A new partnership in Savannah aims to build an ecosystem where corporations, startups, and universities can collaborate on solving the biggest challenges of the maritime, trucking, rail, and air cargo industries.
Plug and Play, a Silicon Valley based venture capital firm and corporate innovation platform, recently announced its partnership with the Savannah Economic Development Authority (SEDA) to establish a First-Mile Logistics innovation hub in Savannah, GA. The partnership aims to build an ecosystem where corporations, startups, and universities can collaborate on solving the biggest challenges of the maritime, trucking, rail, and air cargo industries.
“The business of logistics is a vital component to Savannah’s economy and includes a world class infrastructure system with the Port of Savannah, unparalleled interstates, the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport, and our extensive Class 1 and Short Line Railroad networks,” said SEDA President and CEO Trip Tollison. “By partnering with Plug and Play and integrating more of the technology side of logistics, we have a unique opportunity to position our region as the long-term leader in the logistics world. This is a huge opportunity for startups and businesses to get in on the ground floor of something that could significantly shape the region.”
“Savannah provides the perfect mix of best-in-class resources to accelerate the growth of First-Mile Logistics startups,” said Plug and Play Founder and CEO, Saeed Amidi. “The significant investments already made in infrastructure and manufacturing in Savannah means that logistics startups will be able to pilot their technologies in real-world environments and achieve their potential faster than they would in Silicon Valley.”
From the news release:
Phase one of the partnership will consist of virtual events centered around the major themes of First-Mile Logistics, with a physical Plug and Play office to launch in Savannah during phase two. The office will be supported by the Logistics Innovation Leadership Council, a consortium of local companies and universities committed to positioning Savannah as a global leader in the logistics industry. Leadership Council members include the Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) and Georgia Southern University.
“Modern ports like Savannah are very efficient at the mechanics and information systems involved in moving cargo on- and off-terminal,” said GPA Executive Director Griff Lynch. “The next frontier in the speed and reliability of global trade lies in predictive analytics and data sharing among the providers of different services, so that supply channels remain fluid. The exciting thing about Plug and Play entering the Savannah market is the potential to remove silos around data and to incentivize the next evolution in cargo management.”
Beyond attracting corporations and startups in the logistics industry to Savannah, a key objective of the partnership will be to connect entrepreneurs and talent in Coastal Georgia to Plug and Play’s global network of 400+ corporations and 30,000+ startups.
“Georgia Southern University is excited to play an essential role in the partnership with Plug and Play and the Savannah Economic Development Authority,” said Georgia Southern University President Kyle Marrero. “Critical to this partnership is the involvement and collaboration amongst the education entities in the region, including Savannah State University, Savannah Technical College, Savannah–Chatham County Public Schools and others throughout the Logistics Technology Innovation Corridor. I believe this partnership will bring great success to the region as we further public-impact research and fill talent development needs across all sectors of the logistics and supply chain industry.”
“Any startup which experiences the great community here in Savannah will strongly consider staying here and setting up an office,” said Plug and Play Vice President, Farzin Shadpour. “All community organizations including the universities are committed to doing their best in making the startups feel welcome and wanted here. This culture of southern hospitality will be our secret sauce to success.”