PFH is making connections with the right people

“The PMA Fresh Summit is the epitome of where you can come to get the best ideas and make connections with the right people.” That’s how the Produce Marketing Association summed up its huge show a couple weeks ago in Orlando serving the global produce and floral-supply chain business.

 

And that’s exactly what they delivered for Prime Fresh Handling (PFH) who sent a sales team to attend the annual Fresh Summit International Convention & Exposition at the Orange County Convention Center.

 

Says Prime Group CEO Roger Paredes, “The response from potential customers at the show was fantastic. We not only came home with new customer business in hand, but with a number of very solid prospects, as well.”

 

With about 1,200 fresh-produce exhibitors showing their wares, this year’s Fresh Summit paid special attention to new and emerging products and services. So it was a natural that first-timer PFH was in the house, with their Commercial Manager Cristina Moscoso from Los Angeles, PFH’s North American Sales Manager Alex Paredes out of New York, and Prime Group Business Partners Omar Zambrano and Roger Paredes from the Miami headquarters.

 

The PMA Fresh Summit is an industry show for everyone from growers in South America to importers of produce, to conglomerates with household names like Dole – to, of course, firms like Prime Fresh Handling, involved in the transport of perishables.

 

The Prime Group sales team used the show as a steppingstone in expanding the company’s Prime Fresh Handling product and service line, versus a sole focus on the company’s core business, flower transport. “It’s part of our strategy to grow Prime Fresh Handling,” says Paredes.

 

In fact, he says, it is this very shift from flowers to general perishables that is fueling the overall growth of the company.

 

“After 17 years in business, there’s little doubt we’re a familiar face in the transport of fresh flowers – which will certainly continue to be a huge focus for us, “Paredes continued. “But we see great value in aggressively expanding into handling produce such as fruit, vegetables, and fish.”

 

Which is why it was so important to attend the PMA. “We achieved numerous leads, had great discussions, shared ideas for new projects… and to top it off, we came back to Miami to immediately begin providing service to at least two of the new customers we met there,” said Paredes.

 

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.

 

Paredes noted he and his team will continue attending the PMA Fresh Summit and grow their presence at this annual trade show. “There’s a lot of untapped potential there,” he said.

 

PMA offers a unique network of more than 34,000 member contacts from more than 2,800 member companies, based in 53 countries, on six continents. These contacts span all sizes and types of businesses across the supply chain. For information, visit www.pma.com.

 

With offices in Miami, Los Angeles, New York, Amsterdam, Bogota, and Quito, Prime Fresh Handling has decades of experience handling perishables. Its vast network warehouses and handling facilities use leading technology that guarantees consistent and safe delivery of flowers, produce, and fish. PFH also provides cold storage, tracking and tracing, and logistics support including document processing and Customs clearance.

 

PFH is located at the headquarters of Prime Group at 1301 NW 84th Ave., Suite 127, Miami, FL 33126. For information, visit www.prime-fresh.com or call 305-592-2044.

Prime Group sees presence in European market budding – with Amsterdam Station

Here’s what most people know about Amsterdam. It has more canals than Venice, it rains a lot, everyone rides bicycles there, and it’s right in the heart of the flower capital of the world.

 

But those of us in the air cargo logistics and services business know one more thing, that Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is also home to one of the top providers in the industry– Prime Fresh Handling.

 

A total of three PFH employees are now based at Schiphol, the main international airport of the Netherlands. Located nine km outside the city of Amsterdam, AMS is high on the list of the world’s busiest airports by cargo traffic, ranking alongside Chicago O’Hare and London Heathrow.

 

And for Prime Fresh Handling, it is a prime location for growth, opportunity, and successes now and for years to come, as it also serves as a convenient gateway to the rest of the European market.

 

To get a perspective on the AMS operation, we talked with Marco Vink, Prime Fresh Handling’s General Manager based here at Schiphol.

 

Q: Tell us a about your Amsterdam operation?

MV: Prime Fresh Handling is one of the companies that compose the Prime Group. It is dedicated to import and handling of flowers, fruits, and vegetables. We are handling over 26 million kgs here on our six weekly freighters from South America, offering services such as vacuum cooling, transit handling, and export from the Dutch and French growers.

 

Q:With the growing success at AMS office, are you outgrowing your office?

MV: At the moment, we are in the process of moving to a new and larger facility where we can further grow and expand our operation. It’s going to be in a facility just 10 minutes from the airport, with very good infrastructure – and close to all major customers are in the region like Aalsmeer, Westland – all via direct access of the motorway.

 

Q: What is the focus of service at the AMS station?

MV: Our focus is on import and export, handling produce and flowers, and offering our clients an end-to-end solution with Fresh 2 Door service.

 

Q:What is your strategy with the AMS operation?

MV: Specializing in professional and responsive service to the customers, with a single-point-of-contact policy, is the hallmark of our service. We also offer the customer direct service so that they never have to wait for hours to get the attention they need and deserve. It’s a strategic approach that is not only quite appealing  in the marketplace, but is working well for our customers and us.

 

Q:What does the market in The Netherlands and Europe look like?

MV: Markets across Europe have a lot of potential with imports and export of various produce from Peru, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina – and there is a wide range of products for sale on the export markets into Middle East, Far East, and U.S.

 

Q: Who are your biggest customers?

MV: Our biggest customers are the agents who we are flying the products for; and all major fruit, vegetable, and flower importers/exporters in the wholesale markets – as well as the big flowers auctions in Holland, of course.

 

Q: What are the primary products of the region?

MV: The main products we transport by air are flowers, plants, fish, cheese, fruit vegetables, and general cargo.

 

Q: How do you store, ship, and transport product to ensure the best quality?

MV: We are the “go-to professionals” in the business, transporting temperature-controlled products and maintaining a closed cold-chain, as we have the capability to store various products in the right environment and at different temperature settings. All is constantly monitored and measured by qualified, experienced staff.

 

Q:What do you think of the city of Amsterdam? Is Holland your home country?

MV: I was born there in 1971 – a very good year if I may say so myself! Amsterdam is a truly multi-cultural city and has a strong reputation in the world as a lovely town with an amazing flower-bulb market, some cheese farms, and of course the wooden shoes.

 

Q:Are you happy with your assignment in the Prime Group world? And please share a little know fact about Marco Vink that we might find interesting.

MV: I am a father of four children and married to a lovely wife. I started working in the industry in 1992, and accepted various positions in the business of import and export air and ocean logistics of perishable products. I think working for Prime Group gives me a strong motivation to succeed – and hope to have the opportunity to do just that by growing the business, in a nice and stable environment.

 

Q. In addition to the recent Royal FloraHolland Trade Fair Aalsmeer, what other shows are best to attend – in getting the word out about Prime Fresh Handling.

MV: The IFTF show indeed just passed we had a very productive presence, yes. Other shows we are visiting are the Fruit Attraction in Madrid, Fruit logistica in Berlin, the PMA in the USA, Flowers Expo in Moscow, and the Expo Flor in Ecuador.

 

For information, contact General Manager Marco Vink via email at managerams@prime-fresh.com. Also visit www.primeair.aero.

Alex Paredes Appointed North America Sales Manager for Prime Fresh Handling

Reflecting the rapid growth of Prime Group and its multiple divisions worldwide, Alex Paredes has been appointed Sales Manager for Prime Fresh Handling in North America.

This newly formed position will oversee PFH sales at the company’s station operations at New York JFK, Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and Miami International Airport (MIA).

Dedicated to a career in logistics since an early age, Quito-native Paredes graduated from La Salle High School before earning his degree as a Business Administration Technician from German School in 2010.

Alex first served with Transoceanica/Lufthansa Cargo as Booking Agent for three years before being promoted as National Cargo Chief with at Lan Cargo in Ecuador. In 2013, upon introduction of Atlas freighter service between Quito (UIO) and Amsterdam (AMS), Alex joined PrimeAir as Quito Sales Manager. As additional aircraft capacity was introduced at UIO and his responsibilities grew, he was subsequently selected to be an integral part of PrimeAir’s opening of BOG Station.

By 2016, Alex was transferred to JFK where a new challenge awaited him with the expansion of Prime Fresh Handling in the New York market. Here, as Sales Manager of PFH, he oversaw sales operations of this logistics and handling facility focusing on perishables.

With his relocation to JFK, Alex noted, “From a business standpoint, New York, it is truly unbeatable,” 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 I this amazingly robust market.”

Following the company’s steady growth over the past two years in the New York market, Alex is now ready to take his energy and enthusiasm to a new level. With the recent opening of a PFH operation at LAX, he is now taking over sales management of that facility as well, while focusing on expanding business opportunities in both New York and Los Angeles.

As the North American Sales Manager for PFH, Alex will be responsible for:

  • Identifying opportunities to expand the business through new markets/customers;
  • Analyzing sales, marketing, finance, and other data to gain insights into how to improve company performance;
  • Maintaining a productive relationship with existing clients;
  • Setting and fulfilling company goals and generating analytics.

Based in Miami, Prime Fresh Handling benefits from being part of the Prime Group, a network of coordinated cargo and freight specialists with offices and representatives worldwide. For general information, visit www.primegroup.aero.

Alex Paredes may be reached at the JFK Office by calling 516-837-9777 or via e-mail at salesjfk@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.