ATLANTA – Georgia's strength as the logistics hub of the Southeast was on display as more than 800 industry stakeholders – almost twice the number who attended the inaugural event in 2009 – attended the 2010 Georgia Logistics Summit at the Cobb Galleria Centre. The event served as the platform for the launch of the annual Georgia Logistics Report on the state of the industry. In addition, logistics experts addressed topics including federal and state policy and planning, innovative technologies and a current perspective from the private sector.
"New and expanding companies tell us that our logistics system, which can get their products to market anywhere, anytime, was a prime catalyst in their decisions to choose Georgia," said Governor Sonny Perdue. "We have the industry represented at this conference to thank for that, and Georgia is committed to helping you continue to grow in strength and speed."
The summit, whose theme was "Fueling Logistics Competitiveness," featured experts in the industry such as Todd Long, Director of Planning for the Georgia Department of Transportation, who discussed Georgia's statewide freight and logistics plan, and Paul Bingham, director of HIS-Global Insight, who gave the national and international trade outlook. A view of the industry from the private sector was presented by Ken Bianco, Vice-President of Commercial Operations for JCB, the third-largest heavy equipment manufacturer in the world, whose North American headquarters is located in Savannah. A panel of eight industry experts fielded questions from the attendees and lent additional insight into issues affecting Georgia's competitiveness in logistics.
Georgia's logistics and transportation network is one of its most formidable assets, undergirding all industry in the state by enabling companies to quickly and seamlessly reach domestic and international markets through interconnected airports, seaports, rail and roads. Companies in the state can reach 80 percent of the U.S. market within a two-day truck haul or a two-hour flight, and the port of Savannah is the fastest-growing container port in the country. The state is home to the fifth-most logistics workers in the U.S. and more than 11,000 logistics service-providers.
The state's assets are so powerful that the Commission for a New Georgia targeted logistics as an industry to cultivate for strategic growth. The Statewide Freight and Logistics Plan is one of the commission's recommendations, and, when completed in 2011, will address Georgia's logistics needs through the year 2050, guiding the strategic execution of logistics activities and projects to improve the flow of goods into, within and out of the state.
The Logistics Summit was sponsored by the Georgia Allies and organized by the Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics, which is led by the Georgia Department of Economic Development. The center helps companies streamline, quicken and lessen risk in logistics innovation by connecting them with university research and industry expertise to find new business models to help them grow.
"It's very exciting to see this event take off the way it has after just one year," said Page Siplon, director of the Center of Innovation for Logistics. "The outstanding quality of our speakers and high attendance are proof that our industry is flourishing and poised for the next stage of growth."
Facts about Georgia's logistic industry
- More than 11,000 logistic service-providers
- World's busiest passenger airport with top 10-ranked international air cargo hub
- Fastest-growing container port in the U.S.
- 4th-largest container port in the U.S. (savannah)
- 6th largest automobile port in the U.S. (Brunswick)
- 80% of U.S. market within a 2-day truck haul
- 80% of the U.S. market within a 2-hour flight
- Most extensive railroad network in the Southeast
- Largest intermodal hub in the Southeast
- Over 230 million cubic feet of cold-storage warehousing including 10 facilities of companies from the International Association of Refrigerated Warehouses (IARW) list of North America's Top-10.
- Operations by 90% of the world's top 25 third-party logistics providers
- More than 100 logistics-related education degrees, courses, programs, and certificates
- 5th in the U.S. for logistics-related patents
- The No. 1 companies on Transport Topic's Top 100 "For-Hire Providers," Private Users," and "Service Providers" lists are located in Georgia (UPS, Coca-Cola Enterprises and UPS-Supply Chain Solutions respectively)