2023 Georgia Logistics Summit Delivers Port, Logistics Strategies, Insights in Savannah

Staff Report

Monday, March 13th, 2023

The Georgia Center of Innovation, a strategic arm of the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD), hosted more than 800 attendees at the 2023 Georgia Logistics Summit, where experts offered insights on the intersection of the economy, technology, and growth of Georgia’s ports. Now in its 14th year of bringing together all aspects of the logistics industry, the Georgia Logistics Summit has grown to become one of the Southeast’s most important logistics and supply-chain centered events.

Governor Brian P. Kemp joined the Summit, where his message highlighted achievements based on Georgia’s partnerships across multiple government agencies, foresight in planning, responsible governance, and open lines of communication between business and industry. 

“With the logistics industry contributing one in nine jobs in Georgia, this vital field helps our state remain No. 1 for business,” said Governor Brian P. Kemp. “Our logistics assets are a critical tool in the state’s toolbox to recruit the industries of tomorrow, and it’s no surprise that job creators consistently cite our logistics network as a reason they choose Georgia. You can truly make anything here and get it markets all over the world.” 

This year’s feature panel, “Framing Freight Flow for the Future,” included leadership from across all aspects of Georgia’s ports operations. They cited Georgia’s business infrastructure as central to business needs and highlighted the ways the single-operator port continues to remain nimble to meet demand, consistently expand capacity, and maximize efficiency. Georgia Ports Authority Executive Director Griff Lynch has announced $1.8 billion planned investments in the ports this year, including upgrades of the Mason Mega Rail, Garden City Terminal West, Ocean Terminal, and Berth One.

“The fact that this year’s Summit sold out weeks before the event speaks to how valuable Georgia’s ports and logistics infrastructure are to businesses,” said GDEcD Commissioner Pat Wilson. “Georgia has consistently made strategic investments guided by market needs and feedback from businesses of all sizes, in every corner of the state. Our Center of Innovation team enhances the many assets that make Georgia unique. This specialized team works alongside the logistics industry and other key Georgia industries to position them for growth, and like today’s event, by connecting them with the other resources and businesses that make doing business easier, more seamless, and more efficient and effective.” 

The Georgia Department of Transportation highlighted Georgia’s freight vision to be the global gateway of choice. Half a billion tons of freight moved on Georgia’s transportation network in 2019. While freight movement is led by anchors Atlanta and Savannah, smaller metros and rural counties generate freight throughout Georgia. Projections show that freight is expected to nearly double to 900 million and freight value double to $1.6 trillion by 2050.

A theme that resonated throughout the Summit was that innovation remains top-of-mind for the logistics industry. The Savannah Logistics Innovation Center is leading a regional initiative to identify and source innovative solutions to help overcome supply chain and related logistics challenges for companies. The greater Savannah region is focused on attracting technology companies that provide cutting-edge innovative products and services to the industry. Additionally, with an eye on meeting today’s needs and looking to the future, the state’s research universities and students, including in K-12 education, are playing an integral role in support of this effort.

“In 2021, we saw firsthand how unexpected supply chain challenges can disrupt a company’s trajectory,” said Center of Innovation Executive Director David Nuckolls. “Our logistics team stepped up to help companies navigate the port bottlenecks on the West Coast by moving goods through the Port of Savannah, offering guidance that might not be available to businesses in other states because of the Center of Innovation’s unique role. Events like the Georgia Logistics Summit are another way we make sure Georgia’s businesses have access to the knowledge they need.” 

Georgia’s Logistics Industry Impact 

The total sales impact of Georgia’s logistics industries jumped to $83.4 billion in 2021, equaling approximately 7% of the state’s total sales, an increase from $60.7 billion (or 6%) in 2018. Georgia also outpaced the nation in warehousing services growth at 92.8% growth since 2018. In 2018, one out of every 14 Georgia jobs owed its existence to logistics; today, that number has grown to one in every nine Georgia jobs. Georgia’s ports generate 9% of Georgia’s total GDP at $59 billion annually and growing.

Home to 85% of third-party logistics companies, Georgia is ranked No. 1 for infrastructure and access to global markets by Area Development. Many of the world’s leading logistics companies have operations or headquarters in Georgia including Amazon, The Coca-Cola Company, Delta Air Lines, The Home Depot, Norfolk Southern, and UPS. 

The state is also home to the busiest and most efficient airport in the world, Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, and the fastest-growing seaport in the U.S. at the Port of Savannah. In addition, Georgia offers a robust rail and highway infrastructure, with more rail miles than any other state in the Southeast at 5,000 miles of rail, and 1,200 miles of interstate highways, including I-75, I-85, I-95, and I-20, and 20,000 miles of federal and state highways. 

For additional information on the 2023 Georgia Logistics Summit and to stay up-to-date on next year’s plans, visit www.galogisticssummit.com. 

Participants in the 2023 Georgia Logistics Summit also included leaders from the Savannah Chamber, Georgia Southern University, Savannah Logistics Innovation Center, the Kemmsies Group, ECG Consulting, The Clorox Company, and Splice.