Representatives from around 200 companies based in 19 different countries visited Riga, Latvia, to participate in the most significant event so far focusing on the suppliers of the Rail Baltica project – “Industry Suppliers’ Day” held on April 25, 2017, under “Rail Baltica Global Forum 2017”. The interviewed suppliers told about their future plans for the project which involve partnership building between companies based in the Baltics and beyond in order to participate in the upcoming Rail Baltica tenders.
Among the participants were representatives of many industries interested in the Rail Baltica project development seeing a potential growth opportunities for their businesses. The general view about the project after the event was positive and interviewed suppliers admits that they are thrilled to potentially take part in this huge project.
“This Forum gave a clear signal that many organisations are interested in this mega project which indeed is one of the most ambitious projects of this century. Thus it is very important to be here and hold a finger on the pulse,” said Laura Geistarde-Šube, a representative of the Latvian branch of FIMA, company of intelligent engineering solutions. She also expressed confidence that all of the involved are in front of significant changes related to growth in transportation sector: “I think this is a huge leap towards the future and Europe.”
Mika Räisänen, representative of Geological Survey of Finland who are providing expertise services, also states the need for contact finding in this stage of the project. “Even though the preparation for this project has been ongoing for a long time, right now it is important to be where it starts, to meet the right people, make connections and give the support for the project,” said M. Räisänen.
However, the benefits of the project extends beyond the construction, engineering, logistics and other industries clearly related to the project’s scope. Aldis Riekstiņš, representative of the Latvian real estate agency Latio, is assured that the project will leave a direct and significant influence on the real estate industry, because infrastructure opens up opportunities to develop businesses also in the adjacent territories. “The investments in the infrastructure only develops real estate market. If there is no infrastructure there is no business. Where there is the necessary infrastructure there is also business,” Aldis Riekstiņš points out.
All of the interviewed suppliers attending the Forum were excited about partnership building opportunity – especially foreign companies lacking knowledge about the local market. Peter Boje, CEO of Denmark based railway signalling company Rosenfelt & West Engineering, tells: “I think it is very important for us to get close ties with some national Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian companies that can help us in the tendering processes. It is also important for us to learn what the customer demand says so we are very open for partner building and cooperations with local companies.” He also points out that they are realistic and are looking towards several smaller tenders, because their previous experience suggests that this project will be huge.
Nichols Group, London based company specializing in intelligent clienting and program management, expressed excitement towards Rail Baltica, which they see not only as an important and complicated railway project, but also a source of economic development possibilities that have been recognized both within the countries concerned and by the EU. Their representative Simon Webb compares Rail Baltica to other huge railway projects that they have been involved in such as Crossrail, which is a new, large railway currently being under construction in London, and HS2, which is project in its early phases in London.
“RB Rail AS”
“RB Rail AS” is a joint venture between the three Baltic States established in October 2014. Holding equal shares in “RB Rail AS” are “Eiropas dzelzceļa līnijas” SIA in Latvia, “Rail Baltica statyba” UAB in Lithuania and “Rail Baltic Estonia” OU in Estonia.
“RB Rail AS” is the central coordinator for the Rail Baltic/Rail Baltica project. The project involves the construction of a high speed rail line from Tallinn to the Lithuanian/Polish border. Rail Baltic/Rail Baltica will be an electrified public use rail line, an environmentally friendly and modern form of transportation.
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