The Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), which is Kenya’s biggest infrastructure project since independence and the flagship project under the Vision 2030 Development Agenda, launched last month as part of Madaraka Day celebrations after nearly five years of construction.
More than 10,000 tonnes of steel was used for the 609 kilometers of track between Mombasa and Nairobi. The trip, which typically takes about 9 to 10 hours by bus, has been reduced to about 4 to 5 hours.
Apex Steel Ltd, East Africa’s most trusted steel manufacturer with nearly 47 years of experience in raising the bar for quality products in the region, was the principal supplier selected by the contractor, China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC), to provide steel for the project.
CRBC business manager James Chen explained to the East African in 2015 that a supplier of high credibility offering quality products “can supply materials more efficiently and in a timely manner, which is beneficial to material planning and inventory management. “
In addition to the steel, all cement for the project was locally sourced and the railway cars were made in Kenya, resulting in the creation of more than 25,000 new jobs.
A major reason that Apex Steel was selected to supply steel for the SGR is that the company has pioneered the introduction of high-quality world-class steel to the region. In 2006, Apex became the first company in East Africa to manufacture Grade 500+ steel, which is the internationally accepted standard, at its state-of-the-art manufacturing plant in Athi River. Locally, Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) only requires manufacturers to produce Grade 460 steel.
Apex Steel is also the first company to have a world-class in-house testing facility that ensures that all steel manufactured and supplied to clients is of the highest quality.
Every meter of steel supplied to the SGR by Apex is branded with the trademark, “APEX TMX,” as an added assurance that the steel used has undergone a rigorous, German engineering process that ensures consistency and excellence.
APEX TMX is also the only steel manufactured locally that has received LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, making Apex the only steel company in East and Central Africa to manufacture steel using a process that is globally recognized as environmentally friendly. The certification, which is a rating system that evaluates the environmental performance of an organization, encourages market transformation towards sustainable design.
The SGR, which is a defining moment for the country and its citizens, is just one of many iconic projects that Apex Steel has been part of. In Kenya, the company has supplied steel for the construction of Thika Superhighway, Villa Rosa Kempinski, Westgate Mall, Sankara Hotel, Delta Towers, Lab and Allied, Sameer Business Park, CFC Bank, Purshottam Place, 9 West, One West, 14 Riverside, Hotel Radisson, Riverside Park, the Mombasa Port expansion, English Point Marina, Tsavo-Emabakasi Transmission Line, Tana River Hydro Power Plant, Southern Bypass, Northern Bypass, Sondu-Miriu Dam, Kwale Base Titanium, the Tsavo Transmission Lines and more.
Across the border in Uganda, Apex Steel has been used in building the bridge over the River Nile and the Kampala-Northern Bypass expansion.
The completed SGR line from Nairobi to Mombasa is just the first phase of a multi-country initiative that aims to connect Kenya, South Sudan, Rwanda, and Uganda. Once completed, the proposed railway will connect Mombasa to Malaba on the border with Uganda and continue onward to Kampala. It will further run to Kigali in Rwanda with a branch line to Juba in South Sudan. Branch lines along the route will also extend to Kisumu, Kasese, and Pakwach.