrano says it’s clear there is going to be an unprecedented demand for cargo space, far greater than there was for PPE at the advent of the pandemic. “Just as Prime Logistics pivoted and performed for our customers then, we’re on hot standby to manage charter flight operations as needed for this next round,” he said.

About Prime Logistics

Prime Logistics benefits from being part of the Prime Group, a network of coordinated cargo and freight specialists with offices and representatives worldwide. Based in Miami, the company has 20 years of expertise working with perishables and pharmaceuticals—two very specialized industries that demand intense attention to detail and infallible transportation solutions at a moment’s notice.

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

A Season to Be Grateful During a Year Like No Other

This holiday season is unlike any other, coming at the end of a year like no other. I am inspired to reflect on how fortunate we are to have made it this far, and I am thankful for those who helped us get here.

The COVID-19 pandemic created such unimaginable and unprecedented pressures on worldwide commerce, especially upon those of us that are part of the global supply chain.

Naturally, we were very concerned that the perishables industry, historically Prime Group’s core business, was so hard hit when the pandemic started. Yet when we were called upon in the earliest days of the crisis to support the massive demand for PPE and other medical supplies, it was due to our vast experience in handing time-sensitive products that we were able to respond so quickly—and with great success.

I am so grateful that we had the flexibility and know-how to be able to step up to deliver these life-sustaining materials to people all across the world in their greatest time of need. I am also extremely thankful to the Prime Group employees who made it possible for us to do so—and so proud of every single one of them.

Mission Focused

Not to say we didn’t also focus on ways by which we could support our long-time commitments in South America, because it was crucial that we did that too. Once the worldwide lockdowns and border restrictions were lifted, and the fields in Ecuador and Colombia began producing fresh flowers, fruit, and produce again, reality set in. The word’s cargo capacity at that point was being deployed to distribute essential medical goods only. So our mission here was to find solutions to get our customers’ fresh products out of country and to market.

Suffice to say, our people burned the candle at both ends to address this bottleneck situation. We not only introduced innovative solutions, such as a Sea-Air service to move product, but we also worked closely with our major air carrier partners to bring passenger freighters into the market. I am so grateful for their willingness and ability to step up—so too are the people of Ecuador and Colombia that desperately needed to keep local commerce alive.

Next Steps

Prime Group is made up of professionals who know how to act fast on their feet. Through their creative thinking, innate agility, and commitment to our customers, we were not only able to survive those darkest days, but to reposition the company to go forward.

The next phase of the global fight against the spread of COVID-19 is massive distribution of vaccines, medicines, and related supplies. This will continue well into 2021 and beyond. I am so grateful we made it through the storm and will be able to keep doing our part for the health of the world.

Miles to Go

Though we are moving into a new and better year ahead, my concern for the safety of our customers, our employees, our company—and the world—is still top of mind. After all, we have many hurdles and responsibilities to fulfill before the last chapter of this pandemic closes. Or to paraphrase the immortal words of Robert Frost, we have miles to go before we sleep.

This holiday season, all of us here at Prime Group wish you moments of peace amid the difficulties, connections with family and friends even if they can’t be in person, and the warmth of memories from holidays past.

Stay safe and healthy!

PrimeAir Thinks Global, Acts Local

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

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

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

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

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

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

Committed to Keep Flying

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

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

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

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

Rosy Economy

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

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

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

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

About PrimeAir

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

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

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


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

bogota

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: Why is this process so important?

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

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

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

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

Q: How does vacuum cooling work?

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

Q: Are there other benefits to vacuum cooling?

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

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

About Prime Fresh Handling

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Frenzy for Food

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

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

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

Forget Me Not

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

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

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

Life as We Knew It

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No small task.

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

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

Transport

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

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

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

Storage & Material Handling

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

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

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

Packaging

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

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

Information & Control

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

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

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

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

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