On the busy Langata Road, an imposing billboard erected a few metres behind Wilson Airport momentarily distracts weary southern Nairobi commuters who have to bear with the pain of traffic snarl-ups every morning.
In a place where posters are mainly about new products in the market or recently finished residential houses seeking tenants, the advertisement behind the airport is quite unique in some aspects.
It introduces Tilisi Project which is described as a logistic centre set up on 85 acres of land along the Nairobi - Nakuru highway.
The commercial goes ahead to promise how, thanks to the project, warehousing facilities would soon be available to companies transporting goods along the highway that basically links Mombasa port to the landlocked states of Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, DRC and South Sudan.
The project located in Kiambu represents a new concept, aimed at encouraging industrial development away from capital cities where logistics firms grapple with heavy traffic and human congestion.
Seventeen warehouses will be constructed at the Tilisi site to provide packaging centres, each with its own shops, petrol stations and bus bay for ease of movement of products and people, the project’s promoters say.
The business targets multinational delivery companies seeking warehouses to hold stocks before distribution, among them DHL and Jumia.
Tilisi co-chief executive Kavit Shah said the logistics centre will serve companies that do not have warehouses.
“We see the Tilisi logistics estate as a key contributor to Kenya’s economic growth and success, with many companies having insufficient warehousing capacity and insufficient access to facilities for repackaging and dispatch,” said Mr Shah.
“Our concept in developing Tilisi is to fill the gap in logistics availability, and provide infrastructure and exceptional facilities for residential developments that include the kind of outdoor space, community living and serenity that are hard to find in the city,” added Ranee Nanji, CEO of the project.
The officials said they are currently in negotiation with the Kiambu County and Kenya Railways to pave the way for the development of a commuter station serving industrial workers and residents.
“We are also in advanced negotiations with Kiambu County and the Kenya Railways to ensure we get a commuter station on the eastern side of our suburb, said Mr Shah.
Kiambu County is among the most urbanised of Nairobi’s neighbouring counties, at 60.8 per cent urbanisation, driven by investment projects.
Tilisi development project is drawn up by Planning Systems, an engineering company, on a 400-acre plot. It hosts a logistics park, residential and commercial centres.