FDI Intelligence, a member of the Financial Times Group, has published the study Global Free Zones of the Year 2019. The Freeport of Ventspils has been named as the best global location for business development for large tenants and as the second best location for business development of small and medium-sized enterprises in Europe. The Freeport of Ventspils has also been granted with special awards — for export boosting, cluster development, crossborder collaboration, production expansion, infrastructure upgrades and start-up support.
FDI Intelligence organises the Global Free Zones of the Year 2019 study every year with the purpose to identify the most perspective global and separate regional locations. This year, 85 special economic zones from around the world participated in the study. Each application is assessed by a panel of judges who nominate the overall winners, determine winners in separate categories and grant special awards.
The DMCC in the United Arab Emirates has been declared the most perspective global free economic zone of the Year for 2019 leaving the Katowice Special Economic Zone in Poland in second place.
In the TOP global free zone for large tenants category, the Freeport of Ventspils has been named as the most perspective zone. The judges have emphasized that the Freeport of Ventspils is one of the most cost-effective locations in Europe, if analysing the available tax incentives and the industrial buildings and infrastructure built following the specific requirements of the tenants. The increase in the industrial output as well as the increase of the zone’s rentable industrial space after the construction of new industrial buildings has been praised in the study. The Tanger Med Zones in Morocco rank behind the Freeport of Ventspils in this category. Whereas, on a European level in this category the Freeport of Ventspils is ahead of the Wałbrzych Special Economic Zone InvestPark in Poland.
The Freeport of Ventspils was also highly rated in the TOP zones for business development of SMEs category — it received the second place in the European region. The Łódź Special Economic Zone in Poland has been named as the most perspective one in Europe. Judges have emphasized the business incubation services offered by the Ventspils Municipality for start-ups and SMEs, for example, the option to take advantage of using the round-the-clock service at the Business Support Centre, using co-working space and office premises. The close cooperation with the municipality promoting the implementation of a business-friendly policy has also been praised.
The Freeport of Ventspils has also received the FDI Intelligence Editor's Choice Award in the Export boosters category since in 2018 the Freeport of Ventspils saw a 46% increase in its industrial output and experienced the highest growth of exports per capita out of all of Latvia’s major cities, more than 90% of all production is exported.
FDI Intelligence has also named recipients of special awards in 37 categories. The Freeport of Ventspils has received special awards in five categories.
The bespoke award Cluster development has been granted by assessing the accomplishments for promoting the development of ICT companies. The cooperation with the Business Support Centre, Ventspils University of Applied Sciences, the Digital Centre and other institutions to promote the development of ICT, as well as the planned construction of the Science and Innovation Centre has been especially emphasized.
The bespoke award Crossborder collaboration has been granted to the Freeport of Ventspils for proactively participating in different international initiatives, thus especially promoting cooperation with countries in Asia.
The bespoke award Expansions has been granted by highlighting the determination of companies choosing to expand their current operations in Ventspils. There is more than one such example in Ventspils — for example, Bucher Municipal or Hansamatrix Ventspils.
It is not the first time that the bespoke award Infrastructure upgrades has been granted to the Freeport of Ventspils as part of the FDI Intelligence study. This year as well the judges have praised the activity of the Freeport of Ventspils towards the construction of new industrial premises and towards adjusting the infrastructure to the needs of tenants.
The fifth bespoke award has been granted to Ventspils for start-up support. Ventspils has received this award mainly for launching the Business Support Centre in 2018 which offers a wide range of services for start-ups.
The Freeport of Ventspils has received high recognition in the FDI Intelligence study previously as well, which confirms the stable competitive position of the Freeport in the international market and a correctly implemented development strategy.
FDI Intelligence is part of the Financial Times Ltd. group specialising in sectors related to direct foreign investment and attracting said investment.
The full results of the study can be found here.