In a bid to increase exports of leather and apparel products to the global market, the government has partnered with the private sector to introduce a Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) line extension to Athi River Export Processing Zone. This project, worth Ksh 3.7 billion, will be implemented through a private-public partnership (PPP).
The extension will comprise a railway sliding and a layby to accommodate up to 10 trucks. Additionally, a 450 square meter warehouse, a two-story office block, and a parking lot capable of holding 30 small vehicles will also be constructed. The project is expected to take 24 months to complete and is aimed at attracting both local and international investors.
To facilitate transportation of raw materials and export garments, two cargo trains will be made available to ferry goods to and from the zone and Mombasa. Funding for the project is expected to come from the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) and other entities.
Three Cabinet Secretaries, namely Kipchumba Murkomen, Moses Kuria, and Florence Bore, were present during the inspection of the proposed railway siding project and industrial sheds at EPZA. They underscored the importance of cutting production costs and improving competitiveness within the zone.
Moses Kuria, the Trade and Industry CS, expressed the government’s desire to attract more investors that would create at least four million jobs annually in Athi River EPZ. Kipchumba Murkomen, the Road, Transport, and Public Works CS, said the government was seeking more partnerships with the private sector to develop new infrastructure countrywide. He also noted that the railway link would reduce transportation costs and attract more investors to the country.
Finally, CS Bore stated that the new NSSF contributions made by Kenyans since February would serve as a launching pad for the ministry to partner with other government departments on projects that target maximum returns on the pension fund.