Seizing our opportunity: Hamburg and Klaipėda strengthen port/logistics cooperation
05 May 2022 12:44 Economy
During the visit to Hamburg of Dr. Marius Skuodis, Lithuanian Minister of Transport and Communications, Algis Latakas, Director of Klaipėda State Seaport Authority, and Axel Mattern, CEO of HHM - Port of Hamburg Marketing, signed a Memorandum of Understanding on 5 May in Hamburg City Hall. This provides for the further strengthening of cooperation between these two universal ports.
In future, the Port of Hamburg and the Port of Klaipéda in Lithuania, as well as the transport industry based there, will aim to cooperate by exchanging transport market-related data, to promote the transport corridors between their markets with joint marketing activities, and in implementing logistics projects. “Lithuania is a significant partner for the Port of Hamburg’s seaborne cargo throughput and important to sea and land transport services. The entire Baltic region is of immense importance for the Port of Hamburg. We are delighted by the Lithuanian side’s great interest in stepping up our exchange and cooperation between the two ports,” said Axel Mattern, Joint CEO of Port of Hamburg Marketing.
Maritime connections between Lithuanian and German ports, as well as port-serving railway infrastructure, are critical components of international logistics chains, which are becoming increasingly important in today's geopolitical context. "There is a lot of potential for improving transportation connections, strengthening links between countries, attracting more freight flows, cooperating on various projects, and applying cutting-edge technologies," says Marius Skuodis, Minister of Transport and Communications of the Republic of Lithuania. The Minister invited German companies to participate in the construction of an offshore wind farm near Klaipėda and the development of the southern part of the Port of Klaipėda by preparing studies, technical projects, or performing contract work.
For years now, the Port of Hamburg has cultivated excellent relations with its partner country Lithuania. The focus is on contacts with such essential institutions and decision-makers as the national office of the German-Lithuanian Chamber of Commerce in Vilnius and Klaipėda State Seaport Authority. HHM has for years been fostering the partnership, especially in the transport/logistics sector, in the context of numerous EU projects such as ‘Amber Coast Logistics’ in 2014 and ‘EMMA Extension“ in 2021, and the German-Lithuanian Maritime Forum in 2015, organized with the Lithuanian Association of Port Operators. Intensive cooperation also exists with the Lithuanian Rail’s cargo subsidiary, with which a Memorandum of Understanding was already signed in September 2018. “Lithuania offers great potential for closer cooperation with the Port of Hamburg,” says Marina Basso Michael, HHM’s Regional Director - Europe. The closer cooperation agreed today also opens up numerous additional opportunities for the Hamburg Metropolitan Region, since the largest Baltic state has a vibrant start-up scene and is among the pioneers of digitalization.
The MOU should assist in the recognition and implementation of the full potential here. Michael Westhagemann, Hamburg’s Senator of Economics and Innovation, sees great potential for economic cooperation, especially in the industrial and port sector. One in ten of the lasers sold worldwide, for example, is made in Lithuania. He also sees chances for a fruitful exchange in the alternative energy sector. “All European countries confront the same challenge. We must observe climate targets, adapt our energy supply to renewable energies, make ourselves independent of imported energy from Russia, and organize the market launch of a hydrogen economy. Lithuania can prove to be a vital and valuable partner in these areas.” Klaipėda opened its first LNG - Liquefied Natural Gas - Terminal back in 2014. In Hamburg shore-based power supply will be in place for all terminals by 2024.
Consisting of ten high-ranking representatives of the transport/logistics sector, the Lithuanian delegation warmly welcomed the strengthening of cooperation with Hamburg and its port. “This cooperation will contribute to strengthening the Lithuanian maritime sector and building up knowhow in a series of essential business areas, such as market expansion, environmental protection, utilization of renewable energy sources, etc.” said Port Director Algis Latakas. In addition, he sees the declaration of intent as a platform for experts to expand the partner network in the two ports, and create and develop fresh ideas for the prosperity of the maritime economy.
Among other things, the delegation aims to underline Lithuania’s strengths and to position the republic as an attractive base for industry and investment. Despite the pandemic, in recent years the country has achieved economic growth, especially in expanding high-tech production, global services and communications technology. Its automotive sector has also attracted an ever-growing response on the international market. Especially since the Russian invasion of the Ukraine, Lithuania is also even more interested in creating new markets, and can profit there from Hamburg as a powerful partner.