Crossing the Baltic countries is like an accelerated journey through time, because in 30 years everything has been turned upside down by a modernization that has also coincided with a change of gravity center: the Baltic area has become a pulsating part of the EU while before it looked toward Moscow, the center of USSR.
We’ve talked about this with Virko from Widni Baltic, our longstanding Estonian distributor.
Q: First of all, what the geo-political transformations have meant for the local public transport industry? Have the manufacturers of ysterday been able to transform themselves?
A: The geo-political changes have made big difference to public transport industry in Estonia and Baltic area overall. The whole manufacturing process and quality requirements were so different from European standards back then. The Soviet market was simply a closed circle and there was no need for development, more was needed than produced. Therefore, the technical solutions, design etc. were at least a decade or more behind the rest of the world. Today the situation is totally different. Unfortunately, the shift was rough, and many companies did not survive. On the other hand, this situation gave the possibility to start from “scratch” and design products that are competitive and can be sold also in European / Scandinavian markets. We can’t deny that the financial support from the Western Countries was a big “starter” and our people hope to be again part of the Western world, where we have always belonged.
Today the plants and the end products are at the same “level” as in Europe and the world overall. Maybe some innovations are even drivers for other producers in the “old” European countries
Q: Today what future do you see for the Baltic industry, which is increasingly integrated not only with the EU but also with the Scandinavian world in particular?
A: Today we are part of the EU and Scandinavia, our markets and products are integrated into those markets and a lot of foreign-owned Companies have plants here. There are no big plants but a lot of small ones. Companies like Scania, Volvo, and Mercedes are ordering components from Companies in our Area. Our quality control systems are the same as in the EU, machinery is from well-known brands, our government supports investments, and our tax system is “clear”. Companies in our area are using more and more “green” energy and trying to reuse materials as much as possible. Simply – we are doing the same things as the rest of the world is doing.
And if you would like to see innovations for the future, check the company Auve Tech for example.