Kenya: China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) has signed agreements with local firms for the provision of materials and equipment it will use for the construction of the Standard Gauge Railway.
Among the firms that have already inked major deals with the Chinese contractor are local cement manufacturers. The firms are expected to supply most of the cement that will be used in construction of the new railway between Nairobi and Mombasa.
“We have so far signed deals with local cement companies as our cement suppliers, such as Bamburi Cement and Athi River Mining (ARM) Cement. We are also negotiating a cement supply contract with Savannah Cement, East African Portland Cement and other cement manufacturers,” said He Yongjian, Procurement Manager of the Nairobi-Mombasa SGR project.
“With the commencement of the project, these suppliers will provide cement to our camp sites from time to time.” Mr Yongjian spoke at a recent meeting between CRBC and the cement manufacturers. He added that other than cement, the firm has recruited other suppliers of equipment and materials such as suppliers of explosives and oil.
CRBC has also held meetings with local steel manufacturers and will soon agree on the standards that the manufacturers will need to conform to before signing agreements for the supply of steel. The local cement industry expects the railway project to significantly boost their revenues.
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Bipin Bhatia, the commercial director of ARM said there is adequate capacity among local cement firms to provide all cement that will be needed for the project. “There is more than enough capacity, both in terms of quality and quantity for production of all cement that may be required during the construction of the railway,” said Bhatia during the meeting.
He added that the railway project would increase the per capita consumption of the cement in the country, which is still low compared to global consumption levels. “The current per capita consumption of cement in Kenya is 100 kilogrammes.
This is in comparison with countries like South Africa (350kgs) and Egypt (540kgs). We have a long way to go and SGR provides a big impetus to grow the per capita consumption of cement,” said Bhatia.