MIT to Invest in China’s Supply Chain Management Education

MIT to create new center at the world's busiest port, in Ningbo, China

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The government of Ningbo, China – home of the world's busiest port – is partnering with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Center for Transportation & Logistics (MIT CTL) to create a global center for supply chain education and research.

The joint initiative will establish and develop the Ningbo Supply Chain Innovation Institute China (NSIIC). The new center in China will join the global MIT Supply Chain and Logistics Excellence (SCALE) network, which includes centers in Colombia, Spain, Luxembourg, and Malaysia.

The Ningbo-Zhoushan Port, located on the coast of the East China Sea in Zhejiang province, surpassed Shanghai in 2012 to become the largest port in the world in terms of cargo tonnage, with 744 million metric tons of volume that year. Ningbo will leverage MIT CTL's experience as the pre-eminent center for supply chain knowledge creation to build a research institute at this major hub for global trade.

“The Government of Ningbo is eager to begin this partnership with MIT,” says the Mayor of Ningbo, Lu Ziyue. “Ningbo is already a global leader in cargo logistics, and the new institute will be at a global vanguard of supply chain innovation and education. The continual flow of supply chain ideas and leaders will enable companies to further expand and diversify the economic growth of our region.”

Dedicated to supply chain education and research, the SCALE Network now includes six centers on four continents: NSIIC joins the MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics or MIT CTL (Cambridge, MA USA), the Zaragoza Logistics Center or ZLC (Zaragoza, Spain), the Center for Latin-America Logistics Innovation or CLI (Bogota, Colombia), the Malaysia Institute for Supply Chain Innovation or MISI (Shah Alam, Malaysia), and the Luxembourg Centre for Logistics (Luxembourg City) or LCL.

“The supply-chain researchers and practitioners linked through the MIT SCALE Network have developed a superb understanding of how to move goods and services around the world with efficiency and speed,” said MIT President L. Rafael Reif. “The ability to manage these processes effectively has immense importance for society, from accelerating innovation to reducing carbon emissions. Given the scale and impact of Ningbo's shipping operations, it will immediately become a central player in the MIT SCALE Network.”

The building that will house NSIIC has already been identified, and the plans for renovations are under way. The NSIIC will be an independent, stand-alone, degree-granting academic institution established under Chinese law. MIT is already working with leaders from the region to recruit top faculty from around the world.

“China is an essential component of nearly every global supply chain, and nearly one billion tons of goods flow through Ningbo each year. Positioning a research institute at that crossroads of global commerce provides our faculty and students with a unique perspective,” says Yossi Sheffi, Director of MIT CTL and the SCALE network.

Graduate students at MIT SCALE Network centers benefit from the shared knowledge created through this collaboration and also participate in the Network’s global research projects. They take part in MIT's global educational exchange, traveling to other Network centers and learning alongside other Network students. “In essence,” says Sheffi, “our SCALE Network educational model mirrors the global structure of the multinational companies that hire our graduates.”

NSIIC will open in the fall of 2016 with its first master's students matriculating in the fall of 2017. The master's degree will be modeled after the MIT Supply Chain Management Program, which grants the Master of Engineering in Logistics degree. There are also plans for a doctoral degree as well as a portfolio of professional courses for executives, symposia, short courses, and extended on-site events and activities to reinforce NSIIC's connections with corporate partners.

For more information contact: Sarah Smith, Communications Specialist, MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics, email: [email protected]; tel: 617-253-4592

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About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson

Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor specializing in international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He is based in San Francisco, where he provides a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. He may be reached at his downtown office: [email protected].

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