Doing It All: Our Mission to Serve Clients With Extreme Care for HAZMAT Shipments

Safe, professional, and reliable, shipment of goods via air, sea, or ground is always important – and Prime Logistics has the experience to make that happen for its valued customers. But some cargo, classified by U.S. authorities as “hazardous goods” (HAZMAT) or alternatively, internationally, as “dangerous goods,” requires extreme care and top-of-class expertise at every step of the packaging and shipping process.

Fortunately, Prime Logistics can handle packing and shipping services for multiple types of cargo. When we’re asked to assist a client with a HAZMAT shipment, we work to ensure the safety and protection of our employees, transportation companies, the general public, and the communities we serve.

Complying with Diverse Regulations
Heavily regulated by U.S. and international government agencies as well as industry organizations such as the International Air Transport Association (IATA), global, and domestic HAZMAT shipments have the potential of a higher-than-normal risk to the public and the environment. As a result, strict rules, regulations and legal requirements for these types of goods are imposed by regulators and can vary from country to country.

Fortunately, Prime Logistics knows the ins and outs of these requirements with “boots on the ground” all around the globe – employees who know local requirements, as well as which airlines or ocean cargo operators will carry specific types of HAZMAT cargo, such as perfume, flammable fuels, or even aircraft engines that by their nature contain oils and other components deemed as dangerous goods (DGs). It’s definitely not a cookie-cutter process.

Expertise on the shipping side, whether it’s domestic or international in nature, is critical. For example, HAZMAT goods can include everything from corrosive goods to explosives, gases, flammable and combustible liquids and solids, oxidizer and organic peroxide, poison, explosives radioactive items, and corrosive goods.

Training, Training, and More Training
“Safely and efficiently transporting HAZMAT boils down to specialized training on an annual basis, emphasizes Edgar Campana, general manager, Prime Logistics. “Training, training and more training – Nothing is more critical.”

In fact, Prime Logistics’ multifaceted training program covers all the basic aspects of all services provided to customers. That includes annual HAZMAT training, during which employees learn how to identify and safely package HAZMAT materials for shipment, critical to the company’s full-service mission of moving all types of cargo for clients.

Why proper packaging is s important
Even the most responsible customers who know the complex rules and regulations for HAZMAT may simply never get close enough to their own products on the shipping side to assure that those goods are packaged properly. In turn, Prime Logistics’ priority is to ensure any dangerous goods presented for shipping by customers are packaged correctly with the correct items.

“That way our employees can advise the transportation company if the package or cargo received is ‘good to fly’ or, alternatively, has issues,” says Campana. If there are problems, Prime Logistics can take the appropriate action to rectify those. It also takes great care to assure its own employees should not be put at risk.

Campana stresses that “we as a company have to know how to properly identify such cargo, learn what we need to clean, contain the material right away, and eliminate risk for employees and the environment.” Among the many steps along the shipping journey, employees must follow varied domestic and international rules and regulations for classifying, identifying, packaging, marking, labeling, documenting, placarding and separating HAZMAT cargo.

Striving for Safe, On-Time Deliveries
It’s a reality that some forwarders that specialize in transportation of cargo simply don’t feel comfortable in dealing with HAZMAT shipments. While handling those certainly isn’t Prime Logistics’ prime business goal, they fall within our full-service approach to serving customers.

HAZMAT is just another element in the shipping process, another way to assist clients. Then, “at the end of the day, it falls on us to help make sure the customer’s shipment makes it to the final destination safely, intact and without a delay at Customs that could be caused by improper packaging or other HAZMAT issues,” he emphasizes.

Keeping People Safe
One facet of Prime Logistics’ HAZMAT service for its shipping clients is unwavering – the safety and protection of employees, customers and the public. It’s also a team approach inside the company. Even Campana has taken the annual HAZMAT training “because the best way to know what people are doing is to know what they are doing day to day, and if they need help, I am ready.”

Beyond HAZMAT certification, Prime Logistics’ employees also offer diverse skill sets and other important certifications. Employees are trained to safely operate forklifts, manage perishables, understand good distribution practices and safely handle specialized products such as vaccines that require lower temperatures. Some also take TSA training to assure they understand Customs requirements.

“As a result, our employees have all the tools they need to safely do their jobs and protect customer shipments,” Campana stresses. For example, if cargo comes to Prime Logistics packed in dry ice, the employee knows how to safely work with it and avoid injury, as dry ice is dangerous to touch and can burn eyes.

“It’s all about having all the expertise needed to assist our clients and handle the shipment with the utmost care,” he points out. “From client to client, cargo always comes in differently and goes out differently, whether it’s fluids, a product that needs to be below zero, dry cargo, or perishables.”

The Right Stuff
Making Another point Campana makes? The supplier may believe “all is okay,” but “if the packaging is not up to our specifications for the transfer to airlines, this is where our expertise comes in – to ensure smooth packing and transport so the customer delivery is not delayed.”

In some cases, Prime Logistics may have to open a crate and repack it to meet HAZMAT regulations or other specifications. Since Prime Logistics is certificated in the U.S., it obviously follows U.S. regulations, but Campana say the company’s employees across the globe understand the requirements and nuances of government rules outside the U.S.

Knowing those local regulations – whether in Rio de Janeiro, Amsterdam, Singapore, or elsewhere – is a plus for customers. “Otherwise, the shipment will get stuck at Customs if we aren’t on top of what’s regulated – and know the right way to move the cargo through,” he adds. That could mean a loss of time for the customer, as well as a loss of money due to fines or extra taxes.

So, while often a customer’s prime concern is that Prime Logistics succeeds in getting their product from Point A to Point B on time and in good shape, Campana emphasizes that “we must handle everything in between, whether a normal shipment or HAZMAT goods.” Fortunately, Prime Logistics has both the experience and expertise to accomplish that in a safe, timely and efficient manner” whatever is being shipped.

Prime Logistics First in U.S. to Receive WCA’s ‘Responsible Person for Logistics’ Certification

General Manager Edgar Campana now recognized by World Cargo Association for compliance with ‘Good Distribution of Medicinal Products for Human Use’

Prime Logistics is now recognized by the World Cargo Association (WCAworld) – and its nearly 10,000 members in 194 countries – as the first-ever U.S. based global logistics company to offer the expertise of a fully credentialed Responsible Person for Logistics.

This highly regarded designation, awarded through London-based WCAworld Academy, signifies that General Manger Edgar Campana has a thorough understanding of the vast regulatory requirements for storage and distribution of materials for medicinal products in the pharmaceutical industry – not just in the U.S. but across the entire freight forwarding community worldwide.

“We are extremely proud to be the first logistics firm in the U.S. to receive this certification,” says Prime Group CEO Roger Paredes. “Having a WCA-accredited Responsible Person on staff not only reinforces our commitment to continually expanding our knowledge base through education, innovation, and adaptation, but also reaffirms Prime Group’s position as a trusted leader in the global logistics industry.”

Prime Group’s four enterprises, Prime Logistics, PrimeAir, Prime Planet, and Prime Fresh Handling combined serve a wide range of industries by providing professional sales and marketing services, ground handling and cold storage, market analysis and yield management, and retail food distribution.

Responsible Person (RP) in Logistics course training provides candidates with a thorough understanding of the regulatory requirements for storage and distribution of materials or medicinal products in the pharmaceutical industry. Once certified in “Good Distribution Practice of Medical Products for Human Use,” the provider possesses a practical understanding of the systems and processes required to be implemented worldwide in delivering services in the most safe and efficient manner.

Along with General Manager Edgar Campana’s certification, the company is now entitled to proudly display the distinctive Responsible Person Certified seal.

Says Campana, “This important RP designation ensures that our customers know Prime Logistics is highly qualified, knowledgeable, and compliant with not only the rules and regulations for shipping in the United States, but for multinational clients and companies depending on us to properly prepare, package, and document their cargo so that it can be accepted without delay at airports and ship ports all across the world.”

Such certification comes at a pivotal time for the air cargo industry, in particular, as logistics companies across the globe are maneuvering into position to support the crucial worldwide distribution of COVID-19 vaccine.

“Certainly, this achievement puts Prime Logistics in prime position, competitively,” Campana said, adding that RP certification is not just focused on moving pharmaceuticals like vaccines, but also covers compliance and needed skills in correctly transporting all types of medicines and medical equipment.

“And though it is very rare, if and when called into service, we are now able to handle the shipment of human organs and tissue for transplant, for customers anywhere in the world,” he added.

WCAworld training also covers all the requirements of Good Distribution Practice (GDP) and associated responsibilities to ensure that products are exported and imported within the legal supply chain. This makes an RP the go-to source for the company and its customers regarding specific requirements in the proper transportation, storage, and distribution of medicinal products. The designee’s company also must have a well-designed Quality Management System (QMS) with a focus on compliance and continual improvement.

Under the umbrella of WCAworld, the largest and most powerful network of independent freight forwarders in the world, the WCA Academy offers both online and classroom-based training and education necessary to achieve and maintain the highest industry standard. Its base of 9,540 members may achieve certifications in a range of areas, from general freight training and problem solving to specialist courses in pharmaceuticals, perishables, and obtaining compliance.

This announcement comes on the heels of announcement of Campana and one other member of the Prime Logistics staff, Cristina Moscoso receiving WCA’s Certification for Good Distribution Practices. Additionally, eight members of the company recently received Anti-Bribery & Corruption Certifications, also issued by WCAworld Academy.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

PrimeAir’s handling of oversized cargo is a heavy responsibility

When it comes to handling high-value, oversized cargo there is no margin for error. Especially when it’s a large commercial turbine engine – or an entire helicopter.

As Atlas Air’s general sales and service agent (GSSA) in Bogota, PrimeAir’s expert team on the ground knows well that working with such major payloads is no small task. It is a specialized skill that requires years of experience and knowledge of the critical nature of the cargo.

PrimeAir benefits from being part of Miami-based Prime Group Companies, a global logistics conglomerate with 20 years of experience in working with such heavy and oversized items. Ensuring the safe and reliable handling of aerospace equipment is just one of many services they provide as the GSSA for Atlas Air, but it certainly ranks among the highest in importance.

With a price tag for one single engine exceeding $20 million, and $3 million for a new rotorcraft off the line, it is critical that the operation goes perfectly.

Last month, Atlas Air was contracted to transport a 13-ton General Electric LM6000 engine from Los Angeles to Bogota (BOG), where PrimeAir’s crew would offload it. A gas-turbine derivative of the CF6 engine family that’s been the cornerstone of the widebody aircraft business, this particular version is used for marine propulsion of cruise ships and fast ferries… A big engine with big work ahead.

Upon arrival at BOG, the PrimeAir team used a ramp-side crane to delicately move the 26,000 lb. behemoth to a nearby trucking area where a wheeled flatbed trailer took over, by providing final delivery to the customer’s warehouse.

“Special cargo like this needs definitely gets special attention,” said José Luis Vargas, PrimeAir’s Commercial Manager at BOG. In fact, both the engine and the helicopter that was delivered in a separate operation were designated Dangerous Goods (DG). This meant that expert handlers were required at each of the points of origin to carefully inspect the outbound shipments to ensure their acceptance and transport on Atlas Air aircraft.

Point of origin of the helicopter was YQB, the Canadian airport serving Québec City – not far from where Bell manufactured this Bell 407 GXi rotorcraft destined for Colombia.

With a chargeable weight of approximately 10 tons, the seven-seat four-blade helicopter was disassembled for transport and shipped BOG where it was accepted ramp-side by PrimeAir. Once off the Atlas Air freighter, the payload was transported using a normal dolly to a trucking area for the continuation of its journey to the customer.

“Our customers know we’re the go-to experts for big logistics challenges like these. That’s because we’ve been doing specialized heavy-cargo work for decades – and not just for the aerospace industry. We also manage logistics for the transport of oil-industry equipment, construction equipment, and automotive parts and equipment.”

One of the premier carriers in PrimeAir’s portfolio, Atlas Air is not only one of the most important and reliable cargo airlines in the world, it is the company’s longest lasting customer. PrimeAir also offers sales and marketing, cargo services, operations, handling, and accounting.

While PrimeAir has been Atlas Air’s designated agent in BOG for three and a half years, the relationship between the two companies began 20 years ago, in support of Atlas Air’s freighter operations between Quito and Miami, which continues today.

For information, visit www.primeair.aero.