Impact & Economic Development

The Center for Logistics, Trade and Transportation (CLTT) is answering Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour's call for economic development and support of the state's transportation infrastructure.

In his State of the State Address in January 2009, Gov. Barbour said: "We need creative thinking if we are to meet our transportation needs, especially job creation."

The Mississippi advantage

A combination of factors puts The University of Southern Mississippi, the CLTT and the state in a unique position to meet the growing transportation industry need:

  • Geography           
    • Located in the fast-growing Gulf South
    • Proximity and access to major U.S. population centers in the "Texas Triangle," Piedmont Atlantic, Florida and Midwest
    • Water gateways to Canada and Latin America markets
  • Mississippi's extensive transportation infrastructure:
    • a roadway network ranked fourth-best in the nation and best in the South, putting the state within a day's drive of 55 percent of the U.S. business and major population centers
    • an extensive network of 20 rail systems covering 2,841 miles
    • seven airports ranging from international to regional - and proximity to three additional major airports in New Orleans, Memphis and Mobile
    • 800 miles of commercially navigable waterways - the Mississippi River, Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway and deep-water ports at the Mississippi State Port at Gulfport and Pascagoula
    • Five U.S. Customs ports of entry and three foreign trade zones
  • the "Port of the Future" - a $570 million redevelopment of Gulfport that eventually will make it the Gulf of Mexico's largest shipping facility
  • planned expansion to the Panama Canal in 2015 or 2016 to accommodate more and larger container ships -- capable of carrying nearly three times' the current payload

'Excellent position'

"I think we are currently in an excellent position in time in Mississippi," says Dr. Tulio Sulbaran, CLTT director. "What the University would like to achieve is when the countries in Central America and South America ship their goods to the U.S., the first thing that comes to mind is the Port of Gulfport."

Sulbaran and University President Dr. Martha Saunders were among a contingent who traveled to Panama in July 2009 and signed memoranda of understanding with the University of Panama and International Maritime University of Panama. A third MOU is expected with Technical University of Panama in 2010.

“The establishment of these relationships in Panama is another example of the integrated efforts of industry, government and Southern Miss that originated the Center,” Sulbaran says. “They open a wealth of opportunities for the students and faculty to expand their academic horizons.”

More jobs, more expertise

The national transportation industry is already suffering from a lack of qualified job candidates - supervisors, logisticians and inspectors with master's degrees. Within the Gulf South, the annual shortfall is projected at 775 positions, including more than 100 in Mississippi.

Industry support

The CLTT stands ready to offer the services and support that the private and public sector need.

More than 75 percent of respondents to an industry survey indicated the need for employees with a master's degree. The CLTT now offers a graduate program in Logistics, Trade, and Transportation.

In addition to future academic offerings, the CLTT will provide special studies, applied research and professional development for:

  • the government and military
  • transportation hubs such as ports and airports
  • carriers - railroads, trucking companies, shipping lines, barge companies, airlines
  • shippers - chief executives and managers specializing in supply chain, logistics, and transportation, storage and distribution

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