KENYA – Kenyan importing and distribution company, Fruitbox Ltd., has inaugurated a state-of-the-art cold storage facility worth USD 1.5 million in Nairobi in a groundbreaking move to revolutionize fruit security across Eastern Africa.

The facility, designed to house 800 pallets of fruit and equipped with seven loading docks, signifies a leap forward in the region’s quality control and fruit handling standards, drawing from an integrated European approach to cold storage.

Fruitbox Ltd. was formed in 2014 and is a collaboration between Kenyan entrepreneurs and South African companies,  Vitanova International and Tru-Cape Fruit Marketing, spearheaded by individuals deeply rooted in Kenya’s fresh produce industry, Sandip Jethalal and Bhaumik Shah.

Nico de Lange, the chairman of Fruitbox Ltd., highlights the evolution of their infrastructure: “We transitioned from leasing cold storage to crafting purpose-built facilities, a crucial step in advancing our business.”

Nico underscores the company’s unique market leadership, emphasizing their meticulous fruit classification upon arrival and storage based on quality and shelf life standards, a practice exceptional within Africa.

“In optimizing fruit condition and aligning with market demands, our precision in fruit handling stands out,” Nico adds.

Sandip Jethalal, Fruitbox’s general manager, emphasizes the company’s value addition through an exemplary reporting system and a robust cold chain.

“Our commitment involves relaying data to suppliers promptly, ensuring that fruit, from arrival to storage, doesn’t exceed an hour,” he said.

Simon Cabral from Vitanova International highlights their strategic commitment to Fruitbox Ltd.’s development in East Africa stating how they envision collaborative efforts with suppliers and customers to offer superior service in this challenging sector.

The facility’s innovative design, strategically located within the Tilisi development near Nairobi’s CBD and major highways, streamlines Fruitbox Ltd.’s fruit reception from sea or air freight, allowing seamless distribution from a single location.

Roelf Pienaar, Tru-Cape Fruit Marketing’s managing director, stresses how this storage capacity amplifies their reach across East Africa, emphasizing Kenya’s pivotal role as a trade gateway to neighboring countries like Uganda, Rwanda, and South Sudan.

Acknowledging Nairobi’s sporadic power outages, Fruitbox Ltd. is currently leveraging diesel generators while planning to integrate solar panels in phase two of the project. Their expansion blueprint aims to double capacity within the next two years.

The significance of Kenya as a trade hub resonates strongly in Fruitbox Ltd.’s operations, with a substantial portion of their imported produce destined for cross-border trade and a smaller fraction allocated to the local retail market.

For all the latest fresh produce industry news updates from Africa, the Middle East, and the World, subscribe to our NEWSLETTER, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.