Barpro Storage welcomes Millon Bezuidenhout. Millon joined Barpro as a Technical Site Supervisor at our Cape Town office. He will be responsible to work with clients and other contractors to install mobile racking systems and supervise technicians and installations. He qualified as an electrician since 2014. Millon has experience working in different industries including the Steel, FMCG and Chemicals. He has experience in overseeing maintenance operations. “I’m honoured to be part of Barpro Storage SA, I believe that my competence and integrity will benefit the company.” Welcome to the team Millon!


South Africa should take note of current challenges facing European cold stores

One UK cold store manager told me recently that they had fixed their electricity costs until 2024 and were pretty relaxed about the current uncertainties. That is until they started negotiating a replacement fixed price contract. For starters, the contract term would be shortened from the current three years to just 6 months.  Kilowatt hour rate negotiations started at a levels six times higher than previously. Qualified Truck drivers are difficult to find so existing staff are being retrained and learnerships are provided in an attempt to attract talent.  Pay rates for existing cold store staff have increased by around 10% simply to retain personnel. Some cold storage companies who have already been hit with energy cost increases have passed them on to their customers as a surcharge.  They too are suffering from staff shortages and increased labor costs. As energy and labor are among cold stores’ largest cost centers their impact on the bottom line will be devastating.  While South African stores haven’t seen this magnitude of sudden energy increases, ESKOM prices continue to rise while load shedding means an additional huge unbudgeted cost from running generators, not to mention the effect of diesel cost increases on refrigerated trucking operations. Skilled cold store labor is also difficult to find  but labor rates are driven more by inflationary pressures.  Although South Africa’s power shortages have a different driver, they will continue at least for the medium term. Although diesel prices have fallen recently, the obsession with reducing SA’s carbon footprints will have additional negative outcomes, and coal fired generation is retired. So, what can south African cold stores do to meet the challenge? Allow the reach truck to move through one door and the product on a pallet through another. Don’t forget air curtains and high speed doors. As far as cold store labor is concerned, isn’t it time that our refrigeration industry had its own training school?    

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