CHICAGO, Ill.—Safety, service, and schedule-some of the most challenging issues currently facing businesses that ship goods via railroad-will be the focus at the January 14–15 Winter Meeting of the Midwest Association of Rail Shippers (MARS).
“Rail Shipping 2015: Meeting the Challenges of High Demand” will be the theme for the 244th MARS meeting at the Hilton Oak Brook Hills Resort in Oak Brook, Illinois. More than 500 rail shippers and representatives from Class 1 and short line railroads are expected to participate.
Industry-insider presentations and hot-topic panels are on the agenda, including sessions on Chicago’s rail congestion, public/private rail partnerships, and updates from Wall Street and federal regulatory agencies.
The kickoff keynote speaker will be Lourenco Goncalves, chairman, president, and CEO of Cliffs Natural Resources. Cliffs operates iron ore and coal mines in North America and Australia. Goncalves has more than 30 years experience in the metals and mining industries.
MARS and the Traffic Club of Chicago will co-host a luncheon on Wednesday, January 14. The speaker for the luncheon will be Claude Mongeau, president and CEO of CN.
The Thursday keynote will be delivered by Clarence Gooden, executive vice president and chief commercial officer for CSX, a provider of rail, intermodal, and rail-to-truck transload services. Gooden has served CSX in a variety of senior positions, and currently sits on the board of the National Freight Transportation Association.
Other key presenters are: Daniel Elliott III, chairman of the Surface Transportation Board (STB); Timothy Butters, acting administrator for the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA); and First Union Rail President Barbara Wilson with a rail equipment update. In addition, analyst Tony Hatch presents a Wall Street perspective on the rail industry, while Adam Nordstrom previews legislative issues, and Eric Starks discusses the economic outlook.
The conference is scheduled for a full day on January 14, and a half day on January 15. During the meeting, MARS will also host the seminars “Railroad 101,” “Railroad 201,” “Railroad 301” and “Intermodal 101,” along with other special-interest breakout sessions. There is no charge for these seminars and it is not necessary to attend the conference to attend a seminar.