22.01.2024 - Economy

Industrial park plans in Liepāja move forward

Liepāja will soon start developing an industrial park in the territory of the former metalworking company "Liepājas metalurgs". An agreement for the first 10 million euros has been signed, Latvian Radio reported on January 17.

The area is covered in snow, but the wind clatters the abandoned structures, piles of scrap metal still visible under the giant awning. This week, the former “Metalurgs” site was visited by the new director of the Environmental Service (VVD) Southwest Regional Environmental Board, Hardijs Verbeli. He says giant metal piles are not a problem here. Other waste is more worrying.

“A lot of work is ahead of us. To sort it all out, you have to look at probably what European projects are attracted to the remediation to individual things... For example, below is a heavy fuel oil pond and waste that's accumulated for years, perhaps European Union funding will be available to clean up the heavy fuel oil pond, the rest of the waste must be sorted slowly,“ said Verbelis.

Uldis Hmieļevskis, manager of Liepaja Special Economic Zone (SEZ), emphasized that there is currently no funding for environmental treatment in the territory of the former “Metalurgs”, but a step has been taken to start building the territory of the industrial park.

The Liepaja SEZ Bureau has entered into an agreement with the Central Finance and Contracting Agency (CFLA) regarding the financing of the recovery and resilience mechanism in the amount of EUR 10 million to start the first round of the project and continue to implement the idea of the development of Liepaja Industrial Park. First, the electricity supply will be arranged, explained Hmieļevskis.

“One big part of the work is to have electricity connections. Build the power grid. The existing electricity supply has been concerted to the marten shop and the marten technology, it is a 6 kV (kilovolt) system, which is not actually used in Latvia, only at individual sites in internal networks. There will be a 10 kV power supply system, similar to everywhere else. Companies coming into the area will have the ability to connect to the electricity grid, which is a very important section. If there is no electricity, then production cannot happen,” Hmieļevskis said.

The second most important work will be the construction of streets. The area is of an impressive size, it is like a town within the city.

Investors' interest in the area is high, said Hmieļevskis. In the future, it is planned to attract more than EUR 275 million in private investments and create at least 1500 jobs.

Verbelis, director of VVD South-West Regional Environmental Board, emphasized that the restoration of the area in Liepāja would require great investments and strict environmental requirements.

“Any renovation may be carried out only under strict environmental conditions. Looking at the area and what's left of previous production to do something like this requires investment in countless millions of euros. Then, perhaps something could be done, without much cash investment, it is impossible to reopen,” Verbelis noted.

Source: Press release (Eng.LSM.lv (Latvian Public Broadcasting), Inga Ozola (Latvian Radio))
Photo: Liepājas SEZ pārvalde

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