Trade Mark Africa CEO David Beer and Finland Minister for Trade and Development Tavio Ville sign the African Continental Free Trade Agreements in ICD Naivasha. [Antony Gitonga, Standard]

Finland has praised Kenya’s move to export horticulture produce by sea rather than air, terming it environmentally sustainable. 

Through the visiting Minister for Trade and Development Tavio Ville, the Finnish government said the European Union (EU) had been rooting for sea transport for several years.

“The EU together with member States have been a driving force for the change from air to sea in the transportation of horticultural produce,” he said.

This came as Finland committed to provide financial support to the African Continental Free Trade Agreement. Kenya is among the countries that will benefit from the project that will be undertaken by TradeMark Africa (TMA) to unlock the potential of intra-African trade. Mr Ville said Finland believes in free trade, adding that trading across borders was necessary to ensure a more prosperous future.

The minister was speaking at the Inland Container Depot (ICD) in Mai Mahiu, Naivasha after signing a trade agreement with TMA.

He lauded the work done by TMA in lifting regional barriers in the East Africa region, noting that the agreement would push for more environmentally sustainable ways of moving goods.

“We shall support TradeMark Africa’s strategy with 12 million Euros (Sh1.6 billion) for core funding for three years and this agreement is an excellent show of political will,” Ville said.

TMA CEO David Beer said the company was keen on transitioning from air freight to sea on high-margin horticulture produce.

“We are working with international partners like Finland to help drive the transition from air freight to sea freight for economic growth,” he said. Mr Beer said TMA was supporting the Mai Mahiu ICD to develop a logistics master plan while enhancing the electrical infrastructure.