News: USACE completes Gereshk Storage and Distribution Center, Afghan small business owners to gain access to cold, dry storage facility for produce
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan — In keeping with its commitment to address some of Afghanistan’s most pressing infrastructure needs, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completed the Gereshk Storage and Distribution Center in Helmand province in July. The cold and dry storage facility will be used to store, process and transport produce.
USACE awarded the nearly $3 million project to an Afghan-owned and operated engineering and construction firm in September 2011. The project included the design, materials, labor, and equipment necessary to refurbish existing warehouse structures, construct facilities, utilities, loading docks, and other infrastructure required for a fully functional storage and distribution center. The facility provides nearly 13,000 square feet of dry storage and 10,000 square feet of cold storage.
The project was funded through the Commander’s Emergency Response Program. CERP projects focus on responding to urgent humanitarian needs while providing significant employment opportunities for Afghans, explained USACE project manager, Robert van der Borg, a certified project management professional who deployed to Helmand from the USACE Portland District.
Another key goal of the CERP initiative is to enhance the capacity of the national, provincial, and local governments in Afghanistan to provide essential services to its citizens. The Afghan Ministry of Commerce and Industries will manage the facility; local, Afghan small business owners will operate it. Produce, especially pomegranates, of which there is an abundant supply in Helmand, will be stored, processed and distributed at the center.
“Construction of the project provided Afghan engineers and tradesmen with a much-needed income and now that it is complete, may help enable local small business owners to develop or expand their businesses,” said van der Borg.
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