Klaipėda FEZ and its partners joined ADMIRAL – a pilot project for more sustainable logistics

The Admiral initiative, which brings together 21 partners from 9 EU countries, was officially launched in Espoo, Finland, in May, with the aim of creating a next-generation logistics service platform within 3 years to help reduce the environmental impact of the sector. The project’s Lithuanian partners include the Klaipėda FEZ Management Company.

According to the Admiral team, transport and logistics companies have so far been mainly concerned about their own pollution and energy consumption, but for this reason, less attention has been paid to the indirect environmental impact of the logistics sector. This is precisely the problem that the Admiral initiative will address by developing and promoting sustainable, multimodal, data-driven logistics solutions.

Admiral will focus on a next-generation marketplace platform to manage all supply chains and monitor the environmental impact of each link. The platform will aim to make multimodal logistics chains run more smoothly, make better use of existing capabilities and infrastructure, promote sustainable sourcing and other innovations. At the same time, the Admiral platform will aim to become an innovation hub for software developers who could create and teest new services. Admiral is expected to deliver not only a 20% reduction in the environmental impact of the logistics sector, but also to bring more transparency and resilience to the market.

The Admiral project members in Lithuania will be primarily responsible for generating digital documents and signatures between the different members of the logistics network. The Lithuanian part of the Admiral consortium will also take care of data integration and information dissemination in the logistics sector, and will develop solutions for the automatic calculation and distribution of CO2 footprints.

According to Darius Butvydas, Klaipėda FEZ Client Project Manager, although the transport and logistics sector is digitising, innovation in this business is rather slow and fragmented, the tools used by companies usually do not communicate with each other well, and there is almost no CO2 emissions calculation. The Admiral platform will seek to address all this.

“Klaipėda FEZ is participating in the project as a transport hub, i.e. we will provide our partners with our existing infrastructure (transport monitoring devices, 5G internet, etc.), while the other partner in the project, the logistics company CargoGO, will be testing digital tools in real time. Our data will be used to evaluate the improvements achieved. The pilot project is planned to be up and running within 36 months,” comments Butvydas.

The real outcome of the Admiral project, he says, will be a Europe-wide service ordering platform focused on transport and logistics efficiency and the calculation, assessment and mitigation of environmental impacts. The project will not only provide the ability to measure and understand the CO2 footprint across the entire service chain, but also to actually reduce it.

Admiral’s other project partner in Lithuania, UAB cargoGO Logistics, will provide the project with data and expertise, test solutions, optimise routes, improve driving styles and digitise processes. According to the company’s IT project manager, Lauras Pranckevičius, cargoGO is already testing a separate CO2 emissions calculation and reporting tools, which will enable it to offer customers the least polluting routes and services.

“We could offer customers the most sustainable, environmentally friendly route, with significantly lower CO2 emissions, contributing to a more sustainable future. The project would provide the logistics sector with a system that saves costs, avoids downtime and empty kilometres, and provides a sustainable service. The Admiral project as a whole will contribute to the interoperability of the different logistics chains, thus improving the communication between customer and carrier, to measure and calculate CO2 emissions, and to develop the organisations’ approach to sustainability,” comments Pranckevičius.

A total of 21 organisations from 9 EU countries are participating in the Admiral project. In addition to the Klaipėda FEZ Management Company, the Lithuanian Transport Innovation Association, UAB Cargo Sign, UAB Normalis Tech, CargoGO Group and UAB Trevio have joined the project in Lithuania. The project also includes representatives from business, academia and the public sector from Germany, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece, Croatia, Slovenia and Finland. Admiral is funded by the European Union.
For more information on the Admiral project, visit the European Commission’s website and follow its progress on Linkedin.

Important changes of LEZ’s Law

From 2024, national and foreign defence companies are allowed to set up in Lithuanian Free Economic Zones. 
On May 23, 2023, Lithuanian Parliament lifted a ban on those commercial activities in Free Economic Zones (FEZ) that are related to national security and defence, as well as to manufacture, storage and sale of weapons, ammunition, and explosives. The ban was in place since 1995.
The Heads of Lithuania’s major FEZ said, some foreign investors operating in the field of defence industry, have been expressing continuous interests, and the Parliament’s decision will open ways for technological innovations and progress. 

Source: https://lnkd.in/eEbFqUPh

Lithuania maintains its top 3 position in EU for FDI jobs per capita

The latest manufacturing sector report by Invest Lithuania states that even in the face of turbulent global markets in 2022, Lithuania continued to gather recognition for its performance in attracting FDI. Last year, Lithuania was rated 1st in the EU for FDI based on Greenfield FDI performance index, the country retained its 3rd place in Europe for FDI jobs per capita, and the Lithuanian manufacturing sector demonstrated overall resilience and adaptability. Also, almost 70% of companies operating in Lithuania plan to introduce new manufacturing functions or significantly expand existing ones.

Over the past several years, the manufacturing industry experienced multiple shocks, from the Covid-19 pandemic forcing manufacturing plants to suspend operations, to semiconductor shortages that led to certain industry disruptions, to lastly having to adapt to the sharply increased energy prices in continental Europe in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. These shocks had a profound impact on FDI, the survey states.

Lithuania however has managed to maintain a steady third place across all EU members in terms of new jobs created per 1M inhabitants throughout both the pre-pandemic and postpandemic periods, only being surpassed by Slovakia and Hungary. Interestingly, in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, Lithuania created the most jobs per 1M inhabitants in the entire EU (600 FTEs).

Also, Lithuania was the 3rd in Europe in terms of CAPEX investments, experiencing an average 22% increase during pre-pandemic and post-pandemic periods. Lithuania’s CAPEX investments per project increased by 124%, much faster than both in the EU and the CEE. One potential explanation for the decreasing number of workers and increasing capital expenditure investments could be that in the post-pandemic period companies are keener to invest in automatization, resulting in more capital-intensive projects with lower employee requirements.

The Invest Lithuania report also surveyed 62 foreign manufacturing companies operating in Lithuania from a variety of sectors. The survey saw continued evidence of the positive trend of companies pursuing expansion projects. Almost 68% of the companies surveyed are planning to introduce new functions or significantly expand existing ones in 2023-2024, with 66% planning to expand production, 13% engineering, and another 10% R&D functions. Despite concerns over the global economic situation and geopolitics, 23% of the companies are planning to expand two or more of their functions in Lithuania in the following year.

To support this growth, respondents indicated that they are, on average, expecting to hire 46 FTEs within 2023. Again, it’s an increase on the previous year, when companies indicated plans to hire 32 FTEs, on average. During 2023, 77% of the companies are planning to hire new employees. More than a third of the respondents are planning to hire at least 30 FTEs, with eight companies planning to increase their workforce by more than 100 FTEs over the following year.

Lithuania’s talent pool has displayed remarkable adaptability and resilience against such a tumultuous backdrop. In 2022, Lithuania placed third in CEE for attracting and retaining talent. The survey findings also show that voluntary attrition rates at foreign companies remained rather stable at 19%, displaying only a 1% increase compared to the year before. Meanwhile, the overall attrition rate in Lithuania remained at around 30%. This is unsurprising as foreign companies operating in Lithuania have a successful track record of attracting and retaining great talent.

The survey results show that cooperation between foreign investors and local educational institutions remains high, with approximately half of the companies surveyed reporting that they worked together with universities/colleges and/or vocational schools on a regular basis. Not only that, the majority of these companies (67%) chose to cooperate with more than one institution. 

Although cooperation with educational institutions is common in Lithuania, not all foreign companies choose to go down this route. For the majority of those who do not cooperate (40%), the reasoning is quite simple – they do not require it. For others, the rationale is more complex – some companies lack the information needed to take advantage of such partnerships, or it may be that there are no suitable educational institutions to collaborate with.

Regardless of whether a company cooperates with an educational institution or not, the main method of upskilling people was found to be internal training. A staggering 82% of surveyed companies chose to educate people within the organization and are planning to continue doing so in 2023. In general, the survey findings show that 92% of manufacturing companies have some type of employee training. This is not surprising, especially considering that, with the rise of manufacturing 4.0, the workforce is facing an increasing need to strengthen their digital and technical skills.

Klaipėda is listed in the Invest Lithuania study as a city with key competencies in port engineering, metals, plastics and the food industry. Last year, the port city employed almost 29,000 people in manufacturing – a larger proportion than in Kaunas or Vilnius. Unemployment in Klaipėda was 5.9% last year, slightly higher than in Kaunas or Vilnius, but lower than in the other main cities of the country. Also, almost 11,000 students started their studies in Klaipėda at the start of the school year in 2022.
The Invest Lithuania survey also explored areas such as supply chain disruptions and companies’ response, diversity and inclusion, hiring times, non-salary benefits, energy sustainability, CSR and real estate. 

Construction works of companies “Biokona” and “SIRIN Development”

Important news at Kaunas Free Economic Zone!

“Biokona”, a leading manufacturer of biogas plants and related technologies, is building a new manufacturing unit of 1,500 square meters on a 0.6 ha land plot. The new unit will focus on the production of modular equipment and metalworking.
 “SIRIN Development”, a real estate development and management company, has begun the first phase of construction of a warehouse complex. This complex is taking place on a 3.6 ha land plot. 

“Plus Windows” construction of an extension at Šiauliai FEZ

Norwegian company Plus Windows completes the construction of an extension in the Šiauliai Free Economic Zone. It will be an aluminium products department. 

This expansion will allow the company to increase its capacity, better manage inventories, create new jobs and meet growing consumer needs. This year’s turnover is targeted of €9.2 million, as sales in the aluminium sector are expected to increase.

The company has completed the first phase of the construction in 2021. That year, it moved from rented premises in Kuršėnai, Šiauliai District to a new factory of almost 5,000 sqm, which has already been built in the Šiauliai FEZ. Part of the production equipment has been transferred from Norway.

“Pon.Bike at Kėdainiai FEZ

On February 23 a symbolic time capsule was buried in the foundations of the PonBike factory building at Kedainiai Free Economic zone. 

“The confidence shown by Pon.Bike in Lithuania and Kėdainiai FEZ in particular is an important indicator for businesses that are still considering potential locations for their investments. If Pon.Bike trusted us, you can trust us too”, says Giedrius Valuckas, Member of the Board of Kėdainiai FEZ.

The Pon.Bike factory will be operational in summer 2024. By then, the bicycle manufacturer plans to create 300 new jobs in Lithuania, doubling the number to 600 employees. 

The Kėdainiai plant has been granted the status of a major investment project by the Ministry of Economy and Innovation. This makes it much easier for new investors to settle in Lithuania.

The start of the construction of the factory was announced by the Minister of Economy and Innovation of the Republic of Lithuania Aušrinė Armonaitė, Vice President for Operations of Pon.Bike Janco van der Heiden, Chairman of the Board of the Kėdainiai FEZ Domas Dargis and other guests.

Some important facts about the Pon.Bike factory:

  • This will be the company’s eighth factory and will meet the highest standards of sustainability and clean production through the use of modern technologies. The company’s other factories are situated in the Netherlands, Germany, the US and Brazil.
  • Up to 600 new jobs are planned to be created in Lithuania. 
  • The plant will be ready for opening in the summer of 2024.
  • Once fully functional, the factory will produce up to 450 000 bicycles a year.
  • The new factory will assemble bikes by various world-famous brands including Gazelle, Kalkhoff, Focus, and Urban Arrow.

VIDEO: https://fb.watch/kj94nLjvql/

Albright Lietuva expands in the FlexStart 2 building of Klaipeda FEZ

Albright Lietuva UAB, a British-owned manufacturer of electrical switches operating in the Klaipeda FEZ, has completed a EUR 1.5 million expansion project in the specialised production building FlexStart 2. The company has moved its entire soldering activities for electrical contacts to the new premises and established a new stamping department.

Albright Lietuva, which has been operating in its own building in the Klaipeda FEZ since 2007, had been exploring various expansion options for some time but finally decided to expand into the FlexStart 2 project being developed by the FEZ management company.

“We decided to move our contact soldering department to FlexStart 2 because we were very short of storage space in our own building. Soon we had the idea of not only soldering the contacts in the new premises but also producing the blanks for them ourselves. Before, we used to get them from external suppliers. Therefore, this move is both a relocation of activities and an expansion and new functions. All this will ensure a timely supply of contacts for the production of switches and reduce logistics costs,” comments Ramūnas Barcevičius, Managing Director of Albright Lietuva.

The company started the expansion project in the FlexStart 2 building in September and completed it earlier this year. According to the CEO of Albright Lietuva, the decision to move into this building was not only due to the neighbourhood but also the possibility of adapting the premises to individual needs. The new premises are already home to 25 colleagues, with the possibility of growing to 30 later.

The company has rented 1,000 sqm of space and operates under the same roof as Retal Baltic Films and other companies. FlexStart 2 has a total area of 8,500 sq m. The first flexible production building FlexStart, developed by the FEZ management company back in 2017-18, was immediately fully leased and was awarded the Financial Times group’s award for quick investor launch.

According to Eimantas Kiudulas, the CEO of Klaipeda FEZ, this is the second move by an existing FEZ investor into FlexStart buildings in a few months. Recently, UAB Retal Baltic Films, a PET packaging manufacturer, also announced its expansion in FlexStart 2.

According to preliminary data, Albright Lietuva’s turnover in 2022 was EUR 25 million, 19% higher than the previous year. The company expects a 14% growth this year, but the difficult global business environment is still complicating its forecasts and plans.

“Esco Medical Technologies” to not only produce but also develop medical equipment at newly-built plant

Starting with only three employees a decade ago, today Esco Medical Technologies has more than 70 employees and is actively looking for new ones. Spaces for its expanding ambitions and growing team are being built on a plot rented in the Kaunas Free Economic Zone (FEZ). The plan is a medical equipment plant, with approximately €15 million to be invested in it.

One of the strategic directions of the activities of the Kaunas Free Economic Zone (FEZ) is focused on attracting high-tech companies engaged in R&D. This is exactly what Esco Medical Technologies, which develops and manufactures equipment for fertility clinics and laboratories is and it announced this November the start of construction of its new medical equipment factory. 

The company has been working in Kaunas for a decade. Starting as manufacturers of laboratory and pharmaceutical equipment, this Lithuanian/Danish team created its first incubator.

“Even then we already had the product and the people who knew the specifics of the market, so we offered the life sciences company, Esco, to invest in a newly-created company that would develop and produce medical equipment specifically for artificial insemination laboratories,” remembers Evaldas Pečiūnas, a spokesperson for Esco Lifesciences, owned by shareholders in Singapore.

After the creation of AT Medical, part of which was acquired by Esco in 2010, it employed three people to produce a single product. In two years, the team had grown to almost 15 people, and its product range — up to four device models. In 2015, Esco became a well-recognised name in the medical equipment market and one of the leading manufacturers of incubators. In 2018, Esco Group acquired the remaining assets of AT Medical and the company was renamed Esco Medical Technologies.

Currently, the company produces more than 10 different devices and is developing new ones: all Miri series incubators are created and produced in Lithuania, Kaunas produces benchtop and timelapse incubators, validation systems, and laminars for IVF (artificial fertilisation) processes.

Kaunas has excellent specialists, but still lacks programmers

The company has 75 employees and is actively looking for new ones. Currently, there are mechanical and electrical engineers, programmers, and IT specialists.

“Considering how the market is recovering, I am sure that we will need a lot of new team members. In the last month alone, we have recruited four people. But unfortunately, we are still limited by a lack of space, which is why we look forward to the new building in the Kaunas FEZ,” says Mr Pečiūnas.

When assessing the situation of the labour market in the Kaunas region, representatives of the company claim that they do not have the right to complain and are happy that excellent, hard-working people, responsibly and diligently performing their work, actively participating in the life of the company, are joining the team. However, there is still a general trend — the lack of programmers.

“We have not yet been able to attract as many as we would like — perhaps we have not yet found the right way to search for them or offer what such specialists expect. As far as I can see, this problem is not ours alone,” says Esco’s representative.

The company grows the right professionals for its positions both from young people who have just graduated from university or are still studying, and it attracts experienced professionals from other businesses of a similar profile. But even the latter need time to learn, to understand the subtleties necessary for successful work with Esco products.

“We don’t attract foreigners directly as there are enough local specialists, and we work with colleagues from other subdivisions of the group. In addition, we are always happy to present attractive offers to people returning to Lithuania from abroad, who, having made a successful career abroad, decide to use their experience for just as successful work here in Lithuania,” says Mr Pečiūnas about attracting specialists.

New products are time-consuming

In Kaunas, Esco not only manufactures products but also creates them. The company’s R&D department employs mechanical and electronic engineers, as well as programmers and biologists — a total of about 10 people. Eight more people work in Denmark to develop innovative products.

To this end, there is close cooperation with scientists from various Lithuanian and foreign universities. Speaking about partnerships with higher education institutions, Mr Pečiūnas mentions successful long-term cooperation with Prof Vidas Raudonis from Kaunas University of Technology, researchers from the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, who helped achieve excellent results, and consultations with physicists from Vilnius University.

“I can only rejoice in all these connections and that, despite the high employment rate of people in the field of science, we always receive the highest level of support and help from them. By the way, we are also assisted by foreign scientists — specialists from Austrian and Spanish universities. I could hardly imagine the growth of the company and the creation of new equipment without such cooperation.”

Typically, the need for the development of new products is dictated by both customers and the manufacturer’s insight and identification, trying to advance and offer a new approach to some processes. However, it takes time to present innovations: to make it from an idea to the consumer, the product usually takes at least two years, and some Esco projects have been under development for 4−5 years without the finish line in sight.

High-tech products also require relevant knowledge shared by the manufacturer during meetings and training. These are organised for technicians from different countries around the world, teaching how to service the equipment produced in Kaunas. Therefore, the new Esco building in the Kaunas FEZ also includes a so-called showroom — a hall where all the company’s products will be exhibited. Seminars, working sessions, and training for potential clients will be organised here.

Currently, the Kaunas FEZ has attracted 53 foreign and local investors, applying advanced technological solutions and developing innovative products. Since the first investor in 2005, to today, more than 7,800 jobs have been created in the territory of the Kaunas FEZ and more than €1.2 billion of direct investment has been attracted.

Not only the big ones appreciate the attractiveness of Kaunas FEZ

When we talk about businesses that move to free economic zones, we imagine large greenfield investments and spacious production or logistics buildings, but in reality, the advantages of the FEZ are increasingly appreciated by the companies that do not require a large space for their operations. As the example of Kaunas FEZ shows, the choice of such companies is greatly influenced by synergy with other businesses already operating in the area, extremely convenient transportation and, of course, the tax relief.

Drawn by the neighboring technology industry and the airport

UAB SKYCO AE, a design and production company focused on aeronautical products, became one of such settlers representing smaller businesses in the Kaunas FEZ.

The company specializes in design, prototyping and manufacturing services and has a wide range of production capabilities, including the production of metal, composite, plastic products in accordance with aviation quality standards. So, it is no coincidence that when talking about moving to the Kaunas FEZ, the company representatives mention the Kaunas airport – located right next to it – as the first thing that attracted them.

“When we were looking for a new location for our development and further growth, we turned to Kaunas FEZ for several reasons. First of all, it was about the opportunity to make use of such FEZ advantages as well-developed infrastructure and tax benefits. But equally important for us was the neighborhood of potential partners and the concentration of minds in one place. In our field, we often have to use the services of specialized companies for processes that would be uneconomical to develop in-house, so the neighborhood of the technology industry is extremely useful for saving time and other resources. The location of FEZ, which is strategic for our industry, had a great influence on our choice. We settled next to Kaunas airport, where the largest aircraft maintenance companies are concentrated. And this means that better opportunities for cooperation open up. Finally, Kaunas FEZ has a really good transport system, and this facilitates the commute of our employees, suppliers, and customers,” Gytis Leonavičius, director of SKYCO AE, names the reasons for choosing Kaunas FEZ.

In addition to collaborating with the neighboring business, the company builds close partnerships with higher education institutions. This spring, it started cooperating with the Kaunas University of Technology (KTU). The company accepts interns, and it suggests topics for coursework and final theses, trying to ensure that the topics correspond to what is currently relevant in the industry and making sure that the projects are developed toward their practical application.

Since aircraft design/production is inseparable from scientific research and experiments, SKYCO AE joins the ranks of companies focusing on R&D activities in the Kaunas FEZ.

“If one direction of our activity – the design and production of commercial aircraft components – requires applied research, calculations, and tests in certified laboratories, then the other direction – experimental light aircraft projects – requires wider scientific and technical research and experimental work (in aerodynamics, strength of composites and technologies, electric and EDF-type power plants and other areas),” Gytis Leonavičius explains. The company that he leads is determined not only to expand Lithuania’s aircraft design and production capacities in accordance with European standards but also to raise the qualifications of aviation specialists and contribute to turning Lithuania into a North/Eastern European aviation center.

Inspired by foreign colleagues

Changes in another company operating in the Kaunas FEZ – UAB Timbela & Ko – were dictated by the pandemic period. Having worked for many years as a wholesaler of wood products for the garden, home, or homestead, the company faced a decrease in sales at the supermarkets during the pandemic, so it had to look for ways to reach the end user and sell products to them directly.

“That’s how we discovered the path to online commerce, and it proved very successful. In 2020 our sales grew by 73 percent and in 2021 by 93 percent,” Vilius Grigaitis, the CEO of the company, says.

Such a drastic increase in sales forced the company to look for new premises as the number of employees, whose comfortable working conditions had to be ensured, also grew.

“For many years, while driving past the Kaunas FEZ, I kept noticing its rapid growth. While visiting business partners in various countries, I noticed that many of them were also located in business zones that allow industry and warehouses to be effectively separated from residential areas. So, when we started looking for a place to expand, it is not surprising that our eyes turned to the Kaunas FEZ. When choosing the office, the focus was on good working conditions, convenient communication and road network, and sufficient parking space for employees’ vehicles. In 2020, we rented office premises in Kaunas FEZ and when the opportunity arose, we bought one of the offices with a warehouse,” V. Grigaitis says.

Currently, Timbela & Ko focuses on DIY-type assembled products that can be conveniently transported to any country and assembled by the user according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

They place a great emphasis on sustainability. The company uses the FSC® certified Scandinavian timber, which, during the production process, due to very effective engineering solutions, barely leaves any waste. This allows the company to operate sustainably and also to offer competitive prices to its customers.

The product range includes more than 200 different types and sizes of wooden garden or children’s playhouses, woodsheds, containers, storerooms, and other products. 92 percent of the Lithuanian company’s products are exported to Europe (mostly France, Germany and Austria, as well as Italy, Spain, etc.).

An attractive real estate investment

REES, the real estate development and consulting company implementing the FEZ business park project, provides such companies as Timbela & Ko with an opportunity to purchase a business facility, which was implemented as a Build-to-Suit real estate. The company had the idea to develop such business-oriented objects after observing the need that was stemming from the market. As the representatives of the company have said, it is easier for businesses to purchase or rent ~800 – 1,000 m2 premises than the smaller ones of ~300-600 m2. Therefore, it was decided to offer a rational solution – high-quality representative buildings built in a strategically convenient location with convenient transportation and a well-developed and reliably maintained infrastructure.

After the implementation of the first phase of the Kaunas FEZ, a total of five buildings of approximately 600 square meters were built, which can accommodate 8 companies. In the planned second phase of this project, the total area of the buildings that will be constructed will amount to 24 000 m2.

The buyers of REES’s first-stage properties consist of both businesses focused on development and companies that invest in and rent real estate. For example, Adampolis Group is one of the largest groups of companies in Lithuania that sells, rents, and services commercial and non-commercial transport and special technology. In addition to the main activities, one of the companies of the Adamopolis Group works in real estate development. The projects under development are fully customer-oriented, as new real estate is built according to the customer’s needs and then rented. In total, this company owns 3 buildings with a total area of 1,500 m2 in the territory of Kaunas FEZ and all of it is leased.

According to the representatives of Adampolis Group, one of the most important factors that encouraged investment in the Kaunas FEZ was the opportunity to quickly find tenants, and tax reliefs that are given only in the free economic zones. Since the buildings managed by the Adampolis Group are intended for rent, these advantages also attract the attention of future tenants.

Until today, Kaunas FEZ has attracted 53 foreign and local investors who apply advanced technological solutions and create innovative products. From the first investor in 2005, until today, more than 7,800 jobs have been created in the territory of Kaunas FEZ and more than 1.2 billion euros of direct investments have been attracted.

UAB “Divaks” – the new investor at Baltic FEZ

New investment is coming to the Marijampolė Free Economic Zone (FEZ): a factory will be built, producing high added-value nutritional proteins. The project should be announced soon, and the year-long construction is expected to start in spring 2023.

It is planned to build a factory with up to 100 employees, most of them highly qualified specialists.

“Bringing a new company to the Marijampolė FEZ requires a lot of preparatory work, many meetings, coordination, negotiations and trips to ministries in the capital. I am therefore delighted every time this kind of work bears fruit and another investor, selected in accordance with our strategy, creates new jobs in the FEZ.

The arrival of new companies is also beneficial to Marijampolė’s small business community, which can develop by providing services to larger, export-oriented businesses and thus increase the income earned by local residents.

The establishment of each newly-arrived high-tech company is an achievement for our city, because it proves that high value-added jobs can be created not just in the big cities. We will continue to work so that there would be more companies like these,” says the Mayor of Marijampolė, Povilas Isoda.

Already looking for employees

Kęstutis Lipnickas, head of UAB Divaks, established in the FEZ, says that the company operates in a new and rapidly developing niche of the food industry, and the project is funded by both foreign and Lithuanian investors.

“Until now, our attention has been focused on foreign partners: after successfully creating the pilot project, we met with potential investors, conferred with future buyers of our products, negotiated with equipment suppliers, performed testing, documented production, and now we are starting factory design and planning construction.

Although our investors and the future buyers of our products are concentrated abroad, we decided to build a factory in Lithuania because we want our work to bring its first benefits here. We chose Marijampolė FEZ for its convenient logistics, ready infrastructure and availability of the qualified specialists we need. In addition, we felt a lot of support from the team of Marijampolė city officials and the FEZ management company,” says Lipnickas. 

The factory is expected to begin operating in mid-2024 and is expected to reach full capacity a couple of years later. However, the company’s representatives are already looking for future employees among university students studying food science, biotechnology and engineering.

Coordinating the volume of investment

“Marijampolė’s FEZ is accelerating. Our operational foundation consists of industrial production in segments that in Lithuanian sound like “the 3 M’s”: metalas (metal), mediena (wood) and maistas (food). It is the companies in these sectors that are most active in the Marijampolė region, and at the same time there is a growing number of specialists in these sectors, who make our city attractive to other companies in these industries,” says Simonas Petrulis, Director of the Marijampolė FEZ management company.

The factory will be allocated a plot of about 4 hectares in the Marijampolė FEZ. The total amount of the investment is still being finalised.

© LAFEZ visos teisės saugomos 2021