Event ‘Klaipėda for business 2020’

On 28 January, Vilnius welcomed the ‘Klaipėda for business 2020’ event aimed at the Klaipėda’s business community and organised by Klaipėda ID, the Klaipėda FEZ and the Port of Klaipėda. The developers of the Klaipėda’s business environment and their leaders shared insights into the opportunities available in the city and in the free economic zone, and offered strategic solutions leading to faster development of the region.

Žygimantas Mauricas, an economist and a PhD in Social Sciences, presented a report on an intriguing topic ‘Klaipėda: a City with its Own Port or a Port with its Own City?’ Mr Mauricas has eloquently called Klaipėda the ‘sleeping beauty’ with its economic growth stopped at a certain period in time losing ground to Vilnius and Kaunas. According to statistics, the GDP growth in Lithuania for 2015-2019 was 3.3% with Vilnius reporting 4.4%, Kaunas, 4.3%, while Klaipėda, only 1.7%. Speaking a little later about the Klaipėda FEZ company that he manages, its head Mr Kiudulas positioned it as the strongest and largest in Lithuania having attracted industrial giants and being one of the region’s key components of development. Nonetheless, the two presenters unanimously agreed that the potential of the Klaipėda region was not fully maximised. Therefore, they proposed specific solutions that would open up more opportunities for investors if the city and the region of Klaipėda chose to take advantage of them. Economist Mr Mauricas was pleased to note that Lithuania had been evolving from a country of emigrants into a country of choice for immigrants which could offer skilled labour across a variety of sectors.

The head of Klaipėda ID, Simas Simanauskas, presented a report on the following subject: ‘More Space for Growth’ sharing highly optimistic forecasts for the development of the city. It is anticipated that in 2030 it will have a staggering 2,000 new enterprises established, 25,000 jobs created and as much as EUR 1.5 billion worth of foreign investments attracted, while the exports will grow by an astonishing 200%. Mr Simanauskas introduced the financial incentive opportunities for enterprises looking to set up in Klaipėda city and welcomed the new directions offered by the airport. He also spoke about the demand for young, energetic and skilled professionals.

The Director for Infrastructure and the interim CEO at the Klaipėda State Seaport Authority, Vidmantas Paukštė, spoke on ‘The Development of Port Areas: Opportunities for Investors’. The leader revealed the strategic objectives set and consistently pursued such as the increased depth of the port, the improvement of navigation safety and the development of the area. Mr Paukštė was pleased to note that the port’s areas were ‘recruited’ several times better in terms of efficiency than comparing with the neighbouring ports; yet there was still huge potential for growth. The Port of Klaipėda is one of the strategic factors behind the foreign investors’ choice of the Klaipėda FEZ or the Klaipėda city for their investments.

The head of the Klaipėda FEZ, Eimantas Kiudulas, presented a report on the subject called ‘Klaipėda FEZ: New Success Stories’ and listed Lithuanian and foreign companies that had successfully launched there. The leader stressed that tax incentives applied not only to foreign companies, but also to Lithuanian companies making investments worth EUR 100,000 or more. Mr Kiudulas has introduced the electric bus Dancer, which is as much as 30% lighter than the competitor bus, while its battery charge takes up to 10 minutes. The Dancer bus has a certificate of compliance with security and technical requirements. For this reason, it may be used for passenger transportation in all countries across the European Union. One bus already successfully offers its shuttle service in the Klaipėda FEZ. Mr Kiudulas presented the vision for the Klaipėda FEZ of having a town created inside the city to offer all necessary infrastructure for the staff: catering facilities, nurseries and sports grounds. The aim is to raise the interest of current and future staff at the Klaipėda FEZ in working comfortably and efficiently inside the area. The leader also introduced the FLEXSTART project which helped investors, taking advantage of the available opportunities, launch their businesses in the Klaipėda Free Economic Zone in an incredibly short period of time. Mr Kiudulas pointed out that there was ongoing development of new premises for potential investors in the Klaipėda FEZ because a while ago, when the companies had been offered the spaces suitable for their businesses and appropriate infrastructure, the existing areas were let out almost instantly.

Mindaugas Kulbokas, a real estate expert and analyst at Newsec, spoke on ‘Klaipėda: a Port, the FEZ and the Quality of Life’ sharing fascinating insights about the real estate market in the port city. Klaipėda has a lot of room for development in terms of this field as there is a shortage of office space. That said, companies are actively working towards this goal. Mr Kulbokas sees extensive opportunities for Klaipėda to grow as a city of innovation and industry in the near future.

The reports were followed by an engaging discussion which grew the idea that the development of the Klaipėda region primarily required appropriate educational institutions to train skilled professionals for existing and future companies. The role of the local authorities in facilitating the launch of new businesses and creation of jobs was also discussed. Synergies among businesses, educational institutions and municipal authorities are crucial to achieving the region’s development objectives as a rapid breakthrough is only possible through active cooperation among the three parties mentioned above.

The discussion of the five speakers was moderated by journalist Živilė Kropaitė. A little later, the head of Invest Lithuania (Lithuanian: Investuok Lietuvoje), Mantas Katinas, was invited to share his insights, and he talked about the importance of education and science too.

We are delighted with this highly valuable event for the business community and we look forward to mutually beneficial conferences in the future.

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