MIT and the government of Aragn to Create International Logistics Program in Spain

Oct. 1, 2003
The MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics has signed a multi-year agreement with the Government of Aragn, Spain, to help create a major international

The MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics has signed a multi-year agreement with the Government of Aragón, Spain, to help create a major international education and research program in logistics in Zaragoza.

The Government of Aragón has promoted the creation of a state-of-the-art logistics park -- a massive complex of distribution centers, warehouses, transportation, dry port and intermodal services -- in its capital city of Zaragoza. This development is managed by a special company PLA-ZA. As part of its initiative, the government is also creating the Zaragoza Logistics Center (ZLC) for education and research a partnership among MIT, the University of Zaragoza, the Government of Aragón, and the logistics companies in PLA-ZA -- to be located in the logistics park. The MIT-Zaragoza International Logistics Program will be the Center's flagship activity.

The Center will offer graduate and executive education in logistics to students from around the world. The offerings will include a master's degree modeled on MIT's Master of Engineering in Logistics program (MLOG), a doctorate degree, and a set of executive education courses leading to certificates in various logistics-related disciplines. The curricula will be taught by professors in the new center, based on MIT's MLOG program; the first courses will be offered in the fall of 2004.

"While the strategic location and infrastructure are crucial to the success of the logistics park, the single most important element that will determine its long-term success is the quality of its human capital," said Marcelino Iglesias, President of Aragón. "The new program will put Zaragoza at the forefront of international logistics education and research."

The MIT-Zaragoza program will also, importantly, conduct cutting-edge research, using PLA-ZA as a working laboratory for international logistics practice. "Instead of putting a laboratory in a university, this program puts the university within a large-scale laboratory," said Yossi Sheffi, Director of MIT's Center for Transportation & Logistics. "PLA-ZA companies will work with researchers at the ZLC and at MIT to experiment with new logistics processes, concepts and technologies developed at the Center."

According to MIT President Charles M. Vest, "The MIT-Zaragoza International Logistics Program will serve as a model for close cooperation between industry and academia and for moving the results of university research quickly and effectively into practice."

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The MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics was founded 30 years ago as an interdisciplinary unit in the MIT School of Engineering. It conducts research in all area of transportation and logistics, involving over 60 faculty members from 11 departments and schools at MIT. It also runs graduate logistics programs and an extensive program of industry interaction involving dozens of leading companies.

Plataforma Logística de Zaragoza, PLA-ZA, S.A. was formed by the Government of Aragón, Zaragoza City Hall, and local companies to develop and operate a state-of-the-art logistics park near Zaragoza. Zaragoza is within 300km of Southwestern Europe's most prosperous regions -- including business centers like Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Bilbao, Bordeaux, and Toulouse -- with a potential of 20 million consumers. The PLA-ZA logistics park is located southwest of the city near the international trade fair facility, the high-speed railway/highway exchange and the 24/7 airport, which can accommodate the world's largest cargo planes.

Aragón is one of the seventeen Autonomous Regions into which Spain is divided. Lying at the heart of the North-East quadrant of Spain, an area which contains 49% of the Spanish population and produces 55% of national GDP, and sharing a 136 kilometer-long frontier with France, it is a natural gateway to Europe from Spain and Portugal. Its key geographical location with respect to both the Iberian Peninsula and the rest of Europe, together with its impressive endowment of infrastructures, means that it is an ideal location for industry and distribution centers, acting as a natural axis for economic and logistic activity