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The 2017 Surface Transportation Summit will focus on Canada's Rapidly Changing Business Environment


Donald Trump. Robotics. Omni-Channel Fulfillment. The New NAFTA. Freight Marketplaces. Autonomous Vehicles. The Internet of Things. Andrew Scheer. Brexit. Climate Change. Last-Mile Delivery. Legalized Marijuana. E-commerce. Emmanuel Macron. The Amazon Effect. Drones. Digital Freight Management. Uber. Clean Energy. This is just a partial list of the major forces shaping the world of Freight Transportation in 2017.

This year's Surface Transportation Summit ( will focus on the strategies and tactics that shippers and carriers can employ to address these forces. The event will take place at the International Centre in Toronto on October 11. This is a joint venture between Newcom Business Media and Dan Goodwill & Associates with the support of the Freight Management Association of Canada and the Canadian Trucking Alliance. Northbridge Insurance will be the Gold sponsor, with Navistar, Volvo Trucks and Isaac Instruments, the silver sponsors and Trailer Wizards, the bronze sponsor.

In a year when political and economic alliances, new technologies and environmental policies are changing rapidly, the Summit will provide strategies and tactics to address these forces.  Here is an overview of the agenda and speakers.

The first track is entitled, The Donald Trump Effect and The Economy in 2018: What trends will impact your business? Carlos Gomes, Senior Economist with Scotiabank, will share data on the Key Economic Indicators for 2017 and then provide his insights into the economy in the New Year. John Larkin, one of America’s foremost transportation industry analysts, will share his thoughts on the some of the most important developments in the US transportation industry. Walter Spracklin, Equity Transportation Analyst, RBC Capital Markets, will provide his insights on the Canadian transportation industry.  Sylvie Messier, Corporate Transportation & Customs Manager, IPEX and Doug Munro, President and Owner, Maritime-Ontario Freight Lines Limited will share their thoughts on this topic in a panel discussion.

The second track will examine the rapidly evolving technological forces that are shaping the Transportation Industry. E-commerce, the Internet of Things, Big Data and Predictive Analytics, Drones, Autonomous and Self-Driving Vehicles, Robotics and Uber services for freight transportation may have the same impact as personal computers, smart phones and the internet have had over the past quarter century. Paul Kudla Regional Vice President, Volvo Canada, Marco Beghetto, VP of Communications and New Media, Ontario Trucking Association, Justin Baillie, President, Rose Rocket, Rick Geller, Vice President, Marsh Risk Consulting and Ryan Ernst, Leader, Logistics and Distribution Practice, Deloitte will engage in a panel discussion on how these new technologies will gain acceptance.

How can shippers and carriers collaborate in this rapidly changing environment? Mike Ludwick, Chief Administrative Officer, Bison Transport, Rob Nichols, Managing Director, Domestic Intermodal Sales and Marketing, CP Rail, Justin Yang, Manager, HanH Transportation Management, Eric Warren, Vice President, Business Development, Hercules, Tony Kermally, Vice President, Freightcom, Anna Petrova, Senior Supply Chain Leader, Ferrero, and Hugh MacDonald, Director, Logistics and Distribution, Wajax, will engage in a lively exchange on how to work together more effectively in the new environment.

After lunch, there will be two sets of three parallel tracks. Summit attendees will have the option of selecting the tracks of most interest to them. One session, that is a direct response to the Summit survey results, will address Effective Strategies to Improve the Profitability of a Trucking Company. Two industry experts will share their ideas and techniques.

Running in parallel will be a track on Improving the Generational Gap. It is now common for trucking companies to have a range of family members leading their operations. Isabelle Hétu, Program Manager, Trucking HR Canada will share her research on this topic. Joining her will be Wes Armour, Chief Executive Officer, and Victoria Armour, Director of Recruitment, Marketing and Communications, Armour Transportation Systems and another prominent Canadian trucking family.

The third session will allow the Summit attendees to participate in small group roundtable discussions. The topics will include Shipper-Carrier Collaboration, Best Practices in Cross-Border Freight Transportation, Best Practices in Recruiting, Developing and Training Top Talent for your Business, Preparing for Changes to NAFTA and Border Policies and How to successfully Navigate a Rail Claim with the Canadian Transportation Agency. These tracks, which require pre-registration, will be led by a skilled moderator and subject matter expert.

The second set of three parallel sessions will include the following topics. Angela Splinter, CEO, Trucking HR Canada, Tracy Clayson, Managing Partner, In Transit Personnel, and Tim Hindes, CEO, Stay Metrics, will share their findings on Best Practices in Recruiting and Retaining Quality Drivers, another topic that ranked high in the Summit survey.

Three industry leaders, Bob Ballantyne, President, Freight Management Association, Steve Laskowski, President, Canadian Trucking Alliance and Gérald Gauthier, Vice President, Public and Corporate Affairs, Rail Carriers Association of Canada will talk about the major issues facing the Canadian Transportation industry.

In a third parallel track, Kevin Huntsman, Senior Vice President, Mastio & Company, will provide the results of a recent research study entitled, The Canadian LTL Customer Value and Loyalty Report. One of the highlights of this report is an analysis of how shippers rank and select Canadian LTL carriers.

The final track of the day will feature a keynote speaker, David Segal, an entrepreneur and retail thought-leader. David will talk about How to Build a Successful Business and Brand.

Mr. Segal is best known for bringing radical innovation to a 5,000-year-old product category with the launch of DAVIDs TEA, the company he co-founded in 2008. He takes audiences through his journey, highlighting how he combined his entrepreneurial passion and business savvy to take DAVIDSs Tea from a single store on Queen Street West in Toronto to a $200 million retail giant.

Clearly, this is the biggest and most ambitious Summit to date. In addition to the great educational content, there will be ample time during the day to network with other shippers, carriers, logistics service providers, sponsors, industry vendors and consultants. Immediately following the Summit, the Freight Management Association of Canada will host their second annual cocktail reception. All attendees are welcome to enjoy some refreshments and mingle with the other attendees.

The early bird registration fee is still in effect. If you have any questions about the Summit, feel free to contact me ( Some sponsorship opportunities are still in effect. To keep posted on the latest developments, follow the Summit on Twitter using hashtag#sts17 and join the Surface Transportation Summit group on LinkedIn.  See you on October 11.


To stay up to date on Best Practices in Freight Management, follow me on Twitter @DanGoodwill, join the Freight Management Best Practices group on LinkedIn and subscribe to Dan’s Transportation Newspaper (



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Guest Tuesday, 22 August 2017

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