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The GCCA Cold Chain council chair addresses conference

Written by Eamonn Ryan

The second annual GCCA African Cold Chain Conference was held on 2-4 August in Cape Town. Chairman of the GCCA African Advisory Council, Paul Gibbons, and CEO of CCH Commercial Cold Holdings, introduced the proceedings.

Chairman of the GCCA African Advisory Council, Paul Gibbons. Image supplied by © Eamonn Ryan | Cold Link Africa
Chairman of the GCCA African Advisory Council, Paul Gibbons. Image supplied by © Eamonn Ryan | Cold Link Africa

I’m glad to have this opportunity for our industry to get together and discuss common challenges and solutions. I think this is a valuable way to network and learn from each other.

“A little bit about myself: I’ve been in cold chain for many years, and I have a passion for it. I think the role we play in food safety, food security and infrastructure development is very important and rewarding.

“The GCCA Africa Advisory Council has been working hard to support the cold chain sector in Africa. Some of the challenges that we face as an industry in Africa are: reliability of electricity and water supply, skilled workforce development, outsourcing awareness, food safety and compliance standards, health and safety practices, security issues and lack of infrastructure. To address these challenges, we have established some key committees that will help us navigate them,” said Gibbons.

“Another topic that I want to talk about is the impact of load shedding on food safety in the country. We have been engaging with the Department of Health and the Department of Agriculture on this issue, and I think these forums are a great way to interact with government and influence policy. They are working on a register with certification requirements for storing different food categories, and we are helping to raise the level of food safety compliance in the sector. As a committee, we also share best practices, challenges and solutions among ourselves.

He noted that one of the committees that had been created is the Risk Management Committee, which reviews articles related to risk management in cold storage facilities at all levels of operations. “The goal is to improve performance and minimise risks for our
members and the industry as a whole.

The GCCA Africa hosted a General Risk and Insurance seminar this year, with the objective of sharing information, addressing topical issues, highlighting current trends and outlooks for the future. The risk management committee, led by Andrew Perks, also finalised a process management manual, which was published earlier this year and is available through GCCA resources. The committee is now working on a register of best practices for trading in refrigerated warehouses. I want to thank the committee for their excellent work.

“Some of the strategic priorities that we have as the GCCA Africa Advisory Council are industry promotion, ESG and advocacy. We want to raise awareness of what our industry does and what role it plays in food safety in South Africa and Africa. We want to be responsible and sustainable in our operations, especially when it comes to issues like load shedding and reducing our energy demand. We want to advocate for our industry’s interests and needs with relevant stakeholders and authorities,” said Gibbons.