Transborder Issues in the Spotlight at Dalhousie U.

by Katy de Vries

HALIFAX, N.S. – Transborder issues will be the focus of this year’s Atlantic Transportation Forum, slated for Oct. 29, at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia.

Organizers are hoping the venue will have the same impact it did when it first hosted the inaugural conference three years ago.

“We had a pretty packed house three years ago for the last conference, and we are expecting the same for this one,” said Mary Brooks, conference convener, with the School of Business Administration at Dalhousie.

The theme for this year’s event is “Securing the Borders: Unlocking the Myths.”

Brooks said the theme was chosen because border issues are plaguing the entire transportation system.

“The only hiccup in planning the conference was that it lands on the same weekend that the Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association will be holding its annual convention in Charlottetown, P.E.I., and because of hotel availability we couldn’t do much about it,” said Brooks

“I would like to have more trucking experts on the bill to speak but, regardless, the issues and topics we will cover will be of huge interest to the trucking industry.”

The conference agenda is packed with experts and company representatives prepared to share their experiences and knowledge about crossing the border, Brooks added.

“I think the luncheon speaker and the town hall meeting session will be something to attend; they are both a great way to get the entire audience engaged in the discussion and I think that these sessions are the main reason that people come to the event.”

Bruce Levy of U.S. Transportation Boundary Division, Foreign Affairs Canada and the chief negotiator on the Smart Border Accord, will be the luncheon speaker.

Levy will address the state of the Canada-U.S. border relationship, said Brooks.

Also slated to speak is Christine Penney of Clearwater Seafoods.

Clearwater has some serious issues with border security arrangements and the company has had to completely revamp its distribution system to include advanced notification, according to Brooks.

Lloyd McDonald of Stora/Enso will speak about bringing products into Canada and how it affects the inbound side of a production facility, Brooks said.

And International Transport Group’s Jennifer Derby will give a talk on border issues from a freight forwarder’s point of view.

But that’s not all.

Vice-president of risk management for CN John Dalzell is slated to speak on how the railway has addressed U.S. restrictions.

Bay Ferries’ Mark MacDonald will be on hand to discuss the troubles Atlantic Cat has faced.

And Andrew Abbott of Atlantic Container Lines will chat about how the ocean carrier is dealing with 24-hour advance notice requirement.

The afternoon session will include speakers George Malec of the Halifax Port Authority, Brian Flemming of the Canadian Air Transport Security Administration, Solomon Wong of InterVistas Consulting and Harry Caldwell of Regal Decision Systems.

All four speakers will make presentations on security-related topics.

“We are trying to focus on making sure that everybody understands what the issues are, whether they are real or perceived issues because sometimes things are perceived to be a problem only because they are not fully informed. And I think we definitely have the right people in the lineup to accomplish that goal.”

Registration for the conference is $195.50. For more details visit or call Margaret Sweet at (902) 494-3341.

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