Norfolk Southern, Norfolk, Va., formed a strategic partnership with Plug and Play, Sunnyvale, Calif., to help drive innovation in supply chain logistics.

Norfolk Southern joined Plug and Play’s Supply Chain & Logistics Innovation Platform to engage with startups focused on creating applications of artificial intelligence, machine learning, the industrial internet of things and advanced analytics in supply chains.

“As we continually look for technology solutions to improve safety, better serve our customers and improve railroad operations, this partnership will give us greater access to technology startup companies and the broader Silicon Valley ecosystem,” says Fred Ehlers, vice president information technology and chief information officer, Norfolk Southern.

Plug and Play will identify and connect Norfolk Southern with startup companies marketing cutting-edge technology that aligns with Norfolk Southern’s operational goals. This collaboration will further assist Norfolk Southern as it continues to develop innovative business strategies in specific focus areas, such as automation, drone inspections, internet of things-enabled asset tracking, blockchain for supply chain management and predictive maintenance through data analytics.

“We are very excited to have Norfolk Southern on board as our newest supply chain and logistics partner. They are a perfect fit for our ecosystem of industry-leading corporate partners from multiple industries like ExxonMobil, ArcelorMittal, Lufthansa Cargo, BASF, Panasonic, Prologis, DHL and the United States Postal Service," adds Mike Zayonc, founder of Plug and Play’s Supply Chain & Logistics Innovation Platform. “Partnering with Norfolk Southern will let us continue to drive digital transformation in the rail industry through our program.”