Lithuania invests in state of the art logistic parks

The Lithuanian government sees the development of intermodal freight transport as crucial to the country’s stated aim of becoming Central Europe’s logistic cornerstone. Three state funded logistics parks are being created in the capital Vilnius, the second city Kaunas and the country’s port city Klaipeda. The first of these, in Vilnius, will be opened later this year.

The first of these, the Vilnius logistics park (Vilniaus Logistikos Parkas) is located in the Pagiriai district close to the Vaidotai Marshalling Yard. Commenced in 2011 with construction starting in the following year, it is a joint venture between the Vilnius Municipality and Lithuanian Railways. EU financial assistance is being provided through the Cohesion Fund and will cover 85 percent of the cost.

The aim of the project is to encourage commercial cooperation among transport modes and increase the percentage of freight transportation by rail, which is a more cost-efficient and environmental friendly mode of transport. Lithuania sees these three logistics parks as playing a critical role in implementing EU transport policy objectives – to transport 30 percent of all freight that should be transported for more than 300 km by rail or water transport instead of roads. This figure should exceed 50 per cent by the year 2050.

A fully equipped customs processing office will be complemented by other government services such as the state food and veterinary service and the state plant service. In addition to high-quality services for loading cargo from train to truck and vice versa, there will be the possibility to store containers and vehicles or rent storage space in customs bonded warehouses for export outside the EU.

The Vilnius Freight Village is an integral part of the project and it is being developed in three stages. During the first stage, investors will be offered 23.4 ha of land, divided into four sites and completion of this phase is scheduled for later this year. The fully developed Freight Village will occupy around 460 hectares.

In the port city of Klaipeda there were problems with sourcing land for the new Klaipeda Public Logistics Park (Klaipėdos viešasis logistikos parkas), but this was resolved last year and a new site of 8 hectares has been chosen. Handover of the completed park is envisaged in 2015. The new centre will provide an alternative to existing facilities to ensure a full range of services and competitive rates for the port’s clients, and it will offer new investment opportunities for business. Klaipeda already has functioning logistics centres in Klaipeda Smelte and at the Klaipeda Container Terminal, where cargo containers are put on railway platforms.

However, this new public logistics centre located in railway facilities could be useful in realising the shared vision of Klaipeda Port and Klaipeda Municipality, expecting an increase in cargo transportation levels. It is estimated that after 2020, the port of Klaipeda will handle 50 million tons of cargo and there will be a need for additional rail freight capacity, which only this park can provide.

The Kaunas Public Logistics Centre (Kauno viešasis logistikos centras) will be established on the same basis as those in Vilnius and Klaipeda. The city lies at the crossroads of two international transport corridors (I A, IX B and IX D), which provide connections in both North-South and East-West directions. The centre will provide facilities to integrate rail, road and air transportation. In addition, being part of the Rail Baltica project, it will facilitate smooth interaction between the European and Russian railway gauge systems. The establishment of the centre is foreseen in late 2014 or early 2015.

All three centres will allow investors to develop private warehousing and distribution centres and there will be a range of attractive investment incentives to encourage this. Lithuania has a talented, multi-lingual workforce with a strong work ethic. Wages are still competitive compared to Western Europe and the Lithuanian tax system for companies and expatriates remains attractive.

Lilija Pupinyte, a former Klaipeda City Councillor, told EuropaProperty that these three new logistics centres would allow foreign investors to reach both the new EU members and the large markets of Russia and Ukraine by rail with ease. This will be a key business planning point as the cost of road freight increases and EU pressure to change from road to rail will increase. Ms Pupinyte also expressed her hope that potential investors will consider Lithuania’s political and economic stability, which has won international prai

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