Construction of Kenya’s largest warehouse kicks off in Kiambu

A warehouse. Rents for prime industrial space in Nairobi have gone up by 11.9 per cent in two years.
A warehouse. Rents for prime industrial space in Nairobi have gone up by 11.9 per cent in two years. PHOTO/FILE
Africa Logistics Properties (ALP) has begun construction of a modern grade-A logistics and distribution warehouse complex in Kiambu County, as the company seeks to meet the rising demand for high quality storage facilities from global logistic firms venturing into Kenya.

The Sh6.2 billion facility, which is located in the Tatu Industrial Park in Ruiru – 24 kilometres from Nairobi, will offer a floor space of 50,000 square metres in three units – making it the largest grade-A warehouse in the country.

“Our distribution and logistics centre at Tatu Industrial Park offers international standard modern facilities for the rental market, and we plan on rolling out similar world-class developments across key African capital cities,” ALP chief executive Toby Selman said during the project’s ground breaking ceremony last month.

“Our vision is to fundamentally improve supply chain infrastructure across Africa and disrupt the current status quo of poor quality ‘go down’ warehousing,” he added.

According to Stephen Jennings, the founder and CEO of Rendeavour, Tatu City’s owner and developer, “the addition of Africa Logistics Properties to the Tatu Industrial Park confirms [its] location as the hub for logistics and warehousing in East Africa.”

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Tatu Industrial Park comprises of 457 acres of serviced land suitable for light industrial, assembly, warehouse and logistic uses. Some of the other big names that have acquired space in the development include Dormans Coffee, Unilever East Africa, Chandaria Industries, Bidco Oil Refineries, Kim-Fay and Maxam.

ALP’s development, which is supported by several global shareholders among them Africa-focused UK asset manager Mbuyu Capital, CDC Group, Maris and DOB Equity, got underway barely two months after the warehouse developer acquired 49 acres of land the Limuru-based 100-acre Tilisi Industrial Park.

ALP plans to put up a similar facility at the park as it seeks to give SME’s access to international standard warehousing for the first time.

As we start construction on our first two projects in Kenya, we are already building a pipeline of future projects across Sub-Saharan and North African cities to create the continent’s future industrial hubs,” said Selman.

The modern logistics hubs, the developer said, will be set up across in line with the high-tech specifications and demands of refined international tenants. They are completely different from the empty “go-downs” that have for years supported logistics businesses.

The high-end logistics facilities feature, among other things, computerised wrapping systems, computerised storage and retrieval processes, and spacious storage rooms up to 18 metres high.

According to the 2016 Logistics Performance Index (LPI) — a World Bank survey of operators providing feedback on the logistics ‘friendliness’ of countries, Kenya is second in sub-Saharan Africa, after South Africa, with a score of 3.33 out of 5.0 Worldwide. The East African country is now graded 42nd in the LPI out of a total of 160 countries.

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