Klaipėda Free Economic Zone (FEZ) has received main awards in the categories of digitisation and red tape reduction in Investment Monitor’s Economic Zone Sustainable Recovery Strategies Awards, as well as additional mentions in the fields of Industry 4.0 and positive impact on the city. The awards will be presented on Wednesday during the Barcelona New Economy Week digital conference.
Klaipėda FEZ earned the overall award in the digitisation category thanks to its constant progress toward digitising the territory while developing the model of a sustainable, smart and green industrial zone as per the general EU vision. The FEZ is currently implementing or has completed projects in spheres such as smart car parking, traffic volume monitoring, the internet of things for manufacturing, green energy and others.
The other main award was received in the category of red tape reduction, with the achievement being the result of Klaipėda FEZ, the city’s municipality and Klaipėda ID working together. The ratings made note of the “green corridor”, which was completed last year and tested in practice with the new investor REHAU. This solution allows for faster issuing of construction documents for companies that invest more than 3 million euros and create at least 20 new jobs.
The awards also recognised Klaipėda FEZ’s connection to the city and its communities – the FEZ companies’ support and volunteering in the midst of the pandemic, the joint implementation alongside the city residents of an odour monitoring project and other projects. The organisers also took note of the FEZ’s initiatives in the industry 4.0 context.
According to the head of Klaipėda FEZ Eimantas Kiudulas, this recognition from Investment Monitor is a reflection of the FEZ’s persistent strategy to focus on high and higher added value operations and sustainability.
“We sometimes forget that in small countries and communities, we can more quickly and more flexibly make forward-looking decisions, which generate long-term value. This recognition should contribute to presenting Lithuania and Klaipėda to the world as being innovative, and business and innovation-friendly. We will certainly not stop in terms of promoting innovation and the reduction of bureaucracy and, together with the Klaipėda FEZ business and the city’s academic community, we will seek to further strengthen talent development, attraction and retention,” E. Kiudulas says.
Klaipėda ID head Eglė Songailienė states that the organisation is already improving and expanding the “green corridor” programme.
“Having been tested in practice, the “green corridor” has been met with growing interest from investors and intermediaries and it will continue being improved. Our next step is the optimisation of the full construction process across related institutions at the city and national levels. We are delighted to contribute to the increasingly smooth communication between business and the public sector, and even more delighted to see the results of this smooth cooperation in terms of new investors and jobs,” E. Songailienė states.
While Vida Staskonienė, the director at the Business Development department at Invest Lithuania, says that all Lithuanian free zones contribute to both investment attraction and country’s reputation.
“We are happy for the recognition Klaipeda FEZ received, as well as a modern example the zone displays. We hope that we will further showcase Lithuania as a modern and progressive country,” V. Staskonienė says.
The Investment Monitor awards were presented in a total of eight main categories this year: digitisation, COVID relief packages, local impact, new investment, red tape reduction and sustainability and environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG).
Klaipėda FEZ is the longest operating and leading free economic zone in Lithuania. Forty-five companies operate out of the 412-hectare territory, with a combined turnover of 927 million euro in 2020, with almost 478 million euro in exports.
Since Klaipėda FEZ began operating, 747 million euros have been invested in the zone with most of this sum being foreign direct investment. Over a hundred companies and almost 6,000 employees work in the territory. Investors at Klaipėda FEZ predominantly specialise in PET, electrical transport and components, food industry, industrial equipment and other spheres. Some of the companies at Klaipėda FEZ perform not only manufacturing, but also intensive scientific, research and innovation activities.