The Port of Savannah, warehouses and distribution centers, busy railroads, and truck traffic make up the region's logistics industry. As the nation's fastest growing port, Savannah is a vital link in the global supply chain. And for years, local leaders have been working to make the industry's entry into the market as smooth as possible.
On November 1, industry leaders unveiled another step in that direction. A group of 12 supply chain and logistics startups is the first to join the Savannah Business Accelerator Program, which aims to solve supply chain challenges with innovative technology solutions.
Director of Costa Creative. The initiative aims to transform Savannah into a logistics technology corridor.
E. The logistics technology corridor is expected to drive future growth
The business accelerator program is run by Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm Plug and Play Tech Center, a business innovation platform that connects startups looking for solutions to problems or companies looking for a "vulnerability".
According to the Plug and Play website, the company has been active in 20 different industries with more than 50,000 startups and 500 corporate clients such as BMW, PayPal and Shell. Through Plug and Play, startups can access funding, mentors, industry conferences and a wide network of companies. At the same time, there are several startups available to corporate clients, offering innovative technological solutions for their specific needs.
In Savannah, the goal is to connect a group of supply chain and logistics startups with a growing industry to modernize and streamline port operations through physical products, software or other tools.
In addition Poised to succeed as a technology corridor
Editorial staff. The technical corridor can increase the workforce
The project is also an important step for the Savannah Logistics Innovation Center (SLIC), which aims to make Savannah a leader in the logistics industry by 2021. Technological companies, especially start-ups, have been working for years to bring innovation and entrepreneurship to the region, helping to develop one of the most important sectors of the local economy.
Lawmakers in the Georgia General Assembly made Savannah one of two technology corridors in the state; These geographically defined areas offer a package of incentives to attract businesses, jobs and workers to the area. The Business Accelerator program now serves as a conduit for these resources.
Other partners involved in the project include the Savannah Economic Development Authority (SEDA) and local universities: Georgia Southern University, Savannah State and Savannah Technical College. Academic resources will serve as experts and provide research and students to support these startups.
Creating the right workforce for the industry is another factor in Savannah's success as a logistics technology corridor. According to Dr. Scott Ellis, president and professor of logistics and supply chain management at Georgia Southern University, a master's program in supply chain and logistics will be launched.
Through the plug-and-play model, it has essentially "created an ecosystem where businesses, startups and universities can work together to solve the biggest challenges in shipping, delivery, rail and warehouses," said Katherine Saunders, project leader.
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E-commerce demand has surged due to pandemic-related shopping, boosting business and busy operations at the Port of Savannah. Increased product demand has exposed additional supply chain vulnerabilities.
Last fall, when imports peaked, about 35 ships anchored off Tybee Island couldn't move their cargo because their tails were taking up land space. Back in July, the number of ships in the bay reached 45, although it is gradually decreasing.
What needs to be improved is data sharing in sectors such as retail, rail, landline operators and ocean carriers, GPA CEO Griff Lynch said in a speech on Thursday. As ports continue to expand their inland storage capacity (TEU), it is also important to move these cargoes to their destinations.
"Everybody's in their bunkers … We know that technology has to be part of supply chain improvement," Lynch said.
Plug and Play hosted a group show that started on Thursday, November 3rd. The event attracted 12 startups from around the world and showcased potential solutions that address various chain pain points. Among them was Splice, which offers a range of tools to improve logistics collaboration through tracking software and devices to minimize port congestion. The company has already conducted several pilot programs with GPA and Port City Logistics, according to CEO and co-founder Kevin Spears.
Einride, part of the cohort, is a Swedish climate-focused trucking company that produces a fleet of electric and autonomous vehicles. Einride, founded in 2016, currently has the largest fleet of electric vehicles in Europe and already has vehicles in five countries. Their autonomous and electric vehicles reduce transport costs and CO2 emissions. The company will soon have 300 trucks with shipping company Maersk.
Other companies hope to establish business partnerships in Savannah through this program. According to CEO Sebastian Gomez Puerto, Ridendock is building a mobility tool that allows warehouse workers to move around the workplace safely and easily, and is more cost-effective than warehouse mobility tools.
"Savannah now has a 90 million square foot storage facility," Puerto said, "and will be the number one storage facility in the country in the next three to five years."
Puerto said the company will move to Savannah to start a pilot program. Another company, Really Virtual, which uses virtual reality to manage and train truck drivers, has announced a move from Irvine, California to Savannah.
Learn more about Plug and Play Savannah: https://www.plugandplaytechcenter.com/savannah/
"So we're really trying to build this ecosystem and more people around it by investing and investing in opportunities in technology and bringing entrepreneurship to the Savannah market," said Bart Gobeil, SLIC. the manager
Savannah has the industry and workforce potential to build this ecosystem, but more needs to be done to engage the existing community, said Jesse Dillon, vice president of business development for SEDA. Part of that, he says, is getting students involved early to ignite that seed and let them know that these opportunities exist.
"They're looking at Los Angeles, New York, New Jersey and Savannah," Dillon said, "We punch above our weight class."
Nancy Guang is a senior operations reporter covering Chatham County communities. She can be reached at [email protected] or @nancyguann on Twitter.
This article first appeared in the Savannah Morning News. The new program advances the Savannah Logistics Technology Corridor