KAA sets up packaging plant to spur cargo exports from Kisumu airport

Kisumu airport

Former President Uhuru Kenyatta when he commissioned the Kisumu International Airport expansion project in Kisumu County in May 2022.

Photo credit: Pool I Nation Media Group

The Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) is seeking an investor to develop a packaging facility for export cargo at the Kisumu International Airport (KIA).

The airport kicked off its cargo business on January 8, 2022 with an inaugural trip to the United Kingdom (UK) as part of plan to boost international trade. The maiden cargo flight carried one tonne of chillies.

The airport targets to export of up to 42 tonnes of fresh produce from Western Kenya and the East African region on a weekly basis.

The KAA said the inaugural cargo flight has prompted prospective customers to make inquiries on the warehouse and pack house facilities at KIA as well as the procedures involved.

“KAA is therefore looking for bidders with both national and international experience in packhouse facility. The preferred operator is flexible in the product offering as well as packhouse design and should be able to react to shifts in demand and industry trend developments” KAA said in a tender call.

The airports manager said the facility would link KIA with exporters and leading world markets on air cargo operations.

Speaking when he officiated over the maiden cargo flight from KIA, Kisumu Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o urged for upgrade of the airport to include freight services and cold rooms, saying it would spur agriculture in the region.

“There's need to rethink agricultural policies from subsistence farming and establish a roadmap towards long-term agricultural production. This will not only spur investments and industrialisation but will catalyse job creation leading to sustainable livelihoods and reduce poverty in the region” he said.

“The developments you see here today will create boundless opportunities for horticulture, fisheries and meat products from the region,” Prof Nyong’o added.

The Kisumu airport is strategically positioned to serve the great lake region and it is the third busiest in the country in terms of passenger movement and is accessible through road via public vehicles, airport ground transport and private transport.

Recent expansion

he recent expansion of the airport infrastructure has brought about additional revenue through the provision of additional commercial sites for rentals and increased aircraft landing as well as use of bigger aircrafts.

Growth in revenue and customer experience level is expected to increase.

Last week,fresh produce exporters were urged to take advantage of a stop-gap trade deal between Kenya-UK to grow the country’s market share in the European nation.

Kenya mainly exports agricultural products such as fruits, flowers, vegetables, coffee, and tea to the UK and imports vehicles, machinery, pharmaceuticals, textiles, and electronics from the UK.

The UK market accounts for 43 percent of total exports of vegetables from Kenya as well as at least 9 percent of cut flowers.

“We think we have done all the right things in Kenya to sustain a level of commitment to building what is necessary to foster growth to continue to build our infrastructure, to continue to work on our ICT, our tourism infrastructure, and committing to work on value addition,” Kenya’s High Commissioner Manoah Espisu, told a forum in London, organised by Bramex Logistics and the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI).

Kenya signed an economic partnership agreement (EPA) with the UK on December 8, 2020, before it was ratified by the UK Parliament on March 5, 2021, and by the Kenya National Assembly on March 9, 2021.

Kenya is pursuing a new bilateral trade deal with the UK post-Brexit, hoping to cushion its economy after partner states of the EAC failed to conclude an EPA with the EU. Only Kenya signed and ratified the deal.


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