Prime Air is fit to take on the UFC

With nearly 20 years of training, expertise, and determination, Prime Air & Ocean Cargo has mastered the art of shipping around the world. So it came as no surprise that PAOC was invited to jump into the ring to do some heavy lifting for UFC Gym by shipping fitness equipment to Lahore, Pakistan – more than 8,000 miles away.

Actually, to use the correct vernacular, fights in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) don’t take place inside a ring – they take place within an Octagon, an eight-sided mat and cage. And it gets pretty harrowing in there.

But as UFC has become a worldwide phenomenon, they are also emerging as a big contender in the world of fitness centers. With more than 150 locations in 30 countries, UFC Gym is now bringing the same training programs and benefits that elite Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) athletes experience to the general public. And most recently, to the people of Pakistan.

Because UFC Gyms feature a full-range of fitness classes and specialized trainings, each facility around the world must provide its signature state-of-the-art equipment – along with installation of UFC’s world-famous Octagon. So whether its a UFC Gym in North Miami, United Kingdom, or Pakistan, much of this heavy equipment comes directly from a central shipping point in Virginia, USA.

“Up to this point, working with one our newest freight-forwarders, PAOC has been moving mostly medical equipment and supplies to Pakistan,” says Operations Supervisor Bryan Rivas.

“But this was our first really big shipment we handled for them – and definitely the most interesting.” Rivas is based at Prime Group headquarters, home of four divisions of the Miami-based logistics company, including PAOC.

This major shipment to UFC Gym Pakistan, carefully loaded into a both a 40-foot and 20-foot container, consisted of new exercise machines and related training equipment – and literally tons of body building weights.

“Through one of our designated sea carriers, we expertly coordinated every aspect of this 8,000-mile journey to ensure safe delivery,” said Rivas. With a starting point of Valencia, Va., the agent picked up the containers, coordinated the appointment with the shipper, and then said “bon voyage” at the Port of Virginia in Norfolk. With a transit time of 30 to 45 days, the final destination is Lahore, Pakistan.

Located about 160 miles from Islamabad, Lahore is Pakistan’s second-most populous city, and one of its most wealthy. It is also the country’s most socially liberal cities, and is a major center of education, so residents here are eager to explore UFC’s highly popularized fitness-center alternative.

With an arrival date sometime in mid-October, Rivas is presently tracking the progress of the containers and is following up with the client to convey that everything is ok.

Rivas takes great pride in what he does for his customers. An employee with PAOC since 2012, he says on any given day he guides his clients to do what is best for them – and delivers.

“Depending how urgent their cargo is, if it’s next day or needs two-day delivery, air is the best option,” he says, “On the other had, ocean transport delivers with a longer travel time, and it all depends on the origin location, which port the shipment is coming out of, and its destination. Or if they want to save money, they can consolidate their cargo into an outbound container that we can ship for them.”

He says land transport is also an option, especially in the U.S. or to Canada. “Whether it’s a small packages or a pallet, we arrange everything,” he added.

“It’s always busy, but I like to be busy. And sometimes our work goes into off hours, especially if there’s an unexpected issue with a shipment. But when it comes to helping our global clients, there are really no ‘off-hours’ – and I really don’t mind, because it’s the challenge that keeps me going.”

It is said that UFC champions are the best-trained athletes in the world. To succeed, they must be determined to work daily to master their skills and abilities with supreme stamina. If there is one thing these champs have in common with ops team at PAOC, this is it.

Because Prime Air also works every day to earn its title as one of the best logistics firms in the world. By mastering shipping solutions and clients services with supreme skill and determination, they are emerging as world champions in the highly competitive business of logistics.

ABOUT PAOC
Prime Air & Ocean Cargo has a unique ability to streamline, optimize, and expedite freight to and from the U.S. for a wide range of major industries. They work closely with air carriers and ocean carriers to secure competitive rates and ample space to destinations all around the world. For information, call 305-592-2044 or visit www.primeaircargo.com.

The Pros and Cons of Paperless Customs processing

The era of the paper form is coming to an end. While they have not disappeared entirely, there’s been a clear shift over the past few years as more and more businesses and government agencies are opting to go paperless.

And there are many reasons for this – with environmental concerns being a leading motivator, but so is all the time and effort that goes into processing and distribution of paper forms.

In the case of the import and export of cargo and the customs clearing process, however, the primary driver is efficiency. Time is money, and if you can save time, this is good news for everyone. Or is it?

“Sure, with paperless forms, all you need to do is go online, file your information at any hour of the day, and it’s all done,” says Omar Zambrano, chief operating officer of Prime Group Holdings, who also heads up the Prime Air & Ocean Cargo division.

But that’s only if you’ve done it right, he warns. “And thankfully, our customers know we only do it right.”

A leading global trade services company, Prime Air & Ocean Cargo provides complete customs, import, export, and related services for shippers worldwide. Partnering with some of the most seasoned licensed customs brokers and global trade experts in the business, PAOC prides itself on being able to provide prompt and efficient clearance of merchandise.

The pros of going paperless also include a more accurate and precise representation of data, better control of the information, and Customs personal having more time to check documentation.

But what happens if a shipper has a question or coding-entry concern that needs to be addressed onsite. Now, those questions often go unanswered and incorrect data makes its way into their tariff calculations.

The clear disadvantage of a paperless process is the lack of direct contact with Customs officers. Previously, they were widely available to lend assistance on such procedural matters. But that face-to-face advantage is a thing of the past. “Now, you basically have to talk with a machine,” Zambrano quips.

“Not everyone can provide this service and hope to do it correctly every time,” says Zambrano. “Sure, you take a test to show proficiency in entering data in the new paperless system, but one small mistake could end up costing you dearly.”

By transitioning to a paperless, the U.S. Customs is seeing the benefits of more efficient processing, but the new system seriously tests the skills and expertise of the customs brokers and shippers using it.

“We truly have to possess a deep understanding of the complex regulations around Customs Law to successfully navigate through this online process. This is why it is so important to have a seasoned customs broker working with you to ensure smooth delivery of product when it arrives in the U.S. – and to protect against costly mistakes.”

Still at the core of today’s system is the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System, also known as the Harmonized System (HS) of tariff nomenclature, an internationally standardized system of names and numbers used to classify traded products.

Problems arise when data entry errors go undetected for years after paperless forms are completed and submitted to the Customs Inspectors. In the process of auditing your data, and detecting any incorrect tariff codes, the agency will recalculate your taxes to see whether you underpaid – and now you owe.

By inputting just one wrong number and accepting delivery of the goods, shippers could face thousands of dollars in re-taxation years later when the form is ultimately reviewed and readjusted.

That’s because the HS is organized logically by economic activity or component material. For example, animals and animal products are found in one section of the HS, while flowers are found in another. The HS is organized into 21 sections, which are subdivided into 99 chapters. The 99 HS chapters are further subdivided into 1,244 headings and 5,224 subheadings. You could accidentally enter a number that corresponds to the delivery of live pigs when all you wanted was to denote the delivery fresh peonies.

“Customs is a very tricky business, and we have pros who have been at our side for years assisting with the export and import of fresh cut flowers – historically, our core business.” He noted that PAOC is also well versed in providing shipping support and customs clearance for many other perishables and merchandise for several other industries as well, including aerospace, chemical, consumer and retail, constructions, healthcare, and automotive.

“We can do this because we have the knowledge of our network of experts right at our fingertips,” says Omar Zambrano. In fact, in Miami, PAOC works directly with one of the most respected licensed customs-brokers in the entire U.S., with 35 years experience. “And our existing customers know they can count on us because we work with the best.”

At the end of the day, Zambrano says the lesson is, “Go with who you know is a pro.”

ABOUT PAOC
Prime Air & Ocean Cargo prides itself on its use of industry-leading technology and smart, experienced staff to deliver consistent, safe, and efficient delivery of goods for a wide range of customers. Whatever your industry, Prime Air & Ocean Cargo provides integrated and seamless service. They specialize in warehousing, transportation, crating, and packaging — and the all important documentation processing and customs clearing services.

By teaming with Prime Air & Ocean Cargo, customers avoid the need to juggle multiple service providers all over the world. Big or small – whether it’s one box, one pallet or a company-wide logistics management operation – Prime Air & Ocean Cargo does everything – in an easy, organized, and timely fashion.

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

The best way to ‘balance’ yourself

Mahatma Gandhi once said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Turns out, the act of giving to others is also one of the best ways to achieve a life-work balance.

Just ask Igor Vilas Boas, Operations Manager at Prime Air & Ocean Cargo. He and his wife Diana knew they wanted to do something to help their community. What they didn’t know was that their volunteerism would end up being a two-way street.

“Giving is not only good – it feels good too,” he said, soon after joining with a group of friends to pitch in at a local foster home.

“Sure you can go online, buy a toy, and have it delivered to a needy kid,” said Vilas Boas. “But we wanted to do something that would be more lasting – something that would make a bigger impact.”

They ultimately enlisted to volunteer on weekends at His House Children’s Home of North Miami, a frontline provider of residential and foster-care services dedicated to restoring the lives of children in distress.

In the process, they quickly recognized that the mere act of disconnecting after a busy week, to reconnect through charity work, was helping them gain a healthy work-life balance.

“Sure, it feels good to bring a bright moment to a child in need,” said Vilas Boas. “But I found that engaging like this outside of office also helps to keep me balanced.”

Like Vilas Boas, many people chose to volunteer as a way of achieving a work-life balance – by unplugging from a demanding desk job volunteer to plant a community garden, walk dogs for an animal shelter, or help out at a children’s program.

 “For me, it is better to donate your self – not your stuff.” With that said, it is worth noting that in his native tongue, Vilas Boas in Portuguese means, “Good Village.”

“I’d like to think I am doing good work for the greater ‘village’ – our community,” he said.

Vilas Boas came to Miami from Sao Paulo about eight years to work with PAOC, a key division of Prime Group Holdings, an international import-export logistics conglomerate founded based in Doral. Today, in his demanding role in Operations and Customer Service, he ensures that things run smoothly for PAOC’s customers and freight forwarders, from the moment they request a quote, through shipment of their goods, to delivery.

The work-life balance definition sets out to achieve an ideal balance between a person’s working life and private life. It is a concept whereby the maximum happiness of an employee acts as the fuel for productive and fulfilling work.

Turning off distractions and enjoying uninterrupted quality time is one method by which workers relax, rejuvenate, and regenerate, as is meditation, music, and physical activity – anything that allows people to get away from the pressures of their everyday work life.

However, one of the most satisfying means for many people is to engage in volunteer work.

Volunteering offers vital help to people in need, but the benefits can be even greater for the volunteer. Studies show that the act of giving to others can help employees protect their mental and physical health. It can reduce stress, make them mentally stimulated, and provide a sense of purpose.

Best part is, volunteering doesn’t have to involve a long-term commitment. The act of giving, in even simple ways, helps those in need.

So when the spirit strikes, Vilas Boas and his crew head over to the His Home campus on a Saturday or Sunday, and pick out a child to work and play with. On a sunny day, they go outside to toss a ball or play hide-and-seek. On rainy days, they enjoy video games or board games – or just talk.

“If only for an hour, the kids feel good and get a sense of being integrated again into the community,” said Vilas Boas. “Even though they don’t speak about their issues, or their feelings, you can see when someone comes in to play with them they light right up.”

When it comes to volunteering, “Passion and positivity are the only requirements,” headed. Not surprisingly, these are two of the very qualities Vilas Boas brings to his work with the Prime Group.

About His House
His House Children’s Home is a non-profit organization with a 232-bed capacity situated on a beautiful campus at 20000 N.W. 47th Ave., Hector Building No. 2, Miami Gardens, FL 33055. They care for children removed from their homes during turbulent times in their lives, abuse, abandonment, and neglect.

For information call 305-430-0085 or visit www.hhch.org.

About PAOC

Prime Air Ocean Cargo has a unique ability to streamline, optimize, and expedite freight to and from the U.S. for a wide range of major industries. They work closely with air carriers and ocean carriers to sec

ure competitive rates and ample space to destinations all around the world.

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

A view from the window seat

They say, when you’re 18 years old, everything is possible and tomorrow looks friendly.

Like humans, businesses have lifecycles, too. In 2019, as Prime Group celebrates its 18th year in operation, it is moving from what industry experts call the “Growth and Establishment” phase into “Expansion” – an exciting time indeed.

So, in order get a good view of where Prime Group and its four divisions are going in the year ahead, let’s take a look at where they have come from.

Over the past couple years, as Prime Group has continued to take on new customers, it’s been busy managing increasing levels of revenue, staying ahead of the competition, and expanding its workforce.

More recently, Co-Founders Roger Paredes and Omar Zambrano also took a bold step to start establishing real order and cohesion by mobilizing each divisional team according to clearly defined and communicated goals. This was achieved with the help of internationally renowned London Consulting Group.

“We signed on to work closely with the London consultants to enhance operational efficiencies that will ensure Prime Group is able to adapt to changes precipitated by our anticipated growth,” said Roger Paredes.

After months of studying the company inside and out, a broad range of action steps got underway to restructure and streamline operations. Starting in 2018, they ranged from expanding Prime Group’s space in Miami and at stations all across its system, to instituting new internal processes to make the company more agile and efficient.

New Headquarters

In August 2018, the company pulled up stakes and relocated the international headquarters in Doral. The new and significantly larger office-warehouse complex, within close proximity to MIA, offers a promising platform for continued success.

“We now boast more than 4,000 square feet of office space in the new building and doubled the size of our warehouse to 20,000 sqft,” said Zambrano.

 

A Push for PAOC

Multiple initiatives now being realized also include the start of a commercial push for Prime Air & Ocean Cargo, the freight-forwarding side of the business. Based here in Miami, PAOC’s expanded warehouse and storage facility at the new Doral headquarters will not only fuel its progress, but also position PAOC for greater diversification in 2019.

Says Zambrano, “We are looking forward to a very good year. Brazil in particular will become a more significant player in 2019, along with several other principal countries in South America.”

PrimeAir on the Move

Over the past year, PrimeAir saw an enhancement of business relationships with partners that share the company’s goals – particularly Emirates SkyCargo and Atlas Air.

This summer, the division that serves as an integrated General Sales and Services Agent around the world, was appointed as SkyCargo’s new GSSA in the Colombian market, following Emirate’s launch of international cargo service into Bogota. This supplements an existing separate schedule of daily flights in neighboring Quito.

Speaking of Quito, the company boosted staffing in 2018 to accommodate a shift in focus from a purely PrimeAir office to a fully diversified Prime Group operation, offering entire spectrum of brands under one roof.

Similarly, BOG is following suit, so that the parent company’s multiple divisions are on track to become the top provider of air cargo logistics and services in that region, as well.

Prime Fresh Handling

Prime Fresh Handling is handling its operation well. Over past year, there was a continued emphasis on boosting PFH’s services at both LAX and at JFK , two of the newest and most successful station operations in the Prime Group system.

Amsterdam, too, is emerging as a key player for the company. A primary gateway to the entire European market, the new Schiphol operation is today recognized as a prime location for opportunity – and success.

Ready for Prime Time

This is a real success story: Prime Fresh Products, specializing in working in-country to take perishable, shelf-stable products to market in one integrated path, is taking the snack world by storm – in the form of unique new lines of snacks under the Prime Planet name.

After seeing great success with Prime Planet Tostones – and their 2018 foray into big South Florida supermarkets like Publix – the company realized it was a perfect time to grow this division and will continue to do so through 2019.

In concert with the launch of Prime Planet Parsnip Chips and Cassava Chips, PFP is also set to gain greater exposure in 2019 with the recent launch of its new slogan, “A Natural World of Flavor.”

 

Looking Ahead

The next phase in the business lifecycle is “Expansion.” To get there, Prime Group plans to focus on 2019 as a launch pad to propel the company into 2020 and beyond. Paredes says that stabilizing the ship, so to speak, for a smooth journey ahead is what 2019 will be all about.

He also notes that in 2019, Prime Group will continue to enhance the portfolio of airlines they work with in order to expand into more markets in South America, Asia, and other U.S. cities and states. “And there’s some promising surprises in store, too.”

Many entrepreneurs agree, if you are not moving forward, you are moving backwards.

“I agree,” says Paredes, “and with careful planning in 2019 and constant vigilance to the quality of service we provide, Prime Group will be better positioned for success than every before in our history.”

Miami/Doral is home to Prime Air & Ocean Cargo

Tucked in the suburbs just northwest of Miami International Airport, Doral is dubbed the fastest growing big city in Florida and the 11th fastest in the country. This rising young town is also a hotspot for trans-global companies such as Prime Air & Ocean Cargo – a rising division of its Doral-based parent company, Prime Group.

Prime Air & Ocean Cargo (PAOC) has extensive experience and knowledge in getting cargo from point A to B, matching the transportation needs of major industries all over the globe with creative, smart logistics solutions.

And for this long-standing company, Miami/Doral serves as a prime location for growth, opportunity, and successes – now and for years to come.

To get a better perspective on the Miami operation, we caught up with Omar Zambrano, co-founder of Prime Group, who oversees the day-to-day management PAOC.

 

Q:With the continued success of the MIA operation, tell us about your recent move to an all-new facility in Doral.

OZ: After outgrowing our previous home, we moved the company’s operation this summer into an all-new facility of 20,000 sqft, just three miles from the MIA cargo zone. It’s still within the city limits of Doral, because this area serves our needs so well – and the needs of our customers. Here we have 500 positions on rack, which is the right way to keep the cargo in good condition. Also, we now have parking space that accommodates 53-foot trailers.

The much-needed move, actually included relocation of the entire Prime Group portfolio of companies: PAOC, PrimeAir, Prime Fresh Handling, and Prime Fresh Products.

 

Q:What is your strategy with the MIA operation?

OZ: Our strategy for success lies within our team of people. PAOC has been in the enviable position of attracting and retaining extremely qualified professionals with skills and expertise spanning the entire logistics spectrum. PAOC employees are trained to handle general cargo, hazardous material, perishable cargo, and over-size cargo – via air and ocean shipment. In addition, our entire staff is bilingual in English and Spanish.

It’s also important to note, we are always ready to help our customers with any problems, challenges, or questions they may have. It simply doesn’t matter if it’s late at night or over the weekend. Our clients absolutely love our dedication to service – that’s why we have a very high level of customer retention. And in the few instances a customer leaves us for a competitor, it’s just a matter of time until they make their way back to PAOC.

 

Q:How is the market performing for the company?

OZ: PAOC is very well known in the international market. On a weekly basis, for instance, we move more than 50 tons from China in transit to South America. We we keep just keep growing, year after year – and 2018 was certainly no exception.

 

Q: Where are your biggest customers based?

OZ: The majority of PAOC’s customers are out of Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia, Chile, Argentina, Holland, and Italy.

 

Q: What are the primary products PAOC focuses on with its marketing and shipment efforts?

OZ: The main products we transport include electronics, hospital equipment, ATM-machine parts, fresh-cut flowers, and vaccines. As you can see, that’s a wide-ranging mix of products and material, but honestly, that’s what makes our business so interesting.

 

Q. We’ve heard PAC will see a “commercial push” in 2019. Tell us about that.

OZ: What this means is we are focusing on increased diversification. With the ability to move all kinds of cargo, including perishables, we are extremely well positioned to manage the ups-downs of the market. We are anticipating a very good year in 2019. Brazil in particular will be growing this coming year, as well other principal countries in South America.

Our very good relationships with air carriers and ocean carriers allow PAOC to offer great rates and ample space to all destinations, inclusive of space on passenger flights.

 

Q: What kind of expertise is required to beat the competition?

OZ: In one word, it’s know-how. Well, that’s two words, kind of! But the fact is, we know the logistics business up and down, from origin to destination. We have very close relationships with our customers, which allows us to always find solutions. By aligning ourselves with our customers, side-by-side, we always find the best way to move their cargo, based on their needs. Flexibility is also one of our greatest qualities, allowing us to accommodate last-minute requests.

 

Q:What is the composition of your team?

OZ: The Miami PAOC operation consists of the following team members:

  • Igor Vilas Boas – Cargo Manager, Export & Import
  • Brian Rivas – Ocean Operation
  • Roy Paredes – Brazil Operation
  • Kahrenn Leiva – South America Operation
  • Roberth Valdes – South America Operation
  • Francisco Zumarraga – Sales Executive
  • Tatiana Hernandez – Quotes
  • Pamela Espinoza – Pricing
  • And in the warehouse, staff members are Minerva Pedraza, Alain Ciscal, Joshuan Hernandez, and Javier Soza.

 

Q:Tell us a about your history with Prime Group and in the industry.

OZ: I got my start in the airline business in Ecuador in 1997, working for Avianca Cargo; and then Transoceanica were I become deputy manager for cargo with Lufthansa and Lan Chile Cargo. In 2001, I joined up with Roger Paredes to form our own company, Prime Air, which was the GSA for AGI, operating six flights per week to Miami. Our market was Quito-Miami with B747F equipment. By 2004, I moved to Miami to fulfill the dream of expanding our operations beyond Ecuador and diversifying our service portfolio.

In October of that year, I started moving cargo from Miami to Quito with Arrow Air. Many of the contacts I had in Ecuador started contacting me to arrange their export from Miami to Quito, so business was good and continued to expand.  In 2005, we rented a small warehouse of just 2,500 sqft, but by 2008 expanded into a 5,000-sqft warehouse. Growth continued and in 2010 we moved into a to 10,000-sqft warehouse – and then this past year, into the new 20,000 sqft space.

Now PAOC is well known among all the airlines and ocean carriers in Miami, New York, and Los Angeles due to the high volume of cargo we move and the exceptional quality of our services.

For information, contact Prime Group Co-Founder Omar Zambrano at ozambrano@primegroup.aero or by calling 305-592-2044.  Also visit www.primeaircargo.com.

Who Ya Gonna Call – Again

TAME recently had a sudden call for a jet engine to be transported from Houston. So who did they pick up the phone to call again – Prime Air & Ocean Cargo, of course.

That’s because we’ve been handling parts shipments for the flag carrier of Ecuador for years and knows they can totally depend on Prime Air & Ocean Cargo has for shipments big and small – and huge, such as a multi-million engine.

Whether it’s one box, one pallet, an aircraft engine, or a company-wide logistics management operation, Prime Air & Ocean Cargo has a unique ability to streamline, optimize, and expedite freight, and logistics solutions.

The company’s experienced staff takes works closely with and for the customer to shorten the shipping process, cut transfer times, and move paperwork efficiently and swiftly.

Prime Air & Ocean Cargo is part of international import-export logistics conglomerate Prime Group, founded in Ecuador in 2001.

For information, send an email to info@primegroup.aero or visit www.primeaircargo.com.