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First GCCA South African Cold Chain Conference

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By Lizelle van der Berg, director – GCCA South Africa | All photos by GCCA-SA

The first GCCA South African Cold Chain Conference was successfully delivered between 3-5 August 2022 at the Century City Conference Centre in Cape Town.

This conference included cold store operators, controlled-environment builders, equipment suppliers and service providers from South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Mozambique, United Kingdom, and the United States.

This is South Africa’s only venue bringing together the cold chain industry to discuss opportunities and innovations of this essential sector and offering leadership experience, knowledge, and exclusive networking with decision makers from across South Africa and beyond, in a relaxed yet professional atmosphere.

The conference started on 3 August with Council and Committee Meetings as well as the South African Refrigerated Transportation industry meeting. Daniel Kaplan, chairman of the World Food Logistics Organisation commended the Food Safety and Compliance Committee for all their efforts and what they have achieved over the past year. Penny Campbell, director of Food Control of the National Department of Health also attended the Food Safety & Compliance Committee Meeting and noted that it is great to see industry leaders working together to strengthen and develop our cold chain industry in South Africa.

It was the first time since opening office in South Africa in 2019 that GCCA got the transportation industry together to discuss challenges, opportunities, innovations, and the future of the refrigerated transport industry in South Africa.

GCCA South African Cold Chain Conference - Wine tasting

GCCA South Africa strategic priorities

On 4 August 2022, Paul Gibbons, customer director of Vector Logistics and chairman of the GCCA South Africa advisory council opened the conference with GCCA South Africa’s strategic priorities as well as insights into the roles of the council and committees and achievements of the past year.

International cold chain challenges & trends

Adam Thocher, senior vice president of global programs & insights of GCCA presented GCCA’s global priorities, growing international presence and also gave a closer look at what our association has learned about the state of the cold chain industry through regional and global trends.

Thocher also gave insight into 2020-2022 capacity increase by percentage. We are seeing the global cold chain industry grow. Cold chain challenges discussed included environmental challenges, imports/exports, port congestion, geopolitics and changing consumer habits.

Building the cold chain in Africa

James Eason, a cold chain Expert in Kenya and GCCA technical advisor explained the current challenges including post-harvest loss being 35% average throughout Africa, the lack of infrastructure (roads, internet, water, public services), security, cultural barriers and defining fresh food.

He also spoke about large solutions, both private and public including Arch Capital with their 100-million-dollar investment in East Africa, IFC (East Africa, West Africa, and North Africa), Maersk, DP World etc. Smaller Solutions are more affordable and used in remote locations and includes different portable/ rentable, solar solutions.

A model expanding in MENA is the multi-service model where companies are offering a one-stop-shop, including shipping, freight forwarding, storage, e-commerce, distribution etc. Also included, Eason covered investment needs for profitability as well as reasons why stakeholders should invest in Africa.


WFLO international development

Daniel Kaplan did a great job in explaining the function of WFLO and the project work that we do globally. WFLO serves as the technical assistance arm of the Global Cold Chain Alliance, providing training, education, and research services to companies concerned with producing, processing, shipping, transporting, and storing goods requiring temperature control.

It is through the WFLO that GCCA members participate on international cold chain development projects.

Warehouse automation in South Africa

Malcolm Fuller, operations manager of Merlog Foods shared their incredible automated facility through photos and even a video. He spoke in detail about the performance of the facility, from guaranteed system uptime and pallets per hour to accuracy on outbound including case picking and automatic repositioning of pallets.

Fuller then described the process undertaken in selecting automation over traditional racking and how they purchased an existing building and needed the best fit for the building. On benefits and return on investment, Fuller mentioned guaranteed productivity and uptime, visibility, and access to any pallet at any time, 98% reduction in stock losses, reduction in energy costs, no damaged equipment etc.

Challenges included the rate of exchange for set up and spare parts, initial capital costs that are 2-3 times the cost of traditional racking and WMS setup, impact on staff and training before go-live.

An update from DALRRD

Dr Edson Goremucheche from DALRRD gave an update from DALRRD and included the importance of the cold chain from farm-to-fork. Legislation and standards in place are there to ensure safety, quality, efficacy, and integrity. He then spoke about the SPS agreement which applies to all sanitary and phytosanitary measures which may, directly or indirectly affect international trade and covered general export and import procedures.

Comparative fire test blow torch simulation ISO 11325 Part 3

The audience then moved to the Square, right across the conference centre for a live fire demonstration that was done by Tammy Grove, South Africa manager of Kingspan. The fire test showed the difference between expanded polystyrene and Kingspan QuadCore when exposed to fire.

South Africa director for GCCA, Lizelle van den Berg and award winner, Larna Jodamus. Image credit: GCCA
South Africa director for GCCA, Lizelle van den Berg and award winner, Larna Jodamus. Image credit: GCCA

Why is cybersecurity the new buzz word

Charl van Niekerk, CEO of 2Ts explained that the vulnerability remediation gap is a universal challenge and explained how the modern workplace of today and the future exposes us to cyber threats. He further explained security risks, misconceptions, considerations & omissions with vendor response and customer understanding.

Van Niekerk explained the hidden risk where the same provider of your business tools and IT operations solution is the provider of your cybersecurity and that you create an incubator for fraud, as a result of the insider threat. The strength of an organisation’s cyber hygiene relies on the internal practices implemented and segregation across the whole stack, and not only People and Roles & Responsibilities, but also functional technology vendors, are imperative to achieve a higher level of compliance and ultimately security.

Refrigeration – the process, the energy, the electricity, and the water

Andrew Minnaar, director of AMC Engineers, gave an overview of the refrigeration process and explained some simplified basic concepts of the refrigeration plant culminating in an explanation of the coefficient of performance (COP). The conditions under which it is calculated, such as suction, discharge etc. as well as interpretations (peak, nominal, or adjusted) should be considered as they vary significantly.

Minnaar provided great calculations on the cost comparisons between the various sources of heat in a typical facility to create a sense of perspective between these and where there are potentials for savings to be made. A practical example of a door opening, and the associated infiltration load also provided some good perspective of the importance of door management, one of the simplest demand side management tools in any facility.

The merits of insurance in treating cyber risks

Pieter Muller, marketing director of Cyberite explained that cyber is currently the #1 risk facing organisations globally, yet this risk is in most cases delegated to individuals in a company who do not have the burden of accountability when things go wrong.

Muller says: “It is no wonder that South Africa now globally ranks as one of the most hacked countries.” One major insurer’s statistics indicate that only 3/10 companies qualified for their cyber insurance product. Strict policy conditions and exclusions shifts onus onto clients to ensure a safe cyber infrastructure.

More than 40% of all listed businesses in the USA have adopted a strategy of allocating financial resources to “prevention and risk reduction” rather than to rely on insurance to mitigate their financial exposure to a cyber-attack.

Food control

Penelope Campbell, director: food control of the National Department of Health explained that food control covers food safety, food quality & composition, food labelling and nutrition (regulatory) and gave the audience a detailed breakdown of the department as well as how they work in coalition with other government departments. Campbell further gave insight into regulations in the process of being amended under the categories of biological safety, chemical safety as well as regulatory nutrition and ended the session with recalls in South Africa, some mandatory and some voluntary and explained the communication networks.

GCCA South African Cold Chain Conference

WMS for automated facilities

Shermandra Singh, Commercial Director of Dovetail gave a brief overview of the deep-frozen goods market that is growing, product variances are increasing and ordered and delivered in smaller numbers with the added importance of traceability from ‘farm to fork’.

WMS automation options included voice picking, AMRs mobile racking & conveyers. Automation reduces labour expenses and limits staff exposure to harsh working environments, increases throughput and productivity and manage complexity with the warehouse.

Most impressive were the two examples of integrated logistics software with automation. Your WMS should create real time visibility with the capability to consolidate accurate data from various sources.

GCCA 2022 Africa Future Leader Award finals

The Global Cold Chain Alliance (GCCA) announced, Larna Jodamus, compliance manager of CCS Logistics as the 2022 Africa Future Leader Award recipient during the conference.

The panel of industry leaders that judged 2022 Africa Future Leader Award were Ashleigh Jacobs, supply chain intelligence executive of Vector Logistics, Ivan Sutic, financial director of Chilleweni Cold Storage Solutions and Steve Oosthuizen, managing director of Cape Fruit Coolers.

Finalists were judged and evaluated on their knowledge level of the industry, track record of excellence, communication skills, and leadership skills. In addition, each candidate delivered a short presentation during the conference. “A passionate and influential young woman! Larna demonstrated her technical and leadership capabilities. She is a great Africa future leader candidate,” said Ashleigh Jacobs. Larna competed for the award in the finals with Daryl Ellappen, group logistics manager of Etlin International.

GCCA Cold Chain Cup

The GCCA Cold Chain Cup took place on 5 August 2022 at the Milnerton Golf Club. Some played well, others just had fun. GCCA announced, Belinda Viljoen representing Concord Cranes as the GCCA Cold Chain Cup winner. Congratulations to Belinda and Concord Cranes for taking the Cold Chain Cup.

Thank you to everyone that attended, participated, and supported the GCCA South African Cold Chain Conference!

GCCA South African Cold Chain Conference - Golf Day

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