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MIT adds China to its SCALE Network

MIT to create new center at the world’s busiest port in Ningbo, China
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A nighttime view of the Ningbo. “The Government of Ningbo is eager to begin this partnership with MIT,” Mayor of Ningbo Lu Ziyue says.
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Caption: A nighttime view of the Ningbo. “The Government of Ningbo is eager to begin this partnership with MIT,” Mayor of Ningbo Lu Ziyue says.

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A nighttime view of the Ningbo. “The Government of Ningbo is eager to begin this partnership with MIT,” Mayor of Ningbo Lu Ziyue says.
A nighttime view of the Ningbo. “The Government of Ningbo is eager to begin this partnership with MIT,” Mayor of Ningbo Lu Ziyue says.

The government of Ningbo, China — home of the world’s busiest port — is partnering with the MIT 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 and MIT CTL; 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, or LCL (Luxembourg City).

“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,” MIT President L. Rafael Reif says. “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 underway. 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 etwork.

Graduate students at 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,” Sheffi says, “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.

Launched in 1973, MIT CTL is one of the world’s leading centers for supply chain education and research. Part of the MIT School of Engineering, MIT CTL coordinates more than 100 supply chain research efforts across the MIT campus and around the globe. The center also educates students and corporate leaders in the essential principles of supply chain management and helps organizations increase productivity and improve their environmental performance.

The SCALE Network is an international alliance of leading research and education centers dedicated to the development of supply chain and logistics excellence through innovation. Launched in 2008, the SCALE Network now spans Europe, North America, Latin America, and Asia with over ten graduate and executive education programs, 80 supply chain and logistics faculty and research partners, 100 corporate and organization partners, and more than 1,000 alumni working worldwide.

Ningbo is the most active economic center in the south wing of Yangtze River delta economic zone in China, and is the largest petrochemical-industry base with the biggest refinery in the country. The city’s large manufacturing base includes the Geely Group VW, with the production reaching 10 million per year. It has been listed in Forbes “Chinese Best Business Cites” for ten consecutive years.

At present, Ningbo is actively promoting its “Port Economic Circle Initiative” to modernize the city and increase even further its international reach. A leading initiative is focused on the new Center for Shipping and Logistics.

Press Mentions

The Wall Street Journal

In an article for The Wall Street Journal, Loretta Chao writes that MIT is establishing a new supply chain education center in Ningbo, China. Speaking to the logistical challenges the country is facing, Prof. Yossi Sheffi explains that, “logistics costs in China as a percentage of GDP are much higher than in the U.S.”

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