Key players in the transport sector have laid out their bold new vision for Lithuania’s transport infrastructure, including major changes that will directly benefit businesses based in Klaipeda FEZ. Proposed new developments of Klaipeda port will cement its position as the regional hub for freight between the Nordic region and China, while improved rail connections will increase the flow of young talent into the port city.
In a panel held as part of the 2018 Lithuanian National Economic Conference, the Minister of Transport and Communication Rokas Masiulis, the Deputy Director of Lithuanian Railways, Adamas Ilkevicius, the CEO of Klaipeda FEZ, Eimantas Kiudulas, and other key players met to discuss a new strategy for Lithuania’s transport network. In particular, emphasis is to be placed on improving connectivity and mobility between the country’s three main cities, Vilnius, Kaunas and Klaipeda.
Rokas Masiulis, the Minister of Transport and Communication, emphasized the need for greater inter-modal mobility by increasing the existing air, road, rail and sea links between the three regional centers. With Lithuanian roads already some of the best in the CEE region, focus fell on innovating the rapidly modernizing rail system. With successful new trains and services to Kaunas and Klaipeda having come on line in the last two years, Lithuanian Railways is keen to capitalize on the gains it has made. Mantas Bartuska, CEO of Lithuanian Railways, aims to increase freight capacity by 25% and introduce faster passenger services. This expansion will be fueled by a new €250 million tender for infrastructure electrification. Lithuanian Railways is also planning to reduce the travel time from Vilnius to Klaipeda from 4 hours down to 2.5 hours.
These developments are set to further consolidate Klaipeda’s position as the region’s leading logistics hub. The Port of Klaipeda is the largest port in the Baltic states in terms of capacity, and the most profitable port in the EU. It has become a focal point for trade flows from Scandinavia to China, with this trend forecast to strengthen in the coming years. The Port of Klaipeda’s CEO Arvydas Vaitkus explained that plans are being drawn up to enlarge the depth capacity of the port to allow larger freight carriers to enter the port. There will also be a new master plan for accelerating the planning process for inward investment and developments within the port.
Ideally placed to benefit from these developments is Klaipeda FEZ, the port city’s award winning free economic zone. Improvements to the port coupled with increased mobility for talent within Lithuania will be beneficial to Klaipeda FEZ, as its CEO Eimantas Kiudulas pointed out. “Improvements to Lithuania’s transport infrastructure will consolidate Klaipeda’s position as a key logistics point for freight from Scandinavia to China,” said Mr Kiudulas. “And improving rail connections between our major cities, for example reducing travel time between Vilnius and Klaipeda by 50% or more, will improve the mobility of both talents and businesses. I would like to see a national transport agency set up that could drive forward these developments,” Mr Kiudulas concluded.