Jumaa Kareem all.
Locally renowned fast food chain, Steers, sought the tender to have a restaurant at the much hyped Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, specifically at Terminal 1A. Guaranteed to have floods of foot traffic consisting of international travel, securing this lucrative deal would have been a profitability coup: and indeed it was. We can only imagine the elation that executives of Steers parent company, Hoggers, must have felt when they were awarded the tender…and the rage when it was snatched away again. Soon after bidding was closed, Dubai firm Suzan General succeeded in convincing the Procurement Oversight Authority to rethink the bidding process, and eventually, yanking the tender right from Steers into its own waiting arms.
Of course things have not been rosy at JKIA since then either: Mother Nature has not been known to be forgiving, and a recent episode of flooding reminded JKIA staff and engineers alike of that quite clearly. Kenyans had barely concluded arguing about the questionably tendered buses at JKIA before the very buses were halfway submerged in waist-depth water shortly after Madaraka day – perhaps a sign that JKIA should expand into shipping along waterways? Poor planning or willfully ignoring known flood-prone spots – it seems we’ll never know, and never learn. All we can do is hope the engineers behind the upcoming expansion of the Mombasa-Mariakani highway have a bit more forethought and consideration for weather events.
Yes, the Africa Development Bank green-lit a concessionary loan to the Treasury aimed at upgrading the highway to a dual carriageway. The KES.10.4 billion goes towards reducing or altogether eradicating the nasty traffic snarl ups that impede the flow of vehicles from the port of Mombasa. While Kenyans may be accustomed to nightmarish traffic situations, the Mombasa-Mariakani highway also serves vehicles headed to nearby countries that happen to be landlocked and rely on our port for their shipping needs.
Of course, such attempts at making life easier for our EAC neighbors also need to be focused closer to home. In spite of continues talks, treaties and promises, Kenya’s relationship with Tanzania continues to be on rocky ground as a result of non-tariff barriers to free flow of goods and people across either border. For all the good that forming the EAC seemed poised to deliver, very little has to date been realized. Customs officials on either side continue to shuffle blame internally and across the borders as traders and travelers continue to suffer, or even opt for more questionable, and less legal ways to hop across country lines quickly and with ease.
Much as the ability of supply chain managers to freight goods into Tanzania remains woefully limited, internal freighting options continue to expand and seem more lucrative by the minute. With Rift Valley Railways acquiring new locomotive engines in 2014, rail freighting of cargo in Kenya has increased by a clean 24.3 percent so far. Additionally, the preexisting fleet in the care of Rift Valley Railways was rehabilitated to continue to increase capacity. Where passenger traffic progresses in a nosedive from previous years, at least the logistics industry has cause to celebrate!
We in the supply chain management path are always on the lookout for exciting new stories that mean good things for us, are you? Wishing you a well informed weekend.