The town of Sillamäe in Northeast Estonia has rapidly become one of the fastest-growing regions in Estonia, writes Äripäev.
Namely, one resident of Sillamäe produces 3.9 times more for exports than an average Estonian: Sillamäe accounted for 4.7% of Estonian exports in 2010, while it only has 1.2% of the Estonian population.
The region’s export boom lies mainly on three enterprises: Silmet that produces rare earth metals, Sillamäe Port and its terminals and Ecometal that recycles old car batteries.
“Sillamäe could serve as an example for many other towns in Estonia. We are taking advantage of the benefits that we have and have made smart decisions,” says ex-PM Tiit Vähi who is chairman of Silmet Group and council chairman of Sillamäe Port.
Turnover of Sillamäe Port was 13.3 million euros in 2009, while turnover of Silmet was 24.4 million euros and turnover of Ecometal was 11.4 million euros.
“Sillamäe is the export gateway for Estonia. If trade relations with Russia were slightly better, we could easily triple the volume of goods that we handle every year,” says one local businessman.