Prime Fresh Handling Casts a Big Net Over New York

Prime Fresh Handling is casting a bigger net over New York by expanding its perishables business to include the handling of fresh fish – but also by enhancing the customer experience with the rollout of exciting new software.

Since early 2019, when PFH decided to couple its core mission of handling fresh-cut flowers with the import of fresh fish, business has been growing exponentially. And now, a soon-to-be released tracking software is promising to make the company’s service product even more desirable.

“The strategy of introducing fresh fish into our New York service line is definitely paying off,” says Alex Paredes, PFH Sales Manager North America.

“It’s been just four months, but we’re growing at a very fast rate because of course were not only able to take immediate advantage of PFH’s existing cold-chain infrastructure here that supports our established flower business, but our vast know-how in shipping perishables in general. So expanding into fish was the next natural step.”

Not to suggest PFH isn’t facing competition in this enormous metropolitan market. But Paredes says other companies in New York focus predominantly on the trucking service, not on the handling end of the business, as PFH does so well.

“While we do have own dedicated fleet of refrigerated trucks to ship product, our primary focus is expert handling – and of course quality control.”

PFH currently serves most major distribution centers in New York including Fulton Market, and the New Fulton Market in the Bronx, as well as upstate New York and into New Jersey.

Let’s Get Fresh
Although timing is everything in the highly-specialized perishables business, understandably, fish require a lot more care and attention than flowers, for instance.

“Freshness is everything with fish. That’s why our customers demand that their product is recovered within less than three to four hours of landing at the airport, and that we adhere to the strictest standards of quality control all along the way,” says Paredes. “And this is where reliance on real-time technology steps in.”

New Technology
According to Omar Zambrano, Prime Group’s Chief Operations Officer, the new hand-held units they are deploying utilize similar software to what’s already in use to ship of flowers, dry cargo, and perishables.3

Integrally involved in the development and rollout of the new software and scanners, Zambrano says the officially rollout is on schedule for an August release.

The new software will be deployed in Los Angeles as well, where the company is also enjoying a booming presence in the fresh-fish business.

How it works:
• As soon as the precious cargo arrives at the PFH’s JFK warehouse, expert handlers are standing by to begin preparing the fish immediately, in order to meet strict delivery deadlines throughout the New York area and to connect with flights to down-line cities.
• From that moment of arrival, the imperative is to initiate direct, real-time communications with the end-point customers – the wholesale/retail distributors and restaurants.
• Using a mobile scanner, warehouse staff clicks on the pallet, triggering a message to the customer that their fish is here, it’s been offloaded from the aircraft, and it is now in the warehouse.
• As the process of breaking down the pallets begins, temperatures are continually monitored and the customer is now advised that their delicate cargo is being segregating by fish type.
• Because orders are custom-prepared based on customer need, on their end, they sign for what they want it, their order is boxed and iced, and is quickly dispatched for delivery.

All the while, this custom-designed software is also keeping PFH staff on point in order to minimize delays and eliminate human error.

“It is easy and smart – and benefits everyone,” says Zambrano. “The software was designed to be totally user friendly so all they have to do is click, click, and click – and there is nothing more to think about.”

Except, of course, enjoying amazingly fresh and delicious fresh fish.

For details, contact Alex Paredes, PFH Sales Manager-North America, via email at salesjfk@primegroup.aero or call PFH New York at 516-837-9777. For more information, visit www.primegroup.aero.

New York is a ‘Helluva Town’ for Prime Fresh Handling

There’s a well known show-tune line that goes, “New York, New York, a helluva town…” Most everyone on the planet has heard Frank Sinatra sing these words. And anyone who’s been to New York or done work here would agree.

Certainly Alex Paredes does. He’s the Sales Manager coordinating Prime Fresh Handling service in New York, one of the fastest growing and successful station operations in the Prime Group system, just outside John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Having relocated to New York two years ago, Paredes finds the city to be an amazing place for living and for tourism, of course. “But from a business standpoint, it is truly unbeatable,” he says, due to the fact that it’s the most populated U.S. city per square foot.

“You can find always someone trying to sell or buy something here.”

As is most of the company’s management team, Paredes hails from Ecuador. In his short time here, he has discovered New Yorkers to be very friendly, “and there is always something to do – its rhythm of life in this city that catches you.”

 

A Mass Market

Paredes also recognizes that New York is a mass consumer market. “In addition to our most popular shipment here – flowers – it is a huge market for produce, fish, and dairy.”

He says it is especially gratifying to find Ecuadorian flowers in bouquets on sale at local markets and to see huge arrangements of South American flowers displayed at major high-society events in the city, such as the Annual Met Gala, considered the “Oscars of the East Coast.”

 

Humble Beginnings

Prime Group has maintained a New York office for about five years but didn’t start to expand until building up the perishable side of the business in 2016, with the adaptation of the initial cooler at the original warehouse.

Presently located in Inwood, N.Y., about two miles from the airport, the facility is similar in size and scope to the company’s Los Angeles operation. The JFK-based team consists of three office employees, two drivers, three full-time warehouse helpers, and three additional part-time helpers.

According to Prime Group CEO Roger Paredes, no family relation to Alex, Prime Fresh Handling is today seen as a key player in the distribution of flowers in New York to cities all across the U.S., Canada, and Europe.

“With the typical customers of the New York operation being freight forwarders from South America and from across the world, we also work with importers, wholesalers, and retailers of flowers, produce, and fish,” he said.

 

How it Works

Here’s how it works: Upon receiving daily consolidations of flowers, and passing Agriculture Inspection and U.S. Customs clearance, the Prime Fresh Handling team then picks up the shipments from the airport, and transports them to the warehouse facility where PFH sorts and pre-cools the product for its ultimate pick up or delivery to the final consignee.

While the mainstay is the “transfer” of flowers, PFH is now starting to get more heavily involved with fresh produce and fish. Alex also notes there is great business potential in handling dry cargo from the Northeast to most of the countries of South America.

 

A Helluva Town

So is managing the New York presence considered an exciting assignment? Alex says yes, without question. “Of all cities across, working the JFK office is excellent because the company has experienced such steady growth here over the past few years.”

In fact, he adds, they continue to look for other business and growth alternatives – and are finding great success at that endeavor, too.

The team is now venturing beyond its core flower-transport business to participate in a regional and national food shows, such as the recent Summer Fancy Food Show – the largest specialty food industry event in North America that took place in July in New York.

“It was a huge show offering very big opportunities for us – so now we are planning to attend every year.”

 

Into the Future

Never a moment’s rest. Because now the company is in the early stages of scoping out bigger warehouse/office accommodations in the area. According to Roger, “It is getting especially busy on the weekends, and now with product coming in from Mexico for processing in our facility, it seems we’re suddenly outgrowing our skin.”

But these growing pains are the kind that actually feel good,” he adds. “It’s going well up here and we are very happy with the operation.”

Prime Fresh Handling benefits by being part of Miami-based Prime Group, a network of coordinated cargo and freight specialists with offices and representatives worldwide.

 

PFH The New York office of PFH is located at 444 Bayview Ave., Inwood, NY 11096. For information send an via email to salesjfk@primegroup.aero or call 718-213-8593. Also visit www.primegroup.aero.