By Bob Koigi
Global provider of forwarding and logistics services Panalpina has expanded its cold storage facilities at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport as it seeks to boost services for its fresh produce customers in and out of the country, further cementing its foothold in the country’s supply chain sector.
The storage space that has been expanded by 1,500 square meters is the first of its kind at the airport with dedicated loading bays for skidded or palletized cargo and with separate cold rooms to manage specific temperature requirements for products such as cuttings.
As the company continues to invest in the perishables sector, Kenyan products are becoming more prominent in existing, mostly European, markets, but also in new ones, for example in Asia-Pacific
In a speech given at the inauguration of the new facilities today, Captain Gilbert Kibe, Director General of the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority, emphasized that the Kenyan government “remains committed to ensure that Kenya has an integrated and interconnected world-class transport infrastructure that facilitates sector growth and accelerates national economic development.”
Panalpina aims to grow its business in Kenya from the current 65,000 tons of flowers, fruits, and vegetables it moves, to more than 80,000 by 2020, bringing increased benefits for the local community in terms of employment and infrastructure, as well as sustainable development.
Panalpina’s growth in perishables has continued elsewhere in Africa, too. This year, Skyservices in South Africa joined the Panalpina family, and FX Logistics, a new agent in Zimbabwe, also became a member of the Panalpina Perishables Network.
The Panalpina Perishables Network currently spans 26 key countries worldwide and keeps growing.
“This facility will provide many business opportunities for our customers to pursue in Kenya, the region and the world, and that is what we are looking to achieve – solutions that foster growth for our customers, Panalpina and the communities where we operate,” said Stefan Karlen, President and CEO of Panalpina.
Panalpina first started operations in Nairobi in 2015 with a team of five people, which soon grew to 200 with the acquisition of Airflo, and later to 350 with that of Air Connection.
Today, Panalpina flies most of Kenya’s premium perishables out of the country.