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Swiss logistics firm Panalpina puts Sh500m in JKIA cold storage



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Panalpina Global president and CEO Stefan Karlen at JKIA in Nairobi on November 29. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU 

International forwarding and logistics services firm Panalpina has invested Sh500 million in a new cold storage facility for fresh produce at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

Panalpina global president Stefan Karlen said the new facility will expand the current cold storage facility from the initial 3,500 square metres with the new fully equipped 1,500 square metres facility.

Mr Karlen said the new investment the firm’s faith in the fresh fruits, vegetables and flower business in Kenya and will give farmers a last-mile solution as well as enable buyers directly engage producers.

“We started off with five jobs in 2015 before raising it to 200 employees when we partnered with Airflo and after we bought out the 75 per cent majority stake in 2016, we have since expanded our services and now employ 300 staff members,” he said.

Kenya Airport Authority managing director Jonny Andersen welcomed the expansion saying last month’s launch of direct Nairobi-New York flights provided horticultural and flower farmers a new opportunity to sell products directly to the American markets.

Currently, Kenya sells mainly textiles worth Sh36 billion directly to US retailers but the new direct flights will channel direct sales of flowers, fruits and vegetables.

Mr Karlen said Panalpina currently handles 65,000 tons of fresh produce targeted to increase to 80,000 tons by 2020.

The listed Swiss firm currently handles Kenya fresh produce that is exported to 26 countries in Asia, Middle East, Europe, Australia and recently America.