See you at the Summit in October

by Lou Smyrlis

For several years now we, along with our sister publication Canadian Shipper and Dan Goodwill and Associates, have taken a proactive approach to improving shipper-carrier relations, by bringing the buyers and providers of surface transportation services under the same roof with the Surface Transportation Summit to discuss and debate key industry issues.

This year is no different and we are proud to open registration for what we think is the best line-up of topics and speakers we have yet put together. This year’s Surface Transportation Summit takes place once again at the Mississauga Convention Centre on Oct. 14. Visit to register.

We are particularly excited that the Freight Management Association of Canada has jumped on board this year as a partner, helping us attract even more of your shipper customers and potential customers to the Summit. Another new wrinkle this year is the Business Matching program. Those participating in the Business Matching session will be able to pre-select in advance of the conference the companies with whom they wish to meet for private one-on-one 20-minute discussions, allowing both parties to discuss business opportunities in depth.

The Economic Outlook, which starts the Summit, should be particularly interesting this year. The economic recovery stumbled in 2015 as a 50% drop in the price of oil had a dramatic impact on Canada’s energy sector but made for cheaper energy pricing for manufacturing. Meanwhile the significant drop in the value of the Canadian currency (and other currencies) compared to the US dollar is having an impact on north-south traffic flows.

How will these forces play out over the next 12 months? One of Canada’s leading economists will provide an economic overview of 2015 and share his insights on where the economy is headed in 2016. He will be joined by a leading equity analyst who follows the transportation sector and will offer his perspective on how the economy will affect truck and rail carriers specifically. And I will also be interviewing carrier executives for 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 2016.

This will be followed with the largest Shipper-Carrier Roundtable we have put together. I’m moderating this session, featuring no less than seven key industry executives representing major carriers, shippers and 3PLs and we will leave no major subject untouched. You may want to sit up close, there could be some fireworks with this one.

The afternoon will include sessions on carrier benchmarking, shipper and carrier scorecards, best practices in buying a transportation company and outsourcing. We close with an impactful session on the future of retail distribution in Canada. As mentioned it’s an agenda that we are very proud of. I hope to see you there come Oct. 14.

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