(Letter from a Lithuanian carrier to a concerned businessman)
"We, who became the nation of transit, have a hard time sitting around, as we also once were the nation of horsemen. Vehicle herding from one end of Europe to another is like herding a drove of horses; it is in our genes. There is no other such tiny nation whose state number plates are found on such a large number of heavy trucks all over the European autoban; we are very capable to move and we don't like to sit around. We are the symbol of Vytis and Rūpintojėlis. Strength and contemplation, that is the power. This is the power of the samurai. This is such a power which tears clothes and armour apart. Lithuania is not enough for us. We feel at ease only when expanding influences. Vytis is calm only in his saddle, and the rider's place is on his horse.“
Lithuanian businessman, my friend in fate,
We live in a very special time. The economic blockade in Russia is destroying the illusions of peaceful business. Instead of finding the end of the crisis at the end of the tunnel, we find war in Ukraine and tensions between Brussels and Moscow. Lithuania is at the center of this conflict. As always, the price of the conflict lies on the shoulders of Lithuanian business – on your shoulders and mine. We are making adjustments, looking for alternative directions and losing big in terms of profits. However, this letter is not about complaining and assigning blame. It is about the fact that we will be able to "withstand" this blow. By becoming stronger.
There is no other country in Europe, which, throughout its thousand-year history, had to withstand as many threats as Lithuania. According to politologists, we are a geopolitical anomaly – a country which should not even exist. Because our land, which is a logistical crossroad connecting the North with the South and the West with the East, is geographically indefensible. And at the same time it was very valued, and always attracted the attention of great countries. But this is also why, despite the historical invasions of Lithuania every thirty years, we are now free. And we can do business in our independent country. It would not have been possible without our extraordinary people – the hardy Samogitians, the flexible Highlanders, the brave people of Dzūkija and the business-savvy people of Suvalkija – and their determination to resist and stop playing "victims". And never stand idly in one place, no matter what.
Lithuania is a logistics powerhouse
Logistics companies rarely draw strength for their business from the writings of philosophers and semioticians. However, certain things can be discovered in such writings which provide more inspiration than charts and tables of business management systems. On behalf of the whole "Via Genero" team, we are grateful to the late Gintaras Beresnevičius, who was cited at the beginning of this letter, and who so accurately expressed the way that we feel and the things we are proud of while representing our country on the Europen roads.
By transporting Lithuanian products – fruits, vegetables, dairy products and other food and non-food products from Lithuania – we are also exporting the Lithuanian flag. And it does not matter whether our routes pass through the Netherlands, Belgium, Great Britain, or the neighbouring countries, including Russia, we will continue the traditions of our ancestors: to trade, to do business and to connect the West and the North with the Easter European granaries and markets. The Curonians of old, who traded with Vikings a thousand years ago and were famous for their "horses and gold”, did the same thing. This was also done by our warrior noblemen who travelled across the whole Grand Duchy of Lithuania which was once the largest empire in Europe. Today we all are doing the the same thing by trading goods with the European Union and the Eastern countries.
Of course, political conflicts have always been, and continue to be, a terrible challenge for traders. And periods such as the current one provide a great opportunity to test our worth. Still, were our ancestors not able to adapt to much more frequent conflicts and disasters? So we will survive as well. Let's not panic about the halting businesses and failing peace in the East. Let's not fear Russia, but also not curse those who remind us that sometimes we need to stand for our values which once allowed Lithuania to revive. We should learn to pre-assess and weigh the risks of our business in order to balance the interest of a businessman with that of a citizen. We have to respond and adapt, so that we are stopped by neither sanctions, nor war.
The fact that the possibilities for Lithuanians are endless is accurately evident in the wish of Gintaras Beresnevičius:
"We have to enter Europe without complexes, humility or thoughts about our smallness. We are barbarians near the open gates of Rome and we are invited to seize power. [...] We are the North from which Europe has always received the strength for expansion. [...] By ensuring a peaceful life for Europe, we allowed them to build ships from the trees, tar and resin of our forests. Never worried about grain, but only about gold, they traded their gold for our grain and fed Western Europe with bread born in our lands, thus allowing Europe to expand and colonize defenseless continents. We were the backup. [...] Now the backup is the front line. Now we are defending Europe and its values. Opportunity exists. The West is ours – it belongs to our companies, our people, our brokers and our businessmen. It is given for free use, as once Rome with all its provinces was given to barbarians. Otherwise it would not have survived. And we in turn have to help the West.“
Friends of fate, let us not lose our hunger for development. Let us develop our business and "take on" new markets. Let us help Europe by helping ourselves. Let us be the unbreakable power of transit.