MIT CTL & Aragón government launch new 10-year agreement


CTL Announces Contract Extension with Government of Aragón

Zaragoza Logistics Center (ZLC) to be a worldwide model in Supply Chain Management

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Center for Transportation and Logistics (CTL) and the government of Aragón, Spain, have signed an agreement, extending their partnership—originally due to expire in 2013—for another 10 years. This extension should solidify the transformation of Zaragoza into a logistics hub for Europe, not only in terms of the physical movement of goods, but also in terms of education and research, through the MIT Zaragoza International Logistics Program developed at the Zaragoza Logistics Center (ZLC).

Since its establishment, this partnership has culminated in an international center of excellence for education and research in logistics and supply chain management that actively engages with industry and the public sector to develop and disseminate knowledge. In the five years since the plan was implemented, the region has developed Plataforma Logística de Zaragoza (PLAZA), the largest logistics park in Europe. The park covers an area of almost 13 million square meters—big enough to house 19 MIT campuses. PLAZA provides the infrastructure and services that companies need to distribute goods internationally. Global retailer Zara has built a state-of-the-art distribution center there. Other top companies that have located in PLAZA include toy retailer Imaginarium and worldwide logistics company DHL. A new intermodal hub has been constructed, and more than 100 companies have set up operations in the park.

ZLC has become one of Europe’s leading centers for supply chain research and education. Since 2005, around 300 students have graduated from their postgraduate programs and over 250 professionals have received executive education. The Master of Engineering in Logistics and Supply Chain (ZLOG) program, modeled on the MIT Supply Chain Management Program, has been expanding since its inception in 2003, and attracts around 200 applicants from across the globe every year for a class of up to 35 seats. The MIT Zaragoza PhD program was launched in 2004 and now features a summer doctoral academy attracting professors and PhD students from top programs around the world.

With this new agreement, CTL and ZLC hope to expand the education and research activities of the center, including more education programs at the graduate level and the inclusion of new distance learning components, as well as increased industry involvement from top companies worldwide. “ZLC continues to play a key role in the economic growth of the Aragón region and the success of the PLAZA Logistics Park in Zaragoza,” says MIT Professor of Engineering Systems and Director of CTL Yossi Sheffi. “This expansion of our partnership will ensure that the necessary resources are available for faculty, students, researchers, and companies across continents to continue collaborating on supply chain and logistics projects that have global impact.”

According to Pilar Ventura, Aragón’s Councilor of Science, Technology, and University, the government is pleased with the new 10-year agreement reached with CTL. She notes that their ongoing partnership has allowed Aragón to become one of the most advanced supply chain centers in Europe. “With the success of PLAZA and the commitment by the Aragón government to improve logistics systems,” says Ventura, “ZLC has carried out a vital coordinating service to the diverse players in the system—companies, universities, and public administrations.” “Through this effort,” she stresses, “we have strengthened the positive synergies between the public and private sectors, and made logistics one of the key factors for companies to consider when producing and offering products and services with high added value. ZLC has greatly contributed to improving not only Aragón’s business competition and innovation, but also its economic development.”

CTL and ZLC are members of MIT’s growing international network of centers known as the Global SCALE (Supply Chain and Logistics Excellence) Network. Dedicated to supply chain education and research, the SCALE network now spans the United States, Europe, and Latin America. The extended partnership between CTL and the government of Aragón officially begins on October 13, 2013.