The construction company behind the standard gauge railway project, China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) is in the process of buying over 5,000 tonnes of steel worth more than Sh330 million from local manufacturers in support to the project.
The firm has previously purchased smaller consignments from different Kenyan steel makers. CRBC said the move to buy the 5,250 tonnes (5,250,000kg) of steel bars will be their first large-scale local purchase of steel since construction of the new railway began. The steel bars are expected to meet requirements for construction of culverts and bridges foundation for a period of three months.
James Chen, the firm’s business manager at the Department for External Relations and Co-operation said they have tested the participating suppliers steel products in their SGR project centre lab and they have met the requirements for the project.
The five steel manufacturers that presented their bids on Friday to supply the bars at the CRBC offices in Nairobi are, Apex Steel Mill Corporation, Steel Makers Limited, Devki Steel Mills, Prime Steel Limited and Tononoka Steel.
CRBC will examine the quotations and select a suitable supplier form their pre-qualified list, based on the stability of their production capacity, good sales performance, excellent quality control and lower price variations.
“After this meeting, CRBC will evaluate the tenderers’ business, service ability, quality and price stated in the bidding document. Eventually, one or several suppliers will be awarded the tender,” said Chen. He added that sourcing materials within Kenya has the benefits of supplying materials to the contractor in a fast and efficient manner and contributing towards the growth of local Kenyan businesses at the same time. CRBC has been paying close attention to local procurement of materials. Materials such as cement, steel, fuel and ballast are sourced locally.
Speaking at the Friday meeting, senior officials from the steel manufacturers also expressed their fears of shortage or spikes in the prices of steel during the SGR project construction phase. They noted the industry has in the past supplied steel to other mega projects in the country and East African region while at the same time servicing other local industries.