GCCA’s Vice President of International Programs, Richard Tracy, visited Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa to reconnect with the industry in advance of a USDA-funded study tour for Angolans and also to lay the groundwork for a new GCCA office. The new office will serve South Africa, as well as other neighboring African nations. The visits helped GCCA to identify several overarching industry needs.
As the cold chain expands in South Africa, growth and efficiency is inhibited by a number of factors, including the attraction of quality talent. The current market needs more skilled workers with proper training to maintain machinery, but faces barriers with language, experience, and education. Many of the companies recognized and showed support for more training, especially basic knowledge of refrigeration and operations. It was suggested that one way that companies can maintain talent is by develop of or participation in a certificate training program that would allow for a certified warehouse professional.
Other challenges include infrastructure to support a higher level of expertise when dealing with temperature control equipment and the expansion of vertically integrated companies that are not as interested to work in a collaborative manner. Vertically integrated business models have lower upfront costs, but it does not promote a unified industry. Finally, energy is very unreliable and expensive, especially in Johannesburg, and transport costs are high, which drives processing customers to build their own facilities. This causes inefficiencies, and it also weakens 3PL companies.
In terms of industry progress, South Africa has reached the point where they can transition into a well-developed system, but it requires proper training and communication. GCCA will serve as an entity to facilitate relationships and provide training and resource materials, as each company looks to expand.