Klaipeda Economic Development Agency presents the overview of the interviews with biggest foreign business investors in Klaipeda region.
Lithuania is no longer a cheap labor force country yet the production costs remain lower in comparison to the markets in the Western Europe. However this is not the only one competitive advantage to attract foreign investors to Lithuania and particularly Klaipeda.
Klaipeda FEZ - among the top five
Klaipeda Free Economic Zone is one of the most promising and best business conditions offering free economic zones.
The premier Foreign Direct Investment (fDi) Magazine of Financial Times recognized Klaipeda Free Economic Zone among the winners of Global Free Zones of the Future 2010/11. Klaipėda FEZ has been ranked the 5th best Free Zone in the world in the category of “Best Facilities", and also listed as the 20th most attractive Free Zone in the overall ranking.
According to Eimantas Kiudulas, the general director of the Klaipeda FEZ management company, Lithuania is not a country focusing on mass production. However if an investor wants to produce reliable products to the EU market cost efficiently and if goods must be delivered quickly and on time, if shows interest in our neighboring markets in Scandinavia, Russia and Ukraine- Klaipeda is definitely the best place.
"Every investor wants to settle as quickly as possible, whether it is an industrial or a logistics company. Currently we own 412 hectares of land. We welcome both large and small, and, narrowly-focused or specific projects, because we have prepared the entire necessary infrastructure, we lease production and storage facilities, and we can build for an investor a building he needs to manage the project from the beginning to the "turn of the key". We have long-term partners who provide services of logistics, construction, juridical, engineering and other together with us", says E. Kiudulas.
Klaipeda Economic Development Agency director Raimonda Laužikienė points out that under the city's marketing and communication strategy the biggest attention is given to investment encouragement in the service business, particularly in logistics, the development of modern service centers, as well as the traditional high-value-added industries (e.g. plastics, food production). Creation of new work places for Klaipeda University and other schools' graduates today is more important than the actual investment volume.
Currently Klaipeda city municipality is preparing criteria to exempt foreign investors from paying real estate and land rent taxes based on individual agreements. Hopefully the new resolution will be adopted by the next year.
They successfully invested in Klaipeda
„Lithuania is still a developing country. I still see a lot of opportunities in Lithuania in any business sector. There is a lot to do there in Klaipeda and it might be quite easy to create something new, because you will be first so there is no competition. The quality / price ratio is better here than in Scandinavia. It is not correct to say that Lithuania is a low cost country, but the costs are lower than in Scandinavia", notices Joacim Bernhardsson, Swedish honorary consul and Baltic Business Center director, who lives and works in Klaipeda for many years.
Over nine years Western Shipyard became a profitable company after it was acquired by BLRT Group. According to the Fjodor Berman, CEO of the BLRT Grupp, one of the greatest Klaipeda advantages is ice-free port and favourable geographical position. Also - good infrastructure, good staff and professional experts - from the workers, to the engineers and managers.
The first foreign-owned stevedoring company in Klaipeda port - Klaipedos Smeltė has ambitious development plans for the coming year. According to Rimantas Juška, Chairman of the Board of Klaipedos Smeltė, the company is focused on investment in the development of container handling business and plans to create an international container distribution centre accepting high seas 6000-7000 TEU container ships, bypassing traditional Western European ports.
The general director of Orion Global PET, O. P. Mishra, points out that there is no dearth of skilled personnel in Klaipeda. Even a new industry could flourish with suitable trainings and attitude to the staff who are quick in grasp and well qualified.
Excellent conditions for business and foreign capital in Klaipeda is also noticed by real estate investors. James Andrew Clarke, CEO of BNTP Group was one of the first ones to notice the potential for renting out quality business premises in Klaipeda. "If Western Europe is referred as the consumer market then Lithuania has the advantage because it's more adaptable and closer to the market, whereas China is two months away from the market", notices James A. Clarke.
„Albright International" wanted to start manufacturing in Eastern Europe and Klaipeda was chosen based on the logistic advantages. According to Kevin Holland, the Operations Director for Albright Lietuva, the tax advantages were clearly an incentive and Klaipeda FEZ in comparison to other free economic zones was far more organized.
Dmitri Sobolevski, CEO of the Glassbel Group, chose to set the business in Klaipeda because of the emotional sympathy to Lithuania and rationally because of good geographical location and services provided by FEZ Administration.
Advice for a potential investor
If you are thinking to invest in Klaipeda do not hesitate to ask for advice. Large organizations planning to set up a manufacturing unit overseas should contact Klaipeda Free Economic Zone. A smaller businesses looking for a reliable partner or facilities are recommended to speak with Klaipeda Economic Development Agency.