Dynamic Lithuanian port city gears up to showcase what it can offer as an ideal business-friendly destination for Nordic investors and maritime solutions providers looking to expand their sphere of operations.
Cross off 15-16 September in your calendar for the Klaipeda Manifesto: Blue Economy Conference. The two-day event will share insights into the status of ocean industries in the Baltics and explore opportunities for Klaipeda’s future growth as one of Europe’s leading Blue Economy cities.
“Our aim is to strengthen awareness of our strong maritime cluster and the benefits we can offer as an affordable and easily accessible hub for maritime operations,” says Diana Manko, Head of Business at city development agency Klaipeda ID.
According to the European Union (EU)’s Blue Economy Report 2022, the maritime industry including transport, ports, fishing, aquaculture and coastal tourism accounts for 4.45 million direct jobs in the EU and generates close to EUR 670 billion in annual turnover. “Klaipeda is uniquely placed to seize opportunities in this burgeoning sector that is essential for human welfare and prosperity,” Manko adds.
The conference will focus on partnership potential between the Scandinavian and Baltic regions, explore the potential of the Blue Economy and provide a networking platform for investors and businesses. “Klaipeda Manifesto will bring together leading policymakers, academic scientists and business entities to exchange and share their experiences and results on all aspects of the Blue Economy. It also provides an outstanding interdisciplinary platform for researchers, practitioners and educators to present and discuss the most recent innovations, trends and concerns. Overall, it will be a great opportunity to consider practical challenges and solutions for the Blue Economy and Blue Growth,” says Manko.
The conference will feature over 200 participants from Norway and Lithuania, more than 30 prominent keynote speakers and three in-depth panel discussions. It will address nine core topics including Seafood Production and Seafood Trade, Renewable Energy, Blue-Green Economic Policy, Maritime Startups, Cyber Security, Digitalization and Maritime Tech, Investment and Baltic Blue Economy Unicorns.
For the convenience of the delegates, Klaipeda Manifiesto will be a hybrid event held both in the Klaipeda Culture Factory and online. Capacity for in-person participation is limited, and places will be filled according to order of registration. The event is free of charge, but registration is compulsory.
A wealth of benefits
Klaipeda’s vision is to become a globally acknowledged Blue Economy hub offering rapid solutions as the best place to live, work, rest and invest in the Baltic region. “Reflecting the Klaipeda 2030 Economic Development Strategy and Action Plan, Klaipeda has the capability to provide services and develop advanced technologies to advance the Blue Economy alongside Nordic partners. Our job is to advise on how to get established, plug into the ecosystem and access incentive schemes,” Manko says.
As well as robust ICT and LNG communities, the city’s maritime cluster has strong traditions in shipbuilding, repair and engineering/design, logistics and stevedoring. The region’s higher education institutions, which offer the full range of maritime studies from shipping and port engineering to marine hydrology and biotechnology, ensure a continuous inflow of multilingual, creative young professionals to help companies grow. “Incorporating in Klaipeda ensures you get high-quality personnel at a cost that leaves space for profit. Setting up a business also involves minimal bureaucracy. Things have changed massively over the last 20 years,” adds Manko.
Klaipeda enjoys excellent transport connections. The Palanga international airport serves business hubs in Scandinavia and Europe, while Klaipeda Port is the top EU port in the Baltics in terms of shipping volumes. As Lithuania’s main shipping gateway, it can accommodate large ships of all kinds, with a strong focus on paperless customs procedures and flexible loading tariffs and port fees. Manufacturing, logistics and shipbuilding all benefit from its ice-free services 24/7/365.
Klaipeda is also home to the most successful Free Economic Zone (FEZ) in the Baltics with a flexible fast-launch pathway, special tax advantages and new sites constantly available.
The nascent offshore wind sector in the Baltics also offers great scope for maritime suppliers. With land-based wind farms already a major renewable energy source in Lithuania, in June the government announced the location for a 700-MW wind park off the coast that could potentially cover close to 25% of the country’s entire power demand. The development tender process is set to take place in early 2023 with a view to construction completion by 2030.
Klaipeda Manifesto is hosted by Klaipeda ID and the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Vilnius, in partnership with Klaipeda University, Association Klaipeda Region, Klaipeda Science and Technology Park, the Norwegian-Lithuanian Chamber of Commerce in Vilnius and its equivalent in Oslo, and the Shipping & Offshore Network also in Oslo.
“Building on the solid ties between our countries, our objective is to highlight Klaipeda’s untapped potential as an affordable and convenient business destination. There’s a lot to discover,” says Tom O Kleppesto, general manager of the Shipping & Offshore Network, underscoring that hundreds of Norwegian companies are already active in Lithuania.