MIT expands global supply chain research with opening of new facilities in Ningbo, China

The Ningbo Supply Chain Innovation Institute China (NSCIIC) has strengthened its role as China’s premier center for supply chain research and education with the appointment of Jiequn “Jay” Guo as center director, and the opening of new facilities at its Meishan campus near the port of Ningbo, Zhejiang, China.

Guo has pledged to expand NSCIIC’s educational offerings and to bring cutting-edge innovation in supply chain management theory and practice to the region. The center’s expanded footprint reinforces its membership within the MIT Global Supply Chain and Logistics Excellence (SCALE) Network, an international alliance of research centers founded at MIT.

In early September, MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics Director Professor Yossi Sheffi welcomed Suzanne Glassburn, vice president and secretary of the MIT Corporation; Guo; Ningbo Deputy Mayor Yanan Xu; and other notable guests to a ceremony to mark the appointment of the incoming director and to inaugurate the new facilities. 

In 2016, NSCIIC committed to becoming a world-class institute of research and education in logistics and supply chain management. The center has modeled its master’s degree and executive education programs after MIT’s curriculum, teaching methods, and evaluation systems in order to foster international talent.

“To date, the institute has established industrial alliances to promote enterprise-wide collaborative innovation and enhance the global competitiveness of its corporate partners. We are building collaborative systems for innovation through deeply-integrated research and teaching,” said Guo at the inaugural ceremony. The center has launched two research initiatives focusing on air transport and supply chain finance, with plans for additional projects.

He outlined a plan for the center to serve not only industry but also younger generations of practitioners in the field. “We can not only extend MIT’s influence to a growing market, but also make a great contribution to human society. Despite recent trade disputes, globalization is a trend that will continue.” says Guo. “With the collaborations among MIT SCALE Network members, the Ningbo center is determined to offer more training and degree programs. Together, we can make our positive contribution to the world.”

NSCIIC also will draw on its close proximity to the port of Ningbo to bolster its status as a world-class institution. Ningbo Port is the fourth-busiest container port in the world by volume and the busiest port by tonnage. It is the first port in the world to reach 1 billion tons of throughput, according to Xinhua News. The port has huge potential for future growth, given its strategic location and deep-water berths. These attributes, in combination with the port’s competitive pricing and vigorous expansion targets, make Ningbo an optimal location for a research and education institute like NSCIIC.

Collaborating with academics and industry in real-world research is one of two primary objectives of the MIT SCALE Network. With the Ningbo center redoubling its commitment to research, the global network of cooperating institutions will expand its influence in one of the world’s most dynamic trade areas. “We identified the Ningbo area as ripe for research innovation and leadership in the sector,” says Sheffi. “The commitment to new ideas is palpable, and international business is investing heavily in the development of this zone.”

One notable example of recent regional development is a commitment from A.P. Moller-Maersk, the world’s largest container shipping company, to the second phase of its multi-billion dollar investment in the Meishan area of Ningbo, the location of the institute.

Sheffi concludes, “With the benefit of a new leader and expanded facilities, we believe that NSCIIC will establish itself as a global hub for education and research in the expanding field of supply chain management.”