FreightWaves has sponsored some of the biggest in-person events for the trucking and logistics industry since the Chattanooga-based media and information provider launched its conferences in 2018.
But FreightWaves has never conducted one of its major events in its hometown -- until now.
On Nov. 1-3, FreightWaves is sponsoring what it bills as "a festival like no other" that will bring more than 2,000 logistics industry leaders from around the world to downtown Chattanooga for the "Future of Freight Festival," or F3.
FreightWaves has not only rented the entire Chattanooga Convention Center, but also the First Horizon Pavillion, Coolidge Park and other downtown attractions for what FreightWaves CEO Craig Fuller says will showcase Chattanooga to many of the top leaders and innovators in the trucking and shipping industry from around the world.
"I have long talked about Chattanooga being the Silicon Valley of logistics, and I hope we will demonstrate that and use our downtown to create a unique and powerful conference," Fuller said in a telephone interview Tuesday. "We chose Chattanooga not only because it is our home and the home of so many other logistics-related companies, but it also gives us the ability to sort of convert the entire downtown footprint into our facility. Rather than just meeting in a convention center, we can play into the natural geography of our city and its very walkable downtown."
Fuller said the Chattanooga festival, which he hopes can become an annual ritual for the logistics industry, will be similar to the South by Southwest annual festival in Austin, Texas, or Salesforce's three-day Dreamforce in San Francisco.
Coming out of the pandemic, Fuller said industry leaders are eager to gather again in person for networking, contacts and connections. At an earlier conference this year in Bentonville, Arkansas, FreightWaves had more than 2,000 industry leaders gather for its last major event, "and we're hoping for a lot more in Chattanooga."
"Early November is a beautiful time to be in Chattanooga and our downtown, which is home to so many freight brokerage and other logistics companies, is ideally suited to offer a lot of great opportunities during a festival like this," Fuller said.
As the United States looks to restore more manufacturing amid ongoing supply chain problems, the festival will feature a variety of top industry leaders, including presentations on significant global changes and challenges by John Ibbitson, author of "Empty Planet: The Sock of Global Population Decline," as well as author Peter Zeihan and Reshoring Institute Director Rosemary Coates.
But the festival will also feature entertainment and music from such artists as the Yacht Rock Revue, Pat Green, Larry Fleet and the Eli Young Band.
"This isn't going to be just another freight conference," Fuller said. "It will be an outdoor and indoor festival, with music and entertainment throughout the experience."
The Chattanooga Tourism Co. projects the Future of Freight Festival will pump more than $5.2 million into the local economy during the event, and Fuller hopes the connections and innovations spurred by the conference will ultimately be worth far more.
"There will be a tremendous amount of corporate hospitality going on, and there will be celebrations all over downtown," Barry White, president of the Chattanooga Tourism Co. said in an interview. "Chattanooga has always been known as a transportation city since its earliest days as a railroad city and as an interstate highway hub. Logistics is in our blood here, and we are so pleased to have a strong, proud business here like FreightWaves that is going to bring the world's leaders in logistics here to show off their community and all that we have to offer."
The Future of Freight Festival will be the biggest multiday convention in Chattanooga this year, White said.
More information about the three-day festival is available at libit.ly/FreightWaveFest22.
Contact Dave Flessner at email@example.com or at 423-757-6340. Follow him on Twitter at @Dflessner1.