March 18, 2020 (All day) to March 20, 2020 (All day)
Hilton Rotterdam, Rotterdam, Netherlands

Plenary Sessions


The 23rd European Conference has been postponed.

Click here to read an important notice and update regarding the event.



Thursday, 19 March 2020 


9:00 a.m.  – 10:30 a.m.   Opening General Session


Welcome and Opening Remarks

Presenter: Julie Hanson, European Director, Global Cold Chain Alliance (GCCA)


Keynote Presentation – Global Trends and Impact on the Cold Chain

Presenter: Emile Hoogsteden, Vice President Commercial, Breakbulk and Logistics, Port of Rotterdam

Learn how the flow of import and export has been and is today evolving, what factors influence it and what the outlook for the next years is.


Unique Challenges and Opportunities of Port-Based Operators

Presenter: Andrew Janson, President & CEO, MTC Logistics and Chairman, International Association of Refrigerated Warehouses (IARW)

Gain insights into the ever-changing cold storage landscape in the United States. Hear from IARW Chairman, Andy Janson, regarding the unique aspect of MTC Logistics being a port-based temperature-controlled logistics provider and how it has resulted in the company’s involvement in e-commerce, repacking, and transportation services.  Janson will share how global trade influences their business and share unique operational features of MTC’s business.


 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. – Plenary Session


Global Cold Chain Update – Industry Trends Survey Results

Presenter: Megan Costello, Interim President & CEO, Global Cold Chain Alliance (GCCA)

Cold chain operators are optimistic about the future of the industry and their own businesses; GCCA has found from new research on trends impacting the cold chain industry and its stakeholders. What is driving that optimism? What opportunities for growth do they see? What are the potential barriers to industry growth and how can we overcome those to find success for the cold chain? Costello will share the results of this global Industry Trends Survey and answer these questions.


Value Creation Through Innovative Synergies

Presenters: Carlos Rodriguez, CEO, Agro Merchants Group and Jurgen Smith, Commercial Director, The Grape Company

Today, more than ever, third-party logistics operators have to look at new avenues to create value in the fresh produce supply chain. As cold chain experts, we are perfectly positioned to pioneer these initiatives along with different parties in the supply chain. These innovative synergies can have a massive impact on our core customers, the retailer and grower.


GCCA Future Leader Award: Candidates Presentations

Moderator: Julie Hanson, European Director, Global Cold Chain Alliance (GCCA)

Presenters: Coming soon

GCCA will recognize outstanding young professionals in the European cold storage industry again this year through the GCCA European Future Leader Award. Conference attendees will hear from award finalists to learn about their visions for the future for the third-party temperature-controlled logistics industry, and why they advocate for young leaders to be a part of the industry.  Finalists for the award were selected for having continually demonstrated excellence in their work, potential to excel further in several facets of the industry and possess valuable insight into their organization’s strategic values and direction. The winner of the award will be honored with an opportunity to participate in the GCCA Global NextGen Award at the Cold Chain Conference and Expo this year. For more information on how to nominate someone for the Future Leader Award, click here.


12:30 – 13:30 – Lunch in the Expo


13:30 – 14:50 – Education Sessions


15:00 – 16:45 – Cold Chain Café

Moderator: Julie Hanson, European Director, Global Cold Chain Alliance (GCCA)

The Cold Chain Café is designed to spark thought-provoking discussions. Participants select 3 topics from 5 total topics to discuss with groups over the course of the session. Participants will share lessons learned during the plenary session on Friday morning. Past topics have included:

  • Food Safety Regulations and Compliance / Standards & Certification
  • Impacts of e-Commerce on the Supply Chain
  • HR - Successfully Managing the Trio: Recruiting, Hiring and Onboarding
  • Reducing Energy Costs: Low-Cost and No-Cost Solutions
  • Automation


Friday, 20 March 2020


9:00 – 10:30 – Plenary Session


The Belt & Road Initiative

Presenter: Matteo Lagatti, Rabobank

The Belt and Road initiative (freight trains from China to Europe). Two main changes will impact the infrastructure: Russia will most likely lift its ban on several food categories and China will lower the subsidies for operators on the infrastructure. This might on one side stimulate more food trade (pork could be), on the other the reduction of subsidies will stimulate a rationalization of the use of the infrastructure. The idea is to see how much additional food trade could be absorbed by the infrastructure and which areas in Europe could become, at least partially, dedicated to food trade.


European Green Deal: Opportunities and Challenges for the Cold Chain

Panelists: TBD

With aspirations of becoming the world’s first climate-neutral continent by 2050, the European Commission presented the European Green Deal, the most ambitious package of measures that are supposed to enable European businesses to benefit from sustainable green transition. How will this impact temperature-controlled facilities? What are the requirements that will impact the cold chain industry? What are the timelines and deadlines?


Cold Chain Café Report Out

Moderator: Julie Hanson, European Director, Global Cold Chain Alliance (GCCA)

The Cold Chain Café is designed to spark thought-provoking discussions. The Café will take place on day one of the conference and participants will share highlights from the conversations that took place around each of the topic areas.


11:00 – 12:00 – Plenary Session


Future Leader of the Year Award Recipient Announcement

Moderator: Julie Hanson, European Director, Global Cold Chain Alliance (GCCA)


How Blockchain is Reshaping the Food Supply Chain

Presenters: TBD

Food supply are becoming safer, smarter and more profitable for supply chains utilizing new and innovative technologies, including blockchain. Traceability is critical for the food supply chain but current communication frameworks within the food ecosystem make traceability a time-consuming task. How can the utilization of blockchain technology enable each player along the food value chain to generate and securely share data points faster to create an accountable and traceable system?


Conference Wrap-up and Closing Remarks

Presenter: Julie Hanson, European Director, Global Cold Chain Alliance (GCCA)