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The Global Cold Chain Alliance, a history and strategy

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By Lizelle van der Berg, Director – GCCA South Africa

The Global Cold Chain Alliance (GCCA) is a trade association representing the temperature-controlled supply chain, including cold storage, transportation, construction, equipment suppliers, and service providers.

The Global Cold Chain Alliance,

GCCA’s vision is to forge a universally strong cold chain where every product retains quality and safety through each link. GCCA serves as the focused voice of the cold chain industry and is a platform for communication, networking, and education for each link of the cold chain. GCCA membership includes more than 1 300 temperature-controlled facilities and members in over 80 countries.

GCCA has an impressive history of serving the food industry through the twentieth century and the impressive development of refrigeration in the movement of food products. The association was originally founded in 1891 when several conventional warehousemen took on the demands of storing perishable food and soon realised the increased challenge and complexity of operating temperature-controlled storage facilities. As the industry changed and adapted over the years, it was soon evident that the cold chain had to take on the development of all links from post-harvest handling and processing to retail.

South Africa

GCCA opened its first office in the African continent in South Africa in May 2019, with Lizelle van der Berg as Director. GCCA’s member network has grown exponentially since then and currently represents
1 355 239m3 refrigerated capacity in South Africa. The first event since opening the office was the Panel Discussion on Fire Risk Insurance Challenges for Refrigerated Warehouses in February this year which was very well attended by industry leaders from all over South Africa. GCCA has also hosted several Cold Chain Connections in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Cold Chain Connections are opportunities for perishable logistics executives to come together and discuss challenges and trends with their peers. Covid-19 and the great technology available enabled GCCA to bring back the Cold Store Operations Short Course not only to South Africa, but to Africa with included benefits of it being more affordable and accessible and it allowed us to leverage our member expertise from all over the world. The short course empowered our heroes in the cold storage industry by increasing knowledge and providing the opportunity to obtain a cold store operations-specific certificate.

Registrants originated from South Africa, Namibia, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana as well as the United Kingdom. “We have received very positive feedback from our staff that attended the course. They said the course was very engaging, it felt alive and not boring. They were really captivated with the content and interaction. We will definitely try to include more of our staff next time around.” says Christopher Nulliah, Logistics Director of Etlin International.

GCCA South Africa has also named the five cold chain industry leaders to its Regional Advisory Council. Council members help shape GCCA’s regional strategy and prioritise actions to strengthen South Africa’s cold chain industry, forge new partnerships, and strengthen existing relationships linking all aspects of the South African cold chain industry.

The five leaders are Christopher Nulliah, Logistics Director of Etlin International; Paul Gibbons, Customer Director of Vector Logistics; Colin Barker, Compliance Manager of Table Bay Cold Storage; Carlos De Mendonca, General Manager of Crossberth Cold Stores; and Jaco Ollewagen, Technical Manager of CCS Logistics.

We were also excited to launch the Food Safety and Compliance Committee with the seven leaders who have made the commitment to help strengthen South Africa’s cold chain through food safety and compliance. The seven leaders are: Larna Jodamus, Compliance Manager of CCS Logistics; Verona Ramsook, Group Food Safety Manager of Etlin International; Phindile Ntshaba, SHEQ Executive of Vector Logistics; Colin Barker, Compliance Manager of Table Bay Cold Storage; Altie van Zyl, Compliance Manager of Crossberth Cold Stores; Philippa Charlesworth, Admin Manager of Reefer Cold Storage; and Bomkazi Ndlebe, Compliance Officer at CCS Logistics.


GCCA’s Strategic Plan has four areas leading us from 2020 to 2022: Workforce Innovation, Industry Promotion, Global Advocacy and Market Intelligence. These areas were initiated from an industry survey, including feedback from third party logistics operators around the world to understand the major trends and challenges facing their businesses.

Results of the Global Cold Chain Industry Impact research paint the picture of a dynamic and thriving industry. Stakeholders are optimistic about the future, but also recognise that more needs to be done to ensure sustainable growth. Industry alignment is key to realising that goal. The GCCA will continue to play a pivotal role in improving alignment to optimise opportunity, remove barriers to growth and drive value across the cold chain industry. In South Africa, our efforts will also support these areas.


The Global Cold Chain Alliance,

The next Cold Store Operations Online Short Course is scheduled to take place in February 2021. GCCA South Africa also plans to have 6 Cold Chain Connections in major cities across South Africa and training on Blast Freezing and Rack Safety will be a focus which will support Workforce Innovation. Two additional committees will be established in 2021 namely the Human Resources Committee and the Risk Management Committee supporting Global Advocacy. Several industry surveys are planned for the South African industry, supporting Market Intelligence.

GCCA Members have access to resources and best practices on:

  • Crises Management
  • Effective Warehouse Design
  • Maintenance and Modernisation
  • Effective Warehouse Operations
  • Commodity Storage & Handling
  • Administration, Human Resource & Talent Development
  • Refrigerated Transport
  • Energy Efficiency
  • Surveys and Market Research.

Included in member benefits is access to the Scientific Advisory Council which is an eminent group of food scientists, logistics and packaging experts from around the world with expertise in Fish Products, Cool-Climate Fruit & Produce, Refrigerated Transportation, Poultry Products, Refrigeration Engineering, Supply Chain Management, Meat Science, Food Process Engineering, Ammonia Contamination and Food Toxicology, Food Safety, Logistics and Operations Management, Agriculture Economics, Frozen Food Quality, Packaging, Package labelling, Microbiology Dairy Products and Postharvest Technology of Perishable Foods. This council provides cutting-edge research and advice to members of the GCCA.

We look forward to working with our members to help strengthen and grow the cold chain in 2021.