Two people are important for operating a freezing plant and cold store; the engineer in charge of the refrigeration plant and equipment and the store operations manager or store keeper. Whatever the size, type or function of the plant a capable person should be employed to operate, maintain and repair all the equipment. The qualifications and ability of the operator required will depend on whether help is available locally to deal with major problems in the plant. Where skilled help is available locally or where the plant is small, a qualified refrigeration specialist is probably not required and recruits for this position need only be skilled or semi-skilled engineers who have experience in other industries. The engineer, however, has to be self-reliant, adaptable and able to make do with whatever facilities and materials are readily available to keep the plant operating. An ex-marine engineer for example, would be ideal particularly if he has had experience with steampowered plant. Only a minimum amount of training would be necessary to enable such a person to appreciate the particular problems that are applicable to refrigeration plant and he should also appreciate the reasons for good freezing and cold storage practice.
Even in industrial countries specialist training in refrigeration engineering is not widely available and it would be unreasonable to expect most developing countries to provide an organisation of their own for this purpose. However, qualified professional engineers have a broad-based training and where it is justified, attendance at a short course which deals with refrigeration and food technology may be all that is required. Fortunately, in most developing countries with a hot climate, there already exists a pool of technicians and plant operators who have gained refrigeration experience with ice-making and air conditioning plant. Recruitment from this source would mean that only the minimum amount of training would be necessary to enable them to operate new plant.
The recruitment of a qualified store operations manager should not be difficult. This person should be able to keep records of the movements of goods in and out of the store, be responsible for stowage of the goods and be able to keep simple accounts and deal with dispatch and invoice notes. An efficient store manager could considerably reduce the handling costs and improve the utilisation of the plant and storage space. The person selected for this post should therefore have good organisational ability and have experience in a similar post, but not necessarily connected with the refrigeration industry. Additional training for this person, should give him an appreciation of the perishable nature of the goods he is handling and a knowledge of appropriate cold store practices for maintaining the quality of frozen fish products.