Market Share vs. Operating Ratio Is Focus at Midwest Association of Rail Shippers Winter Meeting

CHICAGO—November 13, 2019 (James Street Media Services)—The Midwest Association of Rail Shippers (MARS) Winter Meeting set for January 14–16, 2020 will focus on volatility in the freight rail industry and how shippers can best adapt.

The meeting will be held at the Westin Lombard Yorktown Center in Lombard, Illinois, and the theme is: Rail’s 2020 Crossroads: Market Share vs. Operating Ratio.

“While railroads continue to become more efficient, overall traffic and the freight market share are declining,” said MARS President Tom Surma. “During the Winter Meeting, we will discuss the impacts on shippers during this challenging environment."

The agenda for the Winter Meeting is still coming together, but scheduled speakers include:
•    Lance Fritz, Chairman, president and CEO, Union Pacific Railroad
•    Travis Krous, director of transportation, Nestle Purina
•    Darrell Wallace, executive director, North American Freight Car Association
•    Eric Starks, chairman and CEO, FTR Transportation Intelligence
•    Adam Nordstrom, principal, Viking Navigation
•    Patrick Ottensmeyer, chairman, president and CEO, Kansas City Southern Railway
•    Kate Kaufman, head of Shipper Operations, Uber Freight
•    Lorie Tekorius, president and COO, Greenbrier
•    JJ Ruest, chairman, president and CEO, CN Railway
•    CREATE update by William C. Thompson, Chief Engineer, AAR, and Tom Livingston, Head of State Government Relations and Community Affairs, CSX 
•    Anthony Hatch, president, ABH Consulting

In addition to the programs and presentations, the Winter Meeting will offer a range of educational breakout seminars relevant to experienced transportation executives, as well as people new to the industry, including: Railroading 101; Railroading 201; Intermodal 101; Railcar Fleet Management; Transloading 101; and State Rail Shipper Assistance. There is no charge for these seminars, and it is not necessary to attend the conference to attend a seminar. Anyone interested in these subjects is welcome to attend at no cost.

The conference schedule starts with a welcome reception on the evening of Tuesday, January 14, a full day on Wednesday, January 15, and a half-day on Thursday, January 16. MARS is also hosting a daylong rail goods and services vendor exhibition on January 15, concurrent with the formal meeting.

The Westin Lombard Yorktown Center is located at 70 Yorktown Shopping Center, Lombard, Illinois. Registration is $300 by December 22 for members and for guests, and $350 after that date. Registration can be completed online at:

Hotel rooms can be reserved at the special MARS rate until December 26.

About The Midwest Association of Rail Shippers

The Midwest Association of Rail Shippers (MARS) is one of five regional North American associations under the North American Rail Shippers (NARS) national organization. Headquartered in the Chicago area, MARS provides an open forum for discussion and resolution of rail transportation issues by bringing railroads, shippers, receivers, and rail supply companies together twice annually for formal meetings in the Chicago area. To review the most recent meeting presentations and to inquire about MARS membership, please visit the MARS website at

Bill Fahrenwald

James Street Associates