The plan to establish a cool logistics corridor has received a shot in the arm as Kenya Railways welcomes 20 new wagons equipped with power plugins.

This development is part of the larger acquisition of 250 train engines, recently received by Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen in the country.

To enhance the export of horticultural produce to the international market, the Ministry of Transport concluded a cabinet memo last year to establish a cool logistics corridor.

The existing infrastructure at transport corridors and the Mombasa port falls short in efficiently handling fresh produce, prompting the need for specialised facilities.

Cabinet Secretary Murkomen highlighted that 20 of the procured wagons are equipped with power plugins, facilitating the transportation of refrigerated containers.

This marks a crucial step in the establishment of a cool logistics corridor along the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR).

“The addition of refrigerated wagons will significantly benefit our horticultural sector, allowing us to cater to the preferences of customers worldwide,” stated Mr Murkomen.

The Kenyan government revealed last year that it had identified a Dutch investor to develop the infrastructure through a Public-Private Partnership.

The chosen investor has successfully implemented similar cool logistics corridors in South Africa and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

This development holds immense promise for farmers who, lacking proper infrastructure, previously had to transport fresh produce over extensive distances to JKIA or the port of Mombasa for export.

Such logistical challenges often jeopardised the quality of the perishable goods.

Stakeholders, voicing concerns at a horticulture conference in Eldoret last year, emphasized the adverse impact of the absence of a cool logistics corridor, leading to significant losses for many.

The prolonged transportation of horticultural commodities destined for Europe or the US by road has been a particular challenge, diminishing their shelf life before reaching the market.

Despite the potential role of Eldoret Airport in facilitating the export of fresh produce, it has remained underutilised, with only a limited number of cargo flights servicing the route.

The establishment of the cool logistics corridor is anticipated to address these challenges, providing a more efficient and reliable means of transporting perishable goods to international markets.