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One actual and five in mind
Only one contract has been finalised in the Klaipeda Free Economic Zone (FEZ) this year. Its Management Company, though, says that the marketing activities have been effective: over 50 potential investors took interest in business conditions in FEZ, and contracts are planned with at least five of them next year.
“An operating agreement with a fish processing company from Russia was signed, however, on request of the customer its name has not yet been announced”, said Povilas Vasiliauskas, Chairman of the Board of Klaipeda FEZ Management Company UAB.
Another two companies have launched design and construction works this year: Fortum Klaipėda, UAB, commenced laying foundations of the waste incineration plant, and construction works were initiated by Haidelberg Cement Klaipėda, UAB, which intends to open the cement import logistics terminal. Investment of the companies will amount to approx. 0.5 billion Litas and 10 million Litas respectively. The Chairman of the Board of the management company is certain that investors would be attracted if the project for a simplified procedure of planning on the FEZ territory is approved. This legislative instrument would enable changing the land plot size and configuration without detailed planning procedures within 50 working day time. “This would represent an essential advantage to investors as it would enable to cut implementation of investment project by 12 months on average”, said Mr. Vasiliauskas.
This year Management Company of the Klaipeda FEZ has updated its website, published new illustrative materials on the Klaipeda FEZ which was distributed in exhibitions, conferences and business fairs, however, it does not disclose any data on extent of investment in advertising and promotion. The newly made contacts are prospective; businessmen from both Europe and Far East showed their interest in the FEZ. According to Mr. Vasiliauskas, potential investors from Norway, India, United States, Russia, Finland, Belgium, Denmark, Holland, United Kingdom, South Korea, China, Germany, Belorussia, Italy and a few representatives of the Lithuanian business expressed their interest in the opportunities of operation in the FEZ. Representatives of shipbuilding, aircraft, automotive, oil and fuel, solar energy and other industries were interested in the business development in the FEZ. According to Mr. Vasiliauskas, cooperation agreements for market research and search of investors with 7 foreign partners were signed.
It is acknowledged, however, that continuous renewal is required for sustainable development of the FEZ in order to satisfy expectations of investors. Managers of the zone hope that next year they would be able to start using the expanded FEZ area comprising total 112 hectares. This year a draft decision of the Government on definition of the Klaipeda FEZ boundaries has been prepared and approved by relevant authorities, the decision, however, has not been passed. The FEZ now operates area of 412 hectares.
The key infrastructure improvement works include construction of the new transformer station that will provide extended capacity; it is also expected that the Ministry of Transport and Communications will approve funding of the new Lypkiai Street from the next year budget of the Lithuanian Road Administration. It is expected that the rainwater harvesting system will be renovated because the current one has exhausted its operating capacities.
“For this reason implementation of new investment projects has become an issue. Therefore, investment projects for improvement of rainwater harvesting systems on the FEZ territory have been produced and submitted to the Ministry of Economy. These projects have been handed over to the Ministry of Finance for decision making concerning funding in the period 2012-2014. This project has been included in the State Investment Programme”, said Mr. Vasiliauskas.