In a couple of months the sweet distraction of warm and lazy summer days spent relaxing at the cottage will all too quickly fade to the sobering fall ritual of planning for the year ahead. Yet how do you plan for a future held captive to a stubbornly slow growing yet dangerously volatile economy made all the more treacherous by disruptive technologies?
Attending our annual Surface Transportation Summit would be a good start. For several years now, we along with our sister publication Canadian Shipper and Dan Goodwill and Associates, have been bringing shippers and carriers together under one roof to face and understand the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. Carlos Gomes, one of Canada’s leading economists, along with transportation industry analysts Walter Spracklin and John Larkin will be on-hand to share their insights on how low prices, a devalued Loonie, a new federal government keen on spurring economic growth and a strengthening US economy will combine to impact existing business paradigms and freight operations. And carrier executives will be on-hand to outline their thoughts on the coming year and how they will be shaping their business strategy accordingly.
Another favourite session back this year is The View from the Top, with rail, trucking, 3PL and OEM executives sharing where they plan to take their organizations in 2017.
But this year’s Summit will also look much further ahead with a keynote presentation on the future of trucking technology from Ian Wright, CEO of Wrightspeed and co-founder of famous electric vehicle manufacturer, Tesla Motors. Wright will zero in on the impact of electric drive technology to date and share a vision grounded in today’s economic landscape for proliferating EVs and alternative systems and the tremendous impact they will have on the commercial transportation industry.
A fixture of the Summit, my Shipper-Carrier Roundtable, will include influential industry executives representing carrier, shipper and 3PL perspectives. As always, we will focus on some of the toughest and thorniest subjects facing transportation and the executives on the panel are chosen for their willingness to tell it like it is.
We are not stopping there. The afternoon will include a session on emerging freight transportation services with the potential to significantly disrupt how transportation is carried out; a panel discussion on the supply chain of tomorrow; and down-to-earth strategies to drive revenues and cost reductions in challenging economic times.
Preparing for the great changes will require paving the way for the next generation of leaders. Our leadership and mentoring session will examine proven approaches to attract more high-quality management into the trucking industry and mentoring strategies that drive results. We close with an inspiring keynote on reaching new heights in your career from Ian Evans, who knows a thing or two about what it takes to do so, having climbed five of the world’s seven highest peaks when he’s not busy restructuring and refinancing transport companies.
The Summit has also always been designed as a great networking opportunity and this year we take it a step further. The Freight Management Association of Canada, a supporting partner of the Summit, will be celebrating its 100th anniversary with a reception sure to attract some of the nation’s most powerful shippers. I hope to see you there Thursday Oct. 13 at our new venue, The International Centre. To find out more, go to
With more than 25 years of experience reporting on transportation issues, Lou is one of the more recognizable personalities in the industry. An award-winning writer well known for his insightful writing and meticulous market analysis, he is a leading authority on industry trends and statistics. All posts by Lou Smyrlis