Grand opening as Jets™ expands in Sandes Industry Park, Latvia
(Wednesday, May 08, 2013)
Top photo: Chairman of the board of Jets Invest AS, Mr. Jan Driveklepp, about to cut the ribbon which marks the opening of the new Jets™ production facility outside Saldus, Latvia.
Just like many other business ventures originating from the coastline of western Norway, the Sandes Industry Park outside Saldus, Latvia has a maritime origin. With the official opening of the new SIA Jets Vacuum production plant on Tuesday, May 7th, the park firmly establishes itself further as an industrial stronghold in the Saldus region.
Off to a good start
The first Norwegian company to open a production plant in Saldus was the manufacturer of the Norwegian "Mørebas" leisure boat, in a 1990s industrial project funded by the Norwegian government.
Although that government project concluded successfully in 1997, the need for strategic change and restructuring of production in the Norwegian maritime industry meant that the Sandes park was in fact just getting off to a good start.
The Sunnmøre region of Norway is home to what is quite possibly the world's most advanced maritime industrial cluster. And just as several companies in that cluster joined forces to find a suitable location for outsourcing some of their production in the 1990s, word was getting back to Norway about the positive experiences gained in the "Mørebas" project. And so an industrial adventure came about in Saldus.
Increasing demand translates to growth
More than 15 years later, the results of this adventure are evident - and even significant - in the Saldus region. Today, a combined work force of about 200 people work for the Norwegian-owned companies in the Sandes Industry Park. And there may be even further growth.
- We are definitely in Saldus for the long run, because this industry park is no longer only catering to the needs of the maritime industry. The new Jets™ facility makes vacuum toilet systems and related equipment, for which we are also experiencing rapid growth in the land based markets globally. And that means we too have to continue growing, in tune with the increasing demand for our products, says Jets™ CEO Jan Tore Leikanger.
With the opening of the new Jets™ facility, Mr. Leikanger reinforces his company's presence in the Sandes Industry Park by quite a margin. According to him, the location was not chosen randomly.
- The Latvian authorities have been very welcoming towards our plans in Saldus through a number of years. We owe them a great deal of gratitude. All of the infrastructure we need is here, and on top of that it takes literally no more than a few hours to travel here from our local airport in Norway. Some of our future growth will take place outside of Norway, and Saldus is a good place to expand, he says.
Strong Norwegian presence
The CEO of Jets™ is not the only one who speaks well of Latvia. The advantages of operating there are now enjoyed by Libra Plast, John Gjerde and several other household names from the Norwegian maritime industry.
By combining its international ownership structure with local management, the Sandes Industry Park has succeeded in extending Norway's maritime cluster across the Baltic sea - all the way to Saldus.
A large celebration had been planned, and the facility had been converted into a makeshift venue for the grand opening.