The South Carolina Council on Competitiveness has received a $175,000 federal grant to partially fund an initiative to strengthen and develop the state’s logistics industry.
“South Carolina has established itself as a key player in the logistics industry on the global stage,” said Ann Marie Stieritz, president & CEO of the council. “Our geographic location at the center of the southeastern United States, in addition to our transportation infrastructure – highways, railways, inland ports, the Port of Charleston, and proximity to international airports – give us a natural competitive advantage.”
The Council received a similar federal grant in 2013 to launch its initiative to develop the aerospace industry cluster, now known as SC Aerospace.
According to the S.C. Department of Transportation’s Multimodal Plan, more than 375 million tons of freight, valued at nearly $600 billion, moved across the state’s freight network in 2011. That tonnage is expected to grow by 81% from 2011 to 2040.
Suzanne Dickerson, the former director of international business development for Clemson University’s International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR), was recently hired to lead the council’s effort. One of the first steps will be to conduct actionable research on the companies and assets within the industry, Dickerson said.
“Our first step will be to understand what companies and assets we have in South Carolina’s logistics industry,” Dickerson said. “Once we have that information, we can analyze their current impact on the state’s economy and identify opportunities for growth.”
The initiative will also convene a forum for the industry’s private sector leaders to establish goals and objectives for a strategic plan. The council will also support innovation by working with higher education institutions to develop an inventory of academic resources to solve industry problems.
The grant was provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration.