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International Business Chooses Klaipėda: In Some Areas, Lithuanians are Exceptional
Lithuania has a port that can receive the world’s largest ships, has excellent motorways and connections, but the most important factor attracting major foreign investors to a country is very highly qualified employees. Heads of several large companies operating in Klaipėda explained why foreign investors choose the port city as their business home and in which areas Lithuanians are exceptional, Delfi.lt, a major Lithuanian news website, reports.
In May 2013, Fortum, the Finnish capital company, started operating at Klaipėda Free Economic Zone. Its main activity is the production of electricity and heat from municipal and industrial waste. This plant employs only 35 people, but it currently receives waste from the whole Lithuania; also, it partially supplies the country with electricity and Klaipėda City with heat. According to Tomas Eikinas, Head of the Company, modern equipment, automated processes, and highly qualified specialists are the factors distinguishing this company as a leader in Europe.
“The efficiency, reliability of our business are important indicators in Europe, according to which the power plant work is assessed. Referring not to our conclusions, but the ones of foreign experts who have tried to offer us their services or who have provided us with those services, our power plant is regarded as a leader in Europe. It is natural that this has been achieved through team’s work, following values and addressing the challenge of questioning the status quo.
The Lithuanian nation has experienced tough times, but those times have strengthened our people, have taught them to survive, achieve their goals, be innovative, flexible, able to adapt, compete with specialists from other countries, and even overtake them in a number of areas,” T. Eikinas assures and reveals that the company also has ambitious plans to lead in the bio-economy area. According to the Head of the Company, the team is capable, ready, competent and eager to face serious challenges.
As T. Eikinas claims, Finnish investors chose Klaipėda Free Economic Zone for its good location, well-developed infrastructure and because the city is more liberal and more receptive to innovations. This municipality decided not to dispose waste to the dump, but to use it for energy.
Lithuanians do not Produce Cars, They Build Ships
Arnoldas Šileika, Director General of the Western Shipyard group of companies, which is the largest shipbuilding and repair company in the Baltic States, assures that Klaipėda is successful in attracting investment primarily through the consistent joint work.
“I really think that Klaipėda is a city of great opportunities. Looking at the development of Klaipėda, we can see that the city has done a lot to make itself attractive for future investments and investors. We have two large industrial and business centres: the port and well-functioning Klaipėda Free Economic Zone. In my opinion, most of the success of these two important points depends on the managers or owners of the operating companies and on the attitude and work of the city authorities seeking to create favourable conditions for businesses to flourish, “claims the Head of the group of companies consisting of about twenty companies. A. Šileika adds that Klaipėda is also attractive to new investors for its excellent geographical position, which allows exporting production or getting raw materials through the port, as well as producing complex constructions or equipment and transporting them to the sea. At the Free Economic Zone, investors are attracted by the favourable conditions to create new production capacity within a very short time.
“Klaipėda has also taken another exceptional step: the drawing up of an economic development strategy until 2030, in which the most important directions of urban development have been determined. The blue economy including the marine industry, the bio-economy, the advanced industrial economy, the services and creation economy, has been agreed by all: urban politicians, educational institutions and business structures. Targeted work should turn this ambitious strategy into reality,” claims A. Šileika.
In addition to this, Klaipėda has one of the lowest unemployment rate in Lithuania. According to the Head of the group of companies, this proves that business and industry sectors in Klaipėda are really strong ones investing and creating new jobs, in this way causing a high demand for employees. A. Šileika claims that companies look for employees not only in Klaipėda, but also in the nearest Klaipėda districts, cities and towns. “Our country could produce and build more ships, carry out more projects, but we face the shortage of workforce. Nonetheless, I believe that Klaipėda with its unique geographic location, well-developed infrastructure, culture, and excellent nature will encourage people to come here, live and develop their career, “ says A. Šileika.
Lithuania does not build aircraft, does not produce cars, but it builds ships. This is our uniqueness. Those ships sail over the world and send a message about our hardworking people, existing projects, and make Lithuania well-known. ”
Geography and Personal Qualities of Employees are Valued
Neo Group, the foreign-owned company based in Klaipėda, produces the most commonly used plastics for the production of soft drinks bottles. Its Head Ruslanas Radajevas states that the port city was the most suitable option for this type of a company as raw materials for it are supplied by ships, and foreign investors welcome Lithuanians as employees. “Probably everyone often repeats, but in fact, it is true that we have highly qualified employees in Lithuania. This is a huge advantage. Lithuanians are keen to take new challenges and have a desire to achieve goals. Lithuanians are indeed the ones who want, are able to work; it is visible and appreciated,” claims the Head of the Company.
According to him, the company following western standards can boast a very slight change in the number of employees. A lot of employees have been working here since the establishment of this company. “I encourage everyone to come to work wearing a smile. We already have enough stress in our lives. We come, do our job, and go home to rest, “claims R. Radajevas. The Head of the Company considers that Klaipėda will not disappear from a list of foreign investors in the future. “If investors look at the map, they initially choose a region, then a country, and finally a city. If they choose Lithuania, the main advantage is the port, which is big and does not freeze. Last year, one of the biggest ships arrived here, and we were included into a list as one of the thirty world’s ports to which such ships can be received. Indeed, this is a significant event not only for our city but also for the whole Lithuania”, believes R. Radajevas.