Center for Smart Logistics

The Chicago Southland Center for Smart Logistics will be a new facility for the development, testing, and pilot application of automated and green freight technologies, focusing specifically on the movements of goods around and between intermodal operations, manufacturing facilities, warehouses and/or e-fulfillment centers, using regional public or private transportation pathways. Our goal is to attract transportation/logistics/distribution (TD&L) firms to the region and/or grow current regional TD&L firms, expanding worker skills and earnings capacity.

The Center’s focus is distinguished from automation inside the warehouse or long-haul/over-the-road trucking. Due to the significant requirements of land intermodal centers and warehouses/e-fulfillment centers and to harmonize these operations with urban environments, there is a significant opportunity to make these operations more efficient with automation and sustainable technology. The Center seeks to collaborate with companies located in South Cook County, such at Mi-Jack Products, to work in this space, creating software, operating procedures and equipment that would enable these complex environments to use automation, electrification, and other strategies to improve the efficiency and reduce the environmental impacts.

Partner corporations, public agencies, and universities will use the Center to conduct experiments, build and test prototypes, and collaborate with project partners. The Center will provide sufficient building space, infrastructure, and improved grounds to support these activities. At points to be determined, the Center might or might not:

  • Provide a location for the operation of pilot business ventures

  • Employ professional staff who would perform research projects on a contractual basis, in collaboration with regional and visiting researchers

The Center will be located in the southern suburbs of Cook County, where its presence is expected to act as a magnet for the retention and attraction of innovative manufacturing, logistics, engineering, industrial property development, and software firms.

In the current stage of development, the sponsors of the Center are creating a business plan that will determine how the Center will refine its mission and operating plan, be governed, and fund its operations. This plan will be completed in the autumn of 2019.

The initials organizations that are collaborating in the development of the Center for Smart Logistics business plan are: the Center for Neighborhood Technology, Chicago Southland Economic Development Corporation, Civic Consulting Alliance, Cook County Department of Highways and Transportation, Economic Development Administration of the United States, R W Ventures, South Suburban Economic Growth Initiative, South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association, and the Urban Transportation Center of the University of Illinois at Chicago.

The Center will seek additional key participants in the work:

Railroads; industrial developers, logistic companies, trucking companies, Illinois Trucking Association. Illinois Autonomous Vehicle Association, Will County Center for Economic Development,among other.