Toronto, ON — Attracting Millennials, infrastructure investments and industry collaboration are the three enablers that will ensure Canadian ports and Canada’s logistics supply chain become more competitive, according to Madeleine Paquin, president and CEO of Logistec Corp.
Speaking at the JOC Canada Trade Conference, Paquin said that as technology continues to disrupt business for both companies and consumers, our economy is at the same time being confronted by globalization and protectionism.
“The solution for Canada is to diversify trade across continents,” said Paquin, pointing to recent trade agreements such as CETA and TPP.
“We must be there to facilitate these exports and imports.”
It begins, she says, with attracting talent to the supply chain industry.
“The talent pool is shrinking. It’s not longer about job creation, but attracting talent, specifically Millennials, which is a challenge.”
Building awareness earlier could be key, such as educating high school students about the supply chain as well as leaders promoting the industry in a better light to Millennials, who are very concerned about making a difference in their career, not just earning a paycheque.
“It’s time for us as business leaders to show that we are agents of change,” said Paquin.
She also said that smart infrastructure investments are required to enhance our international competitiveness by making our ports efficient and sustainable.
She pointed to recent funding investments from all levels of government as welcome news, but added that a long-term vision and investment framework is needed.
Paquin thinks industry needs to be a leader and provide the government with guidance.
“We can no longer invest blindly and hope that they will come.”
Talk of privatization will only bring increased costs, according to Paquin an recent example of cooperation in infrastructure being successful is Port Sept-Îles, now the largest mineral port in North America.
When it comes to collaboration, Paquin emphasized that the industry needs to share common goals and certain data, which will lead to making informed decisions that benefit everyone.
“Our supply chain is only as good as its weakest link.”
Paquin cited CargoM as an example of an effective collaboration platform. The Montreal logistics and transportation cluster, where she serves as director and vice president, recently celebrated its fifth anniversary.
“It’s strength is the involvement of members and their collaboration.
“And the ultimate objective is port fluidity and competitiveness.”