The Lithuanian sea port of Klaipeda hopes a new logistics center will bolster its already strong position as a regional transport hub.
The project was born out of a 1996 assessment by the European Commission on integration of transport networks in the EU with those in the candidate countries. The overall aim is to create a single multimodal transport network with 10 trans-European corridors, two of them crossing Lithuanian territory.
The Klaipeda Logistics Center is a newly formed joint Danish-Lithuanian company. Construction is to start this year in consultation with Kent Bentzen, who has participated in the establishment of 38 transport and logistics centers in Europe and is vice president of Euro-platforms, an association of 76 European transport centers in nine countries.
The center is initially expected to occupy a 92-hectare site in Klaipeda's free economic zone and within five years could cover as much as 300 hectares. Bentzen foresees it catering for around 180 direct transport providers and employing around 1,500 people.
Investments of between 130 million dollars and 300 million dollars are being sought, and the project is to be run on the basis of close cooperation between private companies and public authorities.
Ultimately 85 percent of ownership could be in private hands with Lithuanian institutions owning the rest, said Henrik Christiansen, a member of the center's board.
The center will comprise large warehouses, transport terminals, and a trade and transfer zone where goods can be loaded and transferred between road, rail and air.
The main shareholders are the Danish development group DFC Groups, Klaipeda's Hoja Fund and the Danish logistics company NTU.
A number of international corporations have voiced support, including Carlsberg, Danzas, Statoil, Volvo and Scan shipping.
The project also raises hopes of an express train link between Klaipeda and Moscow.