Dragon fruit signals shift in focus for Prime Fresh Handling

It seems the world is catching on to the power of the pitahaya. Also known as the dragon fruit, this delicious tropical superfood from Ecuador is now growing in popularity from Hong Kong to the U.S. and many points between.

And that’s a good thing for Prime Group. Because as the market’s appetite grows, two of its divisions stand to benefit most: PrimeAir as the GSSA for air carriers transporting the product worldwide; and Prime Fresh Handling (PHF) as the agent that takes care of such sensitive perishables on the ground.

In fact, it was the PFH team at LAX that was ready and waiting when the first-ever U.S. import of organic pitahaya was accepted here last month.

Leading up to this historic flight, the Ecuadorean Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock worked long and hard with in-country fruit producers dedicated to this crop. And it is now paying off as the agency recently announced that dozens of international markets are currently open for the export of organic dragon fruit – spanning China, North America, Southeast Asia, Russia, and 28 countries of the European Community.

The Ecuadorean pitahaya is the most highly sought variety not just because it’s so plump and enticing, with hardy yellow skin and unique seed-speckled flesh, but because it can do a lot for your health, too.

In fact, benefits include anti-aging, immune system boosting, and sugar stabilization. And pitahaya tastes great too, like a mix between a kiwi and pear with a slight crunchiness.

 

Growing Presence
The seeds to success in being selected to handle Ecuador’s first inbound shipment of organic pitahaya actually were planted over a year ago, says PFH’s Commercial Manager Cristina Moscoso.

That’s when she and her team launched a big commercial push to grow the division’s U.S. West Coast presence. This move was timed to follow an expansion of the PFH facility at LAX, which now features more than 21,000-square-feet of cooler and freezer space for product staging and storage.

“We obviously know a lot about handling fresh flowers, our core business. But lately, we’ve made impressive strides into serving clients who deal in other perishables, such as fish and produce,” said Moscoso.

With PFH facilities also in Bogota, Quito, Miami, New York, Amsterdam, the division offers a complete menu of logistics services from crating and packaging, to cold storage and inventory services – even document processing and customs clearance.

“So that’s why we’re so pleased to be working with organic pitahaya – it’s is exactly what we have been aiming for.”

 

Well-Timed Fruit

Not only is the pitahaya good for you and good for business, it’s amazingly well timed. Just as the annual flower season cycles down, dragon fruit is ready to fill the open capacity out of Quito.

It’s where produce meets productivity.

“March was always the low point of the year in terms of kilos handled, but now, due especially to the pitahaya, the number of shipments and tonnes of fruit has been on a major upswing,” says Prime Group CEO Roger Paredes.

In fact, this year they didn’t really feel the low season at all following Russian Women’s Day, the traditional end of the busy flower season.

Paredes also notes that while dragon fruit demand is high all across the world, the majority of output right now is going to China, via connecting Emirates SkyCargo flights from Quito.

“We are all hopeful this will be more than just a ‘year of the dragon,’” he quipped.

“But seriously, if the voracious Chinese market is leading the way in the consumption of pitahaya, all of us supporting its distribution should plan to be busy over the long haul.”

 

For more information, visit primefresh.eu or email Commercial Manager Cristina Moscoso at Cristina.Moscoso@primeair.aero.

International Women’s Day, a Prime Event Around the Globe

The 2019 peak season for the fresh-cut flower industry is in full bloom. Following another record-breaking year over Valentine’s Day, Prime Group companies are presently enjoying another surge in business in support of International Women’s Day.

Massive shipments of fresh-cut flowers of all varieties are now headed to markets all across the globe, with Bogota and Quito being at ground zero. In response, according to Regional Sales Director Jose Luis Suarez, the PrimeAir team is working overtime to keep pace with the demand, while providing the highest quality customer service.

During this period, between Feb. 16 and 28, PrimeAir is busy supporting the Ecuadorian and Colombian markets with additional offers to its regular flights to Miami, Amsterdam, and other connections.

Likewise, Prime Fresh Handling is busy providing its special brand of logistics support on the ground, leading up to flight time and after. In taking care of things like such as cold storage warehousing and documents processing for time-sensitive perishables, they round off the company’s comprehensive range of service.

 

What’s Behind It All

Many observers attribute this year’s huge spike in demand around International Women’s Day (IWD) to an explosion of women’s activism throughout the world over the past year.

It’s fitting, then, that on March 8 the world pauses to celebrate all the achievements of women. And although the day has different meanings in different countries, it also can have deep personal meanings for each individual.

One thing remains constant – flowers – the universal symbol of IWD. People from all around the world celebrate by decorating with flower arrangements and delivering flowers to powerful women in their life.

The history of IWD stretches back more than 100 years, when the day was first observed across Europe and America. But it wasn’t until March 8, 1946, that feminists in Italy chose the mimosa flower as a symbol of strength, sensibility, and sensitivity.

Over the years, women and men alike have continued to give the gift of flowers to show their appreciation for the strong women in their lives. And although the mimosa continues to have a special significance, it’s not the only flower given out.

In Italy, yellow mimosas are popular. Russians give a variety of flowers, including red roses. And in Hanoi, it’s not just boyfriends and husbands sending flowers to the women in their lives, but also bosses and colleagues. IWD in many countries has the equivalent status of Mother’s Day and children also give small presents to their mothers and grandmothers.

All told, over Valentine’s Day and Women’s Day, 20 million flowers from Colombia and Ecuador will have been cut, gathered, and shipped with carriers that PrimeAir supports, says Suarez.

And apparently there’s no rest for the weary.

“After this current push, we get a short window of time to catch up on sleep and other crucial projects, before we get super busy again leading up to Mother’s Day, during the last week of April through May 4.”

 

About PrimeAir

Since 2001, PrimeAir has been providing GSSA services in Latin America to the biggest players in the air cargo industry – such as Atlas Air, Polar Air Cargo, and Emirates SkyCargo, to name a few. Closely supervising the action on the ground in Ecuador and Colombia is PrimeAir’s team, with decades of experience handling the perishables that make up a significant portion of the market.

Benefitting from being part of the Prime Group network of coordinated cargo and freight specialists around the world, PrimeAir is dedicated to making cargo services, operations, handling, and accounting easy and reliable for major international carriers.

 

About Prime Fresh Handling

Big or small – whether it be a box, a pallet, or a companywide logistics operation – Prime Fresh Handling (PFH) strives to be a strategic ally for its clients by taking care of all their logistics needs – from start to finish – in order to achieve safe and fresh delivery of perishable goods to their final destination.

At Prime Fresh Handling’s warehouses and handling facilities they offer a complete menu of logistics services from creating and packaging, and cold storage and inventory services, to document processing and customs clearance.

Based in Miami, PFH has offices in Bogota, Quito, Los Angeles, New York, and Amsterdam – all key gateways for the fresh-cut flower industry.

 

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

Also, feel free to directly contact Regional Sales Director Jose Luis Suarez in Quito via email at joseluis.suarez@primeair.aero, or call his cell at (593-9) 9 555-3195 or the main office at (593-2) 281-8055, ext. 1006.