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Freight Transportation Situation and Outlook Conference*
Moving Forward into the 21st Century

*Organized by the Chartered Institute of Transport in North America (CITNA)
in Cooperation with Its Ottawa Chapter to promote the recognition of excellence in transportation

Conference Chairman: Hazem Ghonima, FCIT

April 17, 2000

National Arts Centre
Panorama Room

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

The aim of the second CITNA Freight Transportation Outlook Conference is to provide an objective forum to review and assess the impact of major issues on future modal freight transportation: Marine, Rail, Trucking & Air.  Political, Economic, institutional, technological, and environmental forces  are rapidly evolving and, with it, the pattern of Global and North American trade and transportation services. An assessment of the impact of these factors on present and future transportation services is vital for efficient strategic planning, business and sustainable development to meet the challenges of the 21st Century.

Major Issues Include:

Global & North American Economic & Trade Outlook 
Freight Transportation Outlook
Transportation Infrastructure Situation;
Public Policy;
Industry & Regional Perspectives
Information and Technology Options.


Eighteen eminent speakers participated in this conference to address the effects of Public Policy, Economics, Trade, Infrastructure, Technology and Information on the present and future movements of goods through competing transportation modes and routes. The Speakers were:

PowerPoint Presentations are Available on CD
Can$25 including shipment

Who Attended

130 participants attended this Conference representing  International, National and Provincial Transportation Related Policy Makers, Executives, Managers, Professionals in public and private organizations as well as academics involved in the multidisciplinary aspect of transportation and related industries.


7:30–8:15 AM
Registration & Breakfast

8:15–8:30 AM

  • Welcome & Opening Remarks
    Conference Chair: Hazem Ghonima, FCIT

8:30–9:00 AM

  • Keynote Address
    Moving Forward into the 21St Century
    Speaker: David K. Gardiner
    President, WESTAC

9:00–10:15 AM
Situation & Outlook Session
Chair: André Pageot
Director General, Marine Policy & Program, Transport Canada

  • Economic Outlook
    Speaker: Mike McCracken
    President & CEO, Informetrica Ltd.
  • Freight Transportation Outlook
    Speaker:Roger Roy
    Director General, Economic Analysis, Transport Canada
  • Transportation Infrastructure Situation
    Speaker: Frank Trotter
    President & CEO, Canac Inc.

    10:15–10:30 AM    Refreshments

10:30–11:45 AM
World Trade Perspectives Session

Chair: Dr. David Lewis
CEO, HLB Decision Economics Inc.

  • WTO
    Speaker: Susan E. Harper
    Direcctor, Services Trade Policy Division, Foreign Affairs & International Trade
    Speaker: David Burnett
    Economic Counsellor, Embassy of the United States
  • EU
    Speaker: Mr. Keith Keen

    Head Research Sector, Directorate General for Energy & Transport, European Commission

12:00–2:00 PM

2:00–3:00 PM
Industry & Regional Perspectives Session I:
Chair:  Martin Brennan, F.C.I.T.
Consultant & Former Assistant Deputy Minister, Transport Canada

  • St. Lawrence Seaway Business Perspectives
  • Speaker: Guy Véronneau
    President & CEO, St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation

    Ports & Containers Gateway Perspectives

    Speaker: David Bellefontaine

    President & CEO, Halifax Port Authority

  • North-South corridor-road, & rail grain transport
    Speaker: Rod Thompson
    Executive Director. Transportation Policy & Economic Analysis, Alberta Infrastructure

3:00–3:15 PM    Refreshments

3:15–4:45 PM
Industry & Regional Perspectives Session II:
Chair: Jean Patenaude
Vice-Chairman, The Canadian Transportation Agency

  • Regulation of Rail under NAFTA Continental Regime
    Speaker: Serge Cantin
    General Counsel, Canadian National Railway
  • Railway Business Perspectives
    Speaker: Bob Ballantyne
    President, Railway Association of Canada, Montreal
  • Trucking Industry Business Perspectives
    Speaker: David H. Bradley
    Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Trucking Alliance
  • Air Freight Transportation Perspectives
    Speaker: Senior Executive
    Air Freight Transporation Industry

4:45–5:30 PM
Information & Technology Session
Chair: Mr. Bahadir Eke
Vice-President Corporate Development, Morrison Hershfield Group Inc.

  • Technology Options
    Speaker: John D.. Pace
    Chamber of Maritime Commerce
  • Helena Borges,
    Senior Policy Co-ordinator, ITS, Transport Canada
  • Information Impact
    Tricia Trépanier
    Director, Transportation Division, Statistics Canada

5:30 PM
Wrap-up & Recommendation
Frank Collins, F.C.I.T.
Retired Partner, KPMG

The Honourable David M. Collenette, Minister of Transport
Transportation Outlook Conference Luncheon Speaker 

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.

It’s a great pleasure to join you here for your annual conference. You’ve assembled quite an impressive gathering of Canada’s transportation community here in Ottawa today, and I’m sure this meeting will be a productive one. 

Transportation has certainly changed over the more than eight decades of your existence. Thanks to the emergence of the global economy, our trade now moves through a much wider sphere than ever before. The world is at the same time a bigger and a smaller place than ever before — far more challenging and complex, but also integrated in ways that couldn’t be imagined only a few short decades ago.  With the challenges of an integrated world come the opportunities.

The growth of regional and continental economies around the world have enabled companies to penetrate markets they couldn’t reach in the past.  The technological revolution has taken this one step further, and connected businesses in one part of the world to their clients and customers all over the world. Many emerging e-commerce models are challenging and changing the traditional pricing regimes and supply-chain management processes we’ve relied on in the past.

With all this activity, the role of freight transportation has never been greater — after all, these virtual transactions must be supported by the actual vehicles and infrastructure that deliver the goods. In fact, the instantaneous nature of e-commerce challenges the transportation sector to deliver these goods faster, cheaper and more efficiently than ever before.

Of course, nobody understands this better than you — your membership includes a large representative slice of North America’s transportation community. Your dedication to promoting ongoing education and excellence — particularly in this rapidly changing and evolving industry — is truly commendable.

How Canada responds to this new world is the focus for your discussions today, and I’d like to offer my perspective on how we can keep Canada competitive and productive in the global context.

As for Transport Canada, we’ve directed our policy and legislative regime to reflect these global changes and to give Canada’s transportation community more control of key sections of our transportation infrastructure.

Transport Canada’s Approach

Take our National Airports Policy and the Canada Marine Act, for instance, two hallmark examples of our renewed approach. Our goal was to allow our airports and ports to be managed and operated by locally based organizations better-placed to run them according to established business principles. Shippers are now able to benefit from facilities that are more directly responsive to their needs.

These examples also demonstrate our commitment to partnerships in the operation of key parts of Canada’s transportation infrastructure — allowing the public and private sectors to do what they each do best. Witness the transfer of management of the Great Lakes–St. Lawrence Seaway system to the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation in 1998. A vital part of Canada’s freight transportation system, the Seaway is now operated and guided by those who understand it best.

We’re now building on our success to date and finding other ways to make the system more responsive to our needs. My department is working hard to update our policy and legislative regime through such key acts as the Canada Shipping Act, the proposed Marine Liability Act, the Shipping Conferences Exemption Act, and the Motor Vehicle Transport Act.

Perhaps the most significant development is the upcoming review of the Canada Transportation Act, in which we’ll measure our progress in the four years since the Act’s implementation.

Indeed, the process has the potential to be a significant instrument for change — an updated and revitalized CTA can help us develop ways to point transportation in the right direction in the years to come, making it more responsive to the forces of globalization and technological change.

But government and bureaucracy can only go so far.

Making Transportation Work Better

As leaders in Canada’s transportation community, we need to constantly ask ourselves the simple question: is there anything we can do to make our transportation system work better? Since our customers are demanding even faster and more efficient service — particularly the kind embodied by ‘just-in-time’ service — the answer to this question must be ‘yes.’

And so we must build on our successes to date. We must continue to apply the principles that have driven us this far — partnerships, innovation and shared commitments to connectivity and productivity — to our transportation system on a wider scale. As earlier generations of Canadians mastered the transportation challenges of the 19th and 20th centuries, it’s up to us to begin setting our course for what’s ahead in the 21st.

Today, I’d like to outline some of the steps we can take to meet this goal by examining three broad categories of solutions — modal solutions, technological solutions, and infrastructure solutions.

I’d also like to talk about how we must recognize not only the opportunities presented by this rapidly expanding world, but to recognize the responsibilities as well. I’m talking, of course, about transportation safety and the environment — and how we must ensure that Canada’s standards and procedures are harmonized with those of our trading partners.

To begin with, let’s establish a context for our trade.


Here in North America, we have one of the best cases of a regionalized economy to be found anywhere in the world. NAFTA has forever changed the way in which we ship freight on this continent. And Canada — with our trade valued at over 70 per cent of our annual GDP — can definitely be considered a trading nation. While Canada trades with nations around the world, the most significant market for our products and services is the North American market, particularly the U.S. — a relationship that translates into some $400 billion each year.

The transportation industry has had to adapt accordingly. For transportation service providers — including everyone from shippers, technology providers, and various intermediaries — and for us as policy-makers, the challenge has been to adjust our approach to fit within this continental context.

Modal Strategies

To meet the challenge, freight transportation service providers are finding that — in many cases — the most efficient way to deliver their goods is across more than one mode. While intermodalism is hardly a new phenomenon, freight companies are nonetheless discovering new and innovative ways to serve their customers and offer an efficient and seamless movement of goods across several modes.

Railways and trucking companies are an excellent example. CP’s Expressway service and CN’s Roadrailer both serve to demonstrate the efficiencies of thinking intermodally. In turn, these companies are able to offer their customers better and more efficient service.

We also have ports — such as Halifax, Montreal and Vancouver — that can handle container ships and then transfer these containers directly onto a waiting double-stacked train, truck-trailer or aircraft. The state-of-the-art UPS Air Gateway at Hamilton International Airport is another example of an intermodal solution developed by carriers to better serve their customers.

But far more can be done. For Canada’s major ports, railways and trucking firms, intermodal shipping has been identified as a key area for growth, particularly in the North American context.

To better understand this phenomenon and to find these opportunities for growth, my department is co-sponsoring — along with the provinces and territories — regional studies of how our freight actually moves. It often travels across several modes before reaching its destination. These studies illustrate a crucial point — that transportation is far more than the sum of its parts.

In this age of ‘just-in-time’ service and highly integrated supply management chains, we must constantly remind ourselves — whatever mode we’re involved in — that the company that can ship goods in the most efficient and cost-effective manner is the one that will get the greatest share of the market in the long run.

Companies are also finding additional strength within their own modes, and expanding their market reach through acquisitions and mergers.

CN’s recent acquisition of Illinois Central is a good example, as is its proposal to combine with Burlington Northern–Santa Fe in the U.S. — an issue that we’re keeping a close eye on, because of the far-reaching effects it would have on North America’s transportation infrastructure.

But as sophisticated and streamlined as our transportation logistics can become on their own, technology can take us even farther.


Many emerging e-commerce models, for instance, are challenging the traditional pricing regimes and supply-chain management processes we’ve relied on in the past. All around the world, transportation service providers are embracing information technology, and finding ways to apply it to their transportation activities.

ITS technology in particular can be applied to many different shipping scenarios — everything from better parcel-tracking to more efficient border crossings. Simply put, this technology can make our freight transportation activities ‘smarter.’ The example that’s often used is that of shipment-tracking by a carrier, which, using ITS, can transmit information on a particular shipment to those who need to know — the shipper and receiver, customs, and any other parties to the transaction.

Transport Canada has developed a strategy to promote the deployment of ITS across all modes of transportation in Canada.

We’ve provided over $7 million in federal funding for ITS developments in Canada, including $250,000 to establish an ITS testbed at the University of Toronto. Fostering partnerships such as this among the public, private and academic sectors is an important first step in helping transportation to benefit from this new technology.

Indeed, the transportation system of the future will be more than simply asphalt, concrete and steel — it will also include innovation, technology and skills. Canada can’t afford to be left behind — I encourage you all to explore how technology can improve your own practices.

Infrastructure Solutions

The third strategy I’d like to discuss today involves looking at our transportation infrastructure. So far, I’ve outlined how we can make our system more efficient between modes, and how we can further enhance it by using technology. But improving Canada’s transportation infrastructure is also important.

Budget 2000 — tabled by my colleague Paul Martin — provided funding for a six-year physical infrastructure program in the order of $2.65 billion. The next step is to have a comprehensive, long-term agreement in place with other levels of government that will define how best to spend this money. In fact, cross-country consultations began recently on how Canadians would like to see the program — including the transportation component — ultimately unfold.

There’s an international dimension as well. The next logical step in any integrated continental economy is to find ways to improve the connectivity of transportation infrastructure beyond national borders, and to think of our trade in terms of corridors.

Quite simply, the notion of trade and transportation corridors — particularly when we’re dealing with two economies as closely linked as Canada and the U.S. — make sense. The core infrastructure is already in place, and in these days of strategic spending, making the most efficient use of our existing transportation infrastructure is essential.

At the federal level, we’re committed to working with our colleagues in the provinces and in the private sector to develop a cohesive national framework for trade and transportation corridors — one that would respect regional and modal differences, and the natural and varied dimensions of Canadian trade.

And it’s becoming quite a phenomenon. Across Canada, regional transportation service providers are joining forces to promote their multi-modal advantages to customers. We’re seeing organizations developing from coast-to-coast, from the B.C.–Washington Corridor Task Force to the Manitoba–Winnipeg Corridor Partners to an Atlantic Canada trade corridor council that is taking advantage of that region’s strategic location in the North America–Europe trade zone.

Trade corridors benefit not only a particular region, but the whole Canadian infrastructure. As the North American marketplace forges even stronger ties both within itself and beyond, this type of competitive advantage can go a long way to making Canada more attractive as a trade partner and business destination.

Our Responsibilities

While we can take many approaches to making our freight run more smoothly in the North American context, we must also remember that these opportunities bring with them attendant responsibilities — I’m speaking, of course, about safety and the environment.

Take trade corridors, for instance. While they provide us with opportunities to expand our trade, they also bring a responsibility to ensure that our processes, regulations and standards are compatible with those of our trade partners. In the NAFTA context, this is particularly important.

That’s why my department has been working with the governments of the U.S. and Mexico to harmonize standards governing vehicles and drivers, vehicle weights and dimensions, traffic control devices, and the transport of hazardous materials. We’re also making progress to ease border crossings in several areas, including developing arrangements for commercial vehicle insurance among the three NAFTA countries.

As you know, transportation safety must be figured into any steps we take to improve our system. Safety has always been — and will always be — my department’s core responsibility.

Through such programs as Road Safety 2001, Direction 2006 for rail, and our recently announced Flight 2005, we’ve established a clear vision for transportation safety in the years to come, including setting some ambitious targets for ourselves, to build on Canada’s already excellent safety record. The centrepiece of this revitalized approach is our Strategic Plan for Transportation Safety and Security, which reinforces our commitment to developing a pervasive safety culture throughout Canada’s transportation community.

And while running a more streamlined and efficient transportation system will greatly help us meet our environmental responsibilities, we need to do far more. By its very nature, transportation has an impact on the environment.

We see its effects every day — from air and noise pollution, to smog-producing emissions, to the use of land and other natural resources required to keep our transportation system going. When we stop and consider that over one-quarter of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions are transportation-based, our responsibility as transportation leaders becomes clear.

Through our work on the multi-stakeholder Transportation Table on Climate Change, which is developing the sustainable solutions we need, and through the $700-million commitment to the environment — and to climate change in particular — included in Budget 2000, the Government of Canada is making this a priority. As central players in Canada’s transportation community, you can do the same, and examine ways in which you can integrate more environmental practices into your own activities.

A clean and efficient transportation system is the backbone of any economy — fostering the smart and lasting transportation system we need will pay off not only environmentally, but economically as well.


Ladies and gentlemen, as I mentioned earlier, Canada is a trading nation, and freight transportation provides the basis of Canada’s prosperity today. And it will continue to be important in the years to come — it will continue to be the backbone of our economic success, particularly in the integrated and globalized world in which we trade.

Today, I’ve offered a three-tiered model for solutions as to how we can best guide Canada’s freight transportation system in the years to come — solutions at the modal, technological and infrastructure levels. These three categories also serve to remind us of the responsibilities that flow from the opportunities presented by this ‘bigger is better’ world — responsibilities like safety and environmental protection.

A complex formula, indeed — but a necessary balance that we must strive for as we set the priorities and strategies that will guide our success in the years to come. To begin laying the groundwork for the future, I’ll be hosting the Millennium Transportation Conference in Toronto this June 11th and 12th. It will bring together a broad cross-section of transportation’s movers and shakers, and will serve to help us identify the key issues facing this sector in the years to come.

I’d like to thank your organization for inviting me to speak today. On behalf of the Government of Canada, I wish you a productive meeting.

Thank you.

For further information contact:

Hazem Ghonima Conference Chairman: 
Phone: (613)
688-1438    FAX: (613) 688-0966,

Revised: January 09, 2005