It’s been just 18 months since the COVID-19 pandemic brought the world to a standstill. With no vaccine yet available, there was no way to prevent the disease nor lessen its impact if people contracted it. “Fortunately, what a difference a year makes,” says Alex Paredes, Prime Fresh Handling’s sales manager for North America, based at New York’s JFK.
According to an Oct. 19, 2021, update from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at least 66 percent of the U.S. population or nearly 219 million people have now received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and about 57 percent or almost 190 million people have been fully vaccinated. That’s definite progress – up from 0 vaccinations just a year ago.
“Yes, the pandemic continues, and the world is still in a challenging battle with the virus and its variants, but great strides in prevention, vaccinations, and testing have been made,” Paredes says. “I’m particularly proud of the role that Prime Fresh Handling (PFH) has played in helping transport COVID-19 antigen testing kits to our customers across the globe. “
In turn, he notes, these customers are providing the kits to their clients – medical companies, government agencies, hospitals, and health professionals who are using them to test consumers and help prevent the spread of the virus.
The Global Perspective
In further progress, as vaccination rates have climbed, the world has opened up a bit in 2021. On the home front, people are venturing out using masks and a hefty dose of caution. They’re trying to create some sense of normalcy whether by dining out, attending a sporting event, going back to school, participating in a community project, or returning to an office building after more than a year of working remotely.
Internationally too, some countries have once again opened their borders with their health agencies requiring strong health and safety protocols. “Many countries now require a COVID-19 test for entry,” says Paredes, who adds that more than one million COVID-19 tests of all types were taken daily in the U.S. during September 2021.
“Prime Fresh Handling is on the front lines daily, helping assure that COVID-19 antigen tests get where they need to go,” he adds. That means that more people can be tested, and if someone does test positive, they can self-isolate, receive treatment, and avoid infecting others. This is important for all, but particularly so for first responders, hospital- and nursing-home staffers, and schoolteachers – all of whom have significant interaction with other (often vulnerable) populations such as the elderly, those who are seriously ill, or children.
The Complete Package
Did you know that PFH offers a dedicated service for pick-up, transit, expert handling, and delivery of the antigen test kits? It’s the type of service the company offers for many high-value shipments. “We are particularly attuned to the fact that any carton damage means the products cannot be used, and so we focus on eliminating such costly problems for our customers,” Paredes adds.
While the antigen tests don’t require refrigerated transport, they do need protection against extreme temperatures. “These high-value freight shipments require insurance, careful handling, and constant tracking throughout the journey,” he stresses. Timing is sensitive too as customers are always in need of these tests for immediate use.
By Sea, By Air, By Land
Typically, the shipments handled at PFH’s JFK facility originate in New Jersey, where the test kits are produced, before being transported to Prime Fresh Handling’s customers in California, Indiana, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Colombia, and multiple other spots across the U.S. and the globe. Sometimes, the boxes and pallets are loaded onto trucks for the entire journey. “Most of the time though, it’s a dedicated truck plus air transport,” according to Paredes.
Depending on surges in COVID-19 regionally, shipments are made three to eight times a month and they average two to three pallets of antigen tests per shipment. For example, on Labor Day weekend, PFH transported a three-pallet shipment to Puerto Rico. “Typically, we service the testing product’s reseller, a middle company that’s in charge of commercializing this product for use by hospitals, research clinics, and other wholesalers,” says Paredes.
The logistics process must be both careful and precise. PFH picks up the freight shipments as soon as the shipper confirms their readiness. This process is always a dedicated pick-up, and the logistics company also orders the necessary insurance. “Then, as soon as it gets to our facility, we issue a warehouse receipt, tag the freight and, if being transported as air cargo, we send it to the airport, where Prime Fresh Handling already has a cargo booking in place,” he explains.
Then Prime Fresh Handling’s employees track the freight until it reaches the final destination and communicate with the customer via e-mail. In addition, within California, the company is in charge of pick-up and delivery at the destination, so its Los Angeles office handles those deliveries.
“Whatever it takes to keep the shipments of COVID-19 antigen tests moving quickly and carefully to where they need to go is our priority mission right now,” says Paredes. “We’re doing our part – and will continue to do so for as long as needed – to help battle this virus and keep people safe.”
A World of Services
Whether it’s a box, a pallet, or a companywide logistics operation, PFH is highly skilled in achieving safe on-time delivery of temperature-sensitive material and products between any point of origin and destination around the globe.
PFH is known as a global leader in perishables transportation for such commodities as fresh produce, fish, cut flowers, and plants. At company warehouses and handling facilities worldwide, PFH leverages industry-leading technologies such as vacuum cooling, sorting, re-packing, bar coding, labeling, and temperature monitoring to guarantee a consistent, safe, and fresh delivery.
Prime Fresh Handling is located at 444 Bayview Ave., Inwood, NY 11096. Contact PFH Sales Manager-North America Alex Paredes via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 516-837-9777. Also, Visit Prime Fresh Handling at https://www.prime-fresh.com/