Strengthening Nordic-Baltic technological ties – spotlight on Lithuania


If anywhere in Europe the engineering and technology industries are thriving despite the challenges of pandemics and disrupted global supply chain – one of them is right in the centre of the continent – Lithuania. The country’s economy has shown its resilience to the pandemic, the technology industry is experiencing strong growth and thus attracts foreign industrial investments as well as strengthens international business ties. Finland, known there for its high-tech and innovative services sector, is seen as one of the directions for further development of partnerships and cooperation between the North and the Baltics.


Successful recovery, growing exports

In comparison to other EU member states, Lithuanian economy has demonstrated exceptional resilience to the Covid-19 challenges. Lithuanian Statistics Department indicates that in 2020 the annual change in Lithuanian GDP was exactly 0 % – which means that economy recovered very quickly from the spring 2020 lockdown. What is more, in the first three quarters of 2021, Lithuanian economy has already exceeded the pre-Covid-19 level, as the GDP reached 5,2 % above the corresponding level of 2019.

This rapid recovery of Lithuanian economy is largely due to the favourable structure of GDP: the economy is driven by manufacturing, which is the largest sector here, generates around 20 % of the country’s GDP and is the locomotive of Lithuanian export.

As claimed by LINPRA, the Engineering and Technology Industries Association of Lithuania, it is true, the whole manufacturing sector is the driver in the post-covid situation. And part of it, the specific engineering and technology industries sector, also plays an important role. Lithuanian engineering industry is demonstrating a big growth: in 2020-2021 Q1–Q3 production output in the Lithuanian engineering industry rose by 21% and is almost 20% above the 2019 Q1–Q3 level. About 75 % of its products are exported, which accounts for ~20 % of the total country’s exports.

According to the director of association, Mr. Darius Lasionis, Lithuanian engineering and technology export volumes are growing annually. In 2020 it reached 3,4 billion, out of which almost 6 % were directed to Finland and could increase even more:

“Being in the centre of Europe and with the current companies’ capacities we have the potential to become the small European manufacturing hub, able to correspond to the needs of European manufacturing leaders. Lithuanian engineering SMEs have much to offer, are ready to welcome reliable partners and find new export markets. Finland is one of the TOP directions for Lithuanian manufacturers; Finnish companies would benefit not only from our advanced production, but also from our geographical location”, – says Mr. D. Lasionis.

Partnerships with Finnish companies in particular are of interest in Lithuania. The country aims to provide a cost-effective production platform for Nordic expertise in both high-tech and high-productivity innovation. Its central location in continental Europe and strong existing logistical links to Finland as one of the main export countries are at the same time Lithuania’s advantages and ambitions.


Part of Lithuanian outward FDI – goes to Finland 

Besides exports, Lithuanian companies are currently increasing their focus towards outward foreign direct investments. Statistical data shows that in total, Lithuanian companies invested almost 9 bln. EUR outside Lithuania. Compared to the beginning of Covid pandemic, Lithuania’s outward investments rose by 40 %. Manufacturing sector is one of the sectors where increase in this trend is clearly observed: compared to the beginning of Covid, Lithuanian outward FDI into manufacturing sector rose by 6,5 % and account to 157 mln. EUR.

Talking specifically about Finland, one of the recent significant examples is the case of Outotec Turula Oy, Finnish manufacturing company, located in Outokumpu, bought by one of the leading Lithuanian engineering and metal processing companies, providing machinery / equipment manufacturing services to brands that are well-known worldwide (“Arginta Engineering”).

According to the company’s CEO (Mr. Tomas Jaskelevičius), this investment and acquisition of a Finland-based plant has a significant impact on the company’s development. It is expected, that this transaction will enable to increase the production capacity as well as turnover and offer company’s customers, located mostly in the Nordic countries, a wider range of production services.

At the same time, for Outotec Turula Oy the target was to find a new owner for the Turula workshop, a partner who would be fully focused on manufacturing and engineering with the ability to develop and grow the operations to better meet the future needs of all its customers. Both companies found each other favourable to provide development opportunities, exchange employees’ experience and learn new skills from each other.


Marine sector

Favourable logistic advantage of Lithuania is the access to the Baltic Sea and an ice-free seaport in Klaipėda, which is the most important and biggest Lithuanian transport hub, connecting sea, land and railway routes from East to West. Therefore, maritime industry is extensively developed, has rich traditions and is purposefully making a way in the competitive international market.

One of the largest industrial holdings in the Baltic Sea region, BLRT Grupp, consists of more than 50 companies across the Baltics, among which – the Western Shipyard Group, set in Klaipėda Seaport – has been one of the largest marine engineering corporations in Lithuania for already five decades.

In the last two years, the company’s capacity has strongly increased – the list of docks at Western Shiprepair in Klaipėda has been enlarged with two additional floating units, one of which is the largest floating dock in the Baltics. Now the company has the opportunity to take on an increasing number of ship repair and modernisation projects, accept larger vessels for repairs, which was not possible before. WSR is establishing sustainable cooperation with European customers, attracting a greater number of complex large-scale projects. Having secured a stronger position in the European maritime market, WSR is successfully competing with the major ship repair and building companies.


Innovation and R&D in Lithuanian manufacturing

Historically, a large part of Lithuanian engineering industry has been traditionally focused on subcontracting. But for the last years, Lithuanian engineering is devoting more focus and strongly shifting to innovation, product development and R&D activities.

According to Lithuanian Statistics Department, during the last 5 years R&D investments in Lithuanian manufacturing sector almost doubled (increased 1,7 times), while R&D investment in the engineering industry jumped 2,3 times. Engineering industry is becoming the main driver of R&D expenditures in Lithuanian manufacturing: in 2020, 62 % of total R&D expenditures in Lithuanian manufacturing sector were generated in the engineering industry, up from 45 % 5 years ago.

Similar trends are observed in regard to the innovation activities of manufacturing companies in Lithuania. Currently, 55,7 % of Lithuanian manufacturing businesses are involved in innovations activities, up from 30 % 10 years ago. In the Lithuanian engineering sector, the numbers are even higher: currently, 64,7 % of engineering companies are involved in innovations activities, up from 44 % 10 years ago.


Automotive / e-drive solutions

The increasing focus of Lithuanian manufacturing sector towards R&D, innovations and product development is driven by the factor, that Lithuanian manufacturing companies are becoming increasingly integrated into the EU value chains.

As manufacturing companies in the Western Europe and Scandinavia are becoming more innovative and invest more into R&D, Lithuanian manufacturing companies follow suit. The companies are stimulated to focus on development of innovative goods and services rather than to rely on contract manufacturing services and cheaper labour force.

One of the great examples of this trend is clearly seen in the automotive sector, where Lithuanians not only manufacture components for the European value chain, but also develop own automotive products and solutions.

Like elsewhere, automotive sector in Lithuania is also moving towards electric vehicles at an accelerated pace. Preparations for a rapid development of electromobility are taking place on a national level, and some of engineering companies strongly contribute to this trend.

One of the leading automotive companies in Lithuania (Altas Auto), engineering and producing mini and midibuses, for the last years is focused on development of electric buses, and is now ready to conquer the European electric vehicle market with its range of full-EV minibuses. The company created and can already offer extremely high-quality electric city and intercity buses.

4 fully electric models were precisely developed in cooperation with another Lithuanian innovation company (Elinta Motors), which is also developing own products for commercial e-mobility, is engaged in design, development, and production of drive and battery system products. All drive components including electric motors, battery modules and electronics have been developed in-house.

The first fleet of Lithuanian road ready EV Ecoline vehicles was manufactured in 2021 for the Latvian market. The company is gaining new customer orders from Finland, Germany, Norway. The plan is to reach at least 20 % of its sales with electric vehicles next year, and become fully electric by 2025.

One more innovation company in automotive sector in Lithuania (Vėjo projektai) are manufacturers of electric city bus (Dancer). Their originally-constructed electric city bus has been the first electric vehicle to be registered in Lithuania in 2021, and is also considered the lightest on the market

The two companies – producer of mini and midi buses (Altas Auto) and producer of city buses (Vėjo projektai) have recently combined their sales forces, with the goal of sharing engineering experience and representing the interests of sustainable transport at the national – Lithuanian – level, and jointly promoting their products in EU markets. Today, both Lithuanian electric bus manufacturers focus on different bus classes, so the combined sales forces will offer the customers a wider choice of vehicles – city and intercity buses. The expectation is to ensure the competitiveness of Lithuanian vehicles in foreign markets, and see their products in more and more European cities.


Additional information – Finnish success stories in Lithuania

Peikko Lietuva

Headquartered in Lahti, Finland, Peikko is one of the market leaders in the field of thin floor constructions, screw column connections, wind energy, precast, and monolithic reinforced concrete. The company established its Lithuanian operation, Peikko Lietuva, in 2006, and the operation has now grown to encompass three plants in Kaunas. Equipped with the latest machinery and equipment, Peikko Lietuva is able to integrate design and production processes. In 2018, Peikko Lithuania acquired ASD Konstrukcijos, one of the largest Lithuanian engineering solutions companies. The acquisition allowed Peikko to expand to Vilnius. The scale of production in Peikko’s Lithuanian facilities is one of the company’s highest, with only Finland and Slovakia producing more.


Paroc Group is a Finland based international building, technical, marine and offshore insulation and acoustic products manufacturer with close to 2,000 employees worldwide. In 2012, the Paroc Group opened a Financial Services Centre in Vilnius, and its team of highly skilled financial specialists now provides services in 8 languages to Paroc companies in 14 countries.


Metso, the leading Finish minerals and process technology company, successfully settled in Lithuania and launched a business service centre in Vilnius end of 2019. According to Metso representatives, Vilnius was chosen because of a strong culture of service centres supporting international companies. Moreover, Vilnius was also recommended by the colleagues and customers who already worked there, including the Finnish steel giant Outokumpu. Lithuania will be the main site where Metso will develop its process automation solutions. The latter solution is aimed at improving the effectiveness of the company’s business services and increasing the digitalisation, which is expected to support the growth of the entire corporation.

Metso Outotec’s goal is to expand its operations globally, and Lithuania was chosen as the investment destination, especially because of its logistical links with Metso Outotec’s customers. The location offers extensive logistical options to Europe, Russia, but also to the Middle East and Africa.

Initiative for European Recovery from COVID-19


EIT Manufacturing, EFFRA and Manufuture ETP signed an initiative letter regarding the Next Generation EU recovery instrument for European Recovery from COVID-19.

On 21stJuly 2020, the EU leaders agreed on an ambitious plan to repair the economic damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic. “Next Generation EU” aims primarily at kick-starting the economy and protecting employment. In addition to short-term economic and social aid however, the recovery plan has the strategic objective to make Europe´s Economy green, digital and resilient. We, the three main organizations dedicated to manufacturing innovation, welcome the ambition of the Next Generation EU recovery instrument.

Europe’s two million and more manufacturing companies are the backbone of its Economy. In 2018, they provided more than 14% of the European GDP while employing 32,9 million people directly and additional millions though complementary jobs. Europe is a leader in manufacturing and the origin of the new industrial digitalization paradigm, Industry 4.0. Societies across the world seek the prosperity and jobs that are created by a successful manufacturing industry and compete for it fiercely. Europe needs both disruptive and incremental innovation to increase the competitiveness of manufacturing and strengthen its resilience. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the importance of a resilient and strong European manufacturing industry, which is able to produce important parts and products, without strongly depending on global supply chains.

European manufacturing industry is facing several major challenges simultaneously: demographic changes, rapid technological progress, increasingly varying consumer demands, scarcity of raw materials and environmental concerns as well as fierce global competition which overuses commoditization, monopolistic and even dumping approaches. Digitalization and emerging technologies bear a huge potential to increase competitiveness, innovation and sustainability, yet Europe’s manufacturers, especially SMEs, are often struggling to implement such solutions in a useful manner.

Even if it might not seem so at first glance, the design and manufacturing of future “long-life” eco-friendly products is the enabler of the circular economy, since 80% of a product’s environmental impact are determined at the product and process development stage. Manufacturing is focusing on zero-waste technologies and closing of material loops supporting circular and eco-friendly approaches.

For the coming years manufacturing R&D is urgently needed to enable the next generation of innovation-based manufacturing companies to emerge, while providing existing industries with strong support for disruptive and incremental innovation, as well as for highly needed upscaled skills and training. If we play the cards right, the challenges ahead of us could be exploited to strengthen Europe’s lead in manufacturing innovation.

We urge European and national and regional public authorities to ensure that the money foreseen in the Next Generation EU recovery instrument and in the Recovery and Resilience Facility is well spent, by dedicating a substantial share to sustainable and digital Manufacturing, complementing and reinforcing the existing and future European programmes and initiatives, such as Made in Europe and EIT Manufacturing.

Signed by:

  • Maurizio Gattiglio, Chairman of the MANUFUTURE HLG
  • Joaquim Menezes, Chairman of EFFRA
  • Klaus Beetz, CEO EIT Manufacturing


New anti-plastic alternatives becomes new “Corona virus”​ for environment and hygiene safety


Rimantas Damanskis, expert in plastics sector and circular economy, member of LINPRA board, shares his views on today’s relevant topic – Plastics VS Alternatives for plastics.

“Public events without plastic, reusable cups, reusable food packaging, change with something, but not plastic” – today, became main headline of every environmentalist agenda.

“Sustainability, carbon footprint, NO one way, just reusable” and many other slogans heard today from European commission down to Vilnius “Kaziuko muge” (Public Spring market)

Business newspaper publish headlines “First event without plastics“, “Follow example”

It was proudly announced that new “sustainable” solutions were found and new sugar cane food packaging replacement were used by all traders even it cost 3 times more. but brings “real value” to environment and hygiene. Traders found sustainable alternatives for food.

Politicians announce that Lithuanian joined European Plastic Pact and will go to reduce single serve packaging with reusable or will go to replace plastic with another “, much better” and alternative solutions which today flows to the market without any control or regulations.

Reality is much different and today is not clear who will take responsibility about not controlled flow of new materials that are not hygiene safe but also do not belong to any recycling stream.

Newest research in Germany and Belgium shows that new alternatives of sugar cane packaging contains formaldehyde and cannot contact with food at all. Society was warned to avoid using that “new material” packaging at all. Laminates appears in the market which look like paper but laminated with plastic eliminates possibility to recycle. Local petrol stations proudly announce about paper cups but they forgot to mention that they are covered with PE plastic in order to keep temperature and to separate these layers in during recycling is impossible.

The current market situation sees retailers and politicians and food companies pushing packaging manufacturers to supply materials alternative to plastic packaging, which are often presented as “sustainable” as they utilize components derived from natural sources. Sugar cane, bamboo fibres, leaves and other plant derived products are increasingly used in these products, however, as most of them do not possess sufficient size stability, use of binders becomes necessary to maintain shape and minimum mechanical properties of the final articles.

Common binders consist of melamine-formaldehyde resins, and the final product would be constituted of a fibre / resin compound. The regulatory status of these articles would of course depend on the composition, and may indeed be very variable depending on such composition.

Recent studies carried out by the German BfR (1) have demonstrated that these articles are not necessarily suitable for food contact applications, in particular for repeated use articles such as cups, bowls and other reusable containers due to high migration of the monomers, in particular formaldehyde (that is a recognized class 1 carcinogen).

 Untreated wood flour and fibres used in these articles are currently allowed as plastic additives for manufacturing of food contact articles in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1935/2004 (FCM N. 96). They were included in the list of additives based on the assumption of inertness. However no toxicological evaluation underlying the inclusion of this entry in the positive list is available, and EFSA was recently requested by the EU Commission to re-evaluate the substances. EFSA concluded that there is insufficient information to support that the current authorisation of wood flour and fibres is still in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1935/2004 (2). EFSA suggested a case by case approach to safety determination of the articles containing the concerned substances.

Hygiene specialist strongly recommend to use “single use” face masks and if possible single use packaging in public places and hospitals to reduce Corona virus threat when on other hand politicians pressing retailers to promote reusable solutions or replace hygienically approved and recyclable plastic packaging solutions by formaldehyde filled or non-recyclable alternatives with become a real threat for environment. But food packaging is exactly the same as face mask, who can guarantee hygiene if it is reusable or washable. It should be a must in public areas and hospitals to use single use items in order to secure antivirus and hygiene safety. Everybody agrees that these materials should be part of circular economy and meet European hygiene requirements.

I strongly recommend to read new real fact based publication about plastics impact to environment before making solutions for sustainable future


Europe’s technology industries at the heart of a renewed EU: Orgalim launches industry vision ahead of 2019 elections


Orgalim – Europe’s Technology Industries – has launched ‘2030: an industry vision for a renewed Europe’. Aimed at European policymakers ahead of the EU elections in May 2019, the campaign advocates a proactive policy agenda to support European technology companies in shaping a future that’s good for the EU’s economy and society.

“Despite the challenges ahead, this is a time of immense opportunity,” explains Malte Lohan, Orgalim Director General. “Our vision for 2030 is of a Europe where innovation drives competitiveness, a strong industry spreads prosperity, and technology responds to citizens’ needs – improving quality of life while enabling the transition to a greener, cleaner future for our planet.”

The technology sectors represented by Orgalim comprise Europe’s largest industrial branch, directly employing 11 million people. A global industrial powerhouse, these industries have been growing consistently ahead of the wider EU economy and account for a third of Europe’s manufactured exports. As such, Orgalim’s vision marks an important contribution to the ongoing debate on the future of Europe. The campaign makes a number of concrete recommendations centred around three calls to action:

• Embrace the innovation-led transformation of European industry (action areas: AI, cybersecurity, data framework, network infrastructure including 5G)
• Enable European industry’s long-term global leadership (action areas: open, rules-based trade, EU investment and R&I programmes, Internal Market framework, agile regulatory approaches)
• Transform societal challenges into future drivers of prosperity (action areas: low-carbon and energy transition, sustainable resource use, sustainable and connected mobility and buildings, education and training for a digitalised world of work)

Orgalim will be promoting these messages widely in the months ahead. “At this crucial moment, we need decisive political leadership to unlock Europe’s future drivers of prosperity, sustainability and wellbeing,” concludes Malte Lohan. “The time to act is now – and our industries stand ready to play their part.”

More information – on the renewed Orgalim webpage HERE.

Six Lithuanian companies listed in “Deloitte” ranking


Deloitte, an audit and business consulting company, announced their compiled “Technology Fast 50” ranking, which includes even six Lithuanian companies. In Central Europe, Lithuania is the only country with just 2.8 million inhabitants and with even six companies included in the ranking. This is a significant result, which is a clear demonstration of Lithuania’s leadership in the region. Lithuanian companies, included in the ranking: „Deeper“, „Good one“, „Invenis“, „TV žaidimai“, „Adeo Web“ and „TeleSoftas“.

Full article published online – DELFI M360.

“The AHK can be a mentor for vocational training in Lithuania”


Interview with LINPRA director Gintaras Vilda for the AHK Balt published business magazine “AHKbalt aktuell”. Read full journal online:

Like in Germany, the manufacturing industry in Lithuania is one of its driving forces. Training for qualifications in technical professions is essential. For this reason, the Engineering Industries Association of Lithuania (LINPRA) is advocating vocational training in line with the German model, as Director Gintaras Vilda explains in an interview with AHK Balt aktuell.

 What do you think about the current situation of vocational training in Lithuania?

The number of people starting at vocational training institutions this year indicates a marked positive shift. We’re extremely happy with the great popularity that engineering, manufacturing and industrial professions are already enjoying – they are gaining the day in terms of pupils’ career aspirations this year. However, we’re still seeing just how important it is to promote and standardise dual vocational training in Lithuania. This type of training is most effective and helps to supply the economy with highly qualified workers over the long term.

What do companies need to take into account when offering vocational training?

The cornerstone of an effective apprenticeship for employers is having a certain sense of responsibility. This is the only way they’ll feel the sense of duty necessary to ensure the training process is successful and play a hands-on role in vocational training. Employers will then be in the position to help make decisions on how the vocational training network can be managed effectively, how professional standards can be better integrated and how training schemes that meet industry expectations can be implemented.

You travelled to Germany a few months ago to find out about the dual training system following an invitation from the German Embassy. How are Germany and Lithuania different?

 In Germany, the companies themselves are more closely involved in vocational training than in Lithuania. Not only do they train the young people, they also pay them for the whole period. They therefore support a young person in two ways, but they also help themselves by passing specific knowledge onto their up-and-coming talent. In Lithuania, people have had the ideas for this system but no suitable model has been found or, rather, no fitting framework. And then there’s the fact that dual training has a long history in Germany and forms an integral part of its education culture.

How would you rate the role played by the Chambers of Commerce and Industry in Germany compared to Lithuania?

 The role is very important! The Chambers of Industry and Commerce – IHKs – are essential partners for vocational training in Germany. They act as intermediaries between the companies and schools and set the various careers that can be learned. With these standards, the IHKs ensure an even and comparable level of quality for all the training pathways in the exams that they set. The “IHKcertified” tag is a seal of quality. I think that, particularly in Lithuania too, there should be a more rigorous assessment of whether the companies are actually prepared – and by that I mean qualified and equipped – to provide training. Uniform standards need to be put in place for training content and the trainers have to have the necessary skills. This is the only way to ensure that the dual training is high-quality. I can envisage Lithuanian associations such as LINPRA and the German Baltic Chamber of Commerce – AHK – working together to define these standards and roll them out nationwide in the future.

A new Lithuanian Education Act is currently being prepared. In what ways can Lithuania learn from Germany in this process?

Lithuanian legislation definitely needs to set out what qualities companies have to bring to the table before they can begin to provide training. The new law will be able to establish the model and framework that I mentioned earlier, which will allow vocational training in the country to meet the required quality standard. The law must establish what content the training is to teach so that various different companies can provide training independently from one another. This is the only way to guarantee that a mechatronics engineer trained in Kaunas can work in a company in Klaipėda or Marijampole without any issues, for example.

The AHK is a global mediator for dual training. Where do you see potential in the cooperation for Lithuania?

 I think that the AHK can be a mentor for vocational training in Lithuania. It is important to always consider the characteristics of the Lithuanian job market, its companies and its education system. At the same time, the AHK contributes lessons learned from Germany and the rest of the world. This can only be beneficial to us and help us develop the best for Lithuania through our joint efforts.