The South Carolina Council on Competitiveness received a $175,000 federal grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration.
The funding will partially fund the council’s work to 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 and CEO of the South Carolina Council on Competitiveness, in a news release. “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 - gives us a natural competitive advantage.”
The council received a similar grant in 2013 to further its aerospace initiative, now called SC Aerospace. Stieritz said there are similar principles between logistics and aerospace. She said “when stakeholders come together to make a high-impact industry more competitive on the global stage, the result is economic growth that benefits South Carolina’s businesses and citizens.”
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 South Carolina’s freight network in 2011. That tonnage is expected to grow by 81% from 2011 to 2040.
“Our first step will be to understand what companies and assets we have in South Carolina’s logistics industry,” said Suzanne Dickerson, who was recently hired by the council to lead its logistics efforts. “Once we have that information, we can analyze their current impact on the state’s economy and identify opportunities for growth.”
Dickerson said the council’s initiative will also convene an Executive Form for the industry’s private sector leaders to establish goals and objectives for a strategic plan. The council will also work to support innovation by working with higher education institutions to develop an inventory of academic resources to solve industry problems.