Klaipėda’s Free Economic Zone (FEZ) secured five awards, including one for Quick Launch opportunities, at the Global Free Zones of the Year 2017 rankings published by Financial Times’ fDi Intelligence service annually since 2010. Klaipėda FEZ has been also recognized for its specialism in the plastics industry, contribution to the national economy, energy efficiency and expansion of its investors.
This year, Klaipėda FEZ became the first ever and the only free economic zone to receive the Quick Launch Award from fDi Intelligence. Eimantas Kiudulas, CEO of Klaipėda FEZ, says this was a recognition of a long-term strategy and concrete steps to ensure fast starts for future investors and quick scaling opportunities for the current ones.
‘For instance, our Fast Factory Launch scheme offers companies sites complete with necessary construction permits, and the ability to make minor edits to customise the site to an investor’s needs. Additionally, Klaipėda FEZ offers a haul of ready-to-use offices, warehouses and production facilities, and a range of on-site construction, infrastructure and HR services for one‘s quick launch or expansion,‘ Mr. Kiudulas says.
Lithuania‘s largest and oldest free economic zone has also been recognized by fDi Intelligence for Contribution to National Economy. Klaipėda FEZ companies generate about 2,5% of Lithuania's GDP and account for about 3% of exports. The latter figure beats all other free zones in Lithuania to enjoy the largest share of Lithuania’s FDI inflow. Exports from Klaipėda FEZ totalled 635M EUR in 2016 at 887M EUR of total investors' turnover. 27 investors currently operate at Klaipėda's FEZ.
An Specialism Award in the Plastics industry has also been secured exclusively by Klaipėda FEZ this year. Mr Kiudulas suggests that the current portfolio in the plastics industry puts Klaipėda FEZ on the European plastics map. The FEZ has leading European PET makers Indorama and NEO Group on board, also a leading PET preform maker Retal operates in the zone, let alone the plastic plumbing makers Ani Plast and a strong R&D partnership with Klaipėda university.
‘However, we also see Klaipėda in the spotlight of a promising bioplastics industry in the near future together with Klaipėda‘s municipality,‘ Mr Kiudulas says.
Finally, Klaipėda FEZ won two more awards for its energy efficiency projects and for expansions of its investors. The former award has been founded on a smart lighting system and, most importantly, a biofuel plant installed by one of investors for its own needs, but sharing residue heat with other FEZ companies and the city. The Expansions award has been given with regard to a 50% increase of manufacturing capacities by NEO Group, Klaipėda‘s FEZ largest investor, and similar plans by Advantec, an oil&gas technology company recently acquired by General Electric.
The Global Free Zones of the Year rankings and awards are compiled annually by Financial Times’ fDi Intelligence arm – a service minoring the foreign direct investment market.
Klaipėda FEZ has been operating since 2002 and was the first of the six free economic zones currently operating in Lithuania. The FEZ has an area of 412 hectares and hosts companies engaged in the production of plastics, electronic devices, and steel structures, as well as energy and metal processing companies; the choice of these companies was due to the location, availability of qualified employees, and the infrastructure of the region. Today, Klaipėda FEZ is one of the most actively managed free economic zones in Lithuania according to the scope of attracted investment and the number of jobs created.
To date, 27 companies employing over 2,500 people have signed agreements on the operations in Klaipėda FEZ. Two-thirds of the companies are foreign capital companies. Most of the products produced in Klaipėda FEZ are intended for export.
The number of companies operating in the territory of Klaipėda FEZ, including investors and small- and medium-sized businesses concentrating on them, exceeds 100, and these companies employ over 4,000 people.
Klaipėda FEZ was recognised as an economic project of national significance by a special resolution of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania.