The International Association of Refrigerated Warehouses (IARW) and the World Food Logistics Organization (WFLO) have an impressive history of serving the food industry through the twentieth century and the impressive development of refrigeration in the movement of food products. Moving into the twenty-first century, many of these organizations' members found a need to adapt business models in response to an acceleration of changing global conditions. This response represented an increased integration of the cold chain industry. This, in turn, initiated closer relationships among all players in the supply chain. Developments such as dedicated distribution facilities and public refrigerated warehouse (PRW) investment in trucking assets bore witness to this trend. Three strong influences were changing this industry:
- Increasing integration in the business models of our members—from warehousing to logistics providers. Refrigerated warehouses have invested in trucking assets and perused varied arrangements and structures with customers.
- Recognition of international business structures. As we did more work in emerging economies, we saw that a single company would operate all aspects from food production to food delivery. In many countries, the third party provider is a developing concept.
- Need for core competencies—maintaining proper temperatures and instilling best practices. The cold chain had to take on the development of all links from post harvest handling and processing to retail.
Discussions formalized late in 2005 when IARW and WFLO began to garner support for a bold new initiative from partner organizations the International Refrigerated Transportation Association (IRTA) and the Controlled Environment Building Association (CEBA). By the close of 2006, the boards of all four organizations elected to move forward with the creation of the Global Cold Chain Alliance (GCCA), an umbrella organization which would create partnerships among associations, governments, institutions, and private companies spanning each link of the cold chain. GCCA officially launched in April 2007. GCCA now acts as the platform for communication, networking and education for each link of the cold chain. It serves as the focused voice of the cold chain industry.