Midwest Association of Rail Shippers’ Winter Meeting to Forecast ‘What’s Next For Shippers, Railroads, and the Supply Chain?’

Two-day Event Scheduled for January 13–14, 2016 in Lombard, Illinois
CHICAGO, Illinois—November 10, 2015 (James Street Media Services)—Changing economic and regulatory factors are causing rail shippers to look ahead to 2016 with both excitement and some trepidation. This mixed outlook will be the focus for the 246th meeting of the Midwest Association of Rail Shippers (MARS) on January 13–14, 2016 at a new venue in Lombard, Illinois.
“This is a not-to-miss meeting,” said MARS President George Macko. “It looks like 2016 may be a pivot point for transportation capacity as regulatory issues, the economy, and labor supply have the potential to create significant market challenges for all who ship products.”
The agenda for the MARS Winter Meeting is specifically designed to educate attendees and help them plan for the future. The meeting will:
• Present an in-depth review of the impact new rail regulations will have on shipping capacity—both challenges and opportunities;
• Offer a broader view of regulatory impact on capacity not only for rail, but also for trucking and the supply chain in general; and
• Provide updates on the North American economy, Wall Street activities, railcar supply, and car shop capacity.

There will be panel discussions dealing with changes in rail and trucking regulations from the viewpoint of shippers, carriers, legal counsel, and regulatory agencies. This includes representatives from both the Association of American Railroads (AAR) and American Trucking Associations (ATA) discussing preparations for the changes coming in 2016 and beyond.
In addition to the AAR and ATA, top officials from the federal Surface Transportation Board (STB), Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP), and National Industrial Transportation League (NITL) will be talking about issues that could significantly impact rail shipping capacity and service.
Some of the confirmed speakers are: Lance Fritz, chairman, president and CEO of the Union Pacific; Edward R. Hamberger, president and CEO, AAR; Pat Ottensmeyer, president, Kansas City Southern; Tom Sanderson, CEO, Transplace; Pat Thomas, chairman, ATA; Rick Blasgen, CEO, CSCMP; and Daniel Elliott III, chairman, STB.
In addition to the programs and presentations, the Winter Meeting will once again include a full range of educational breakout sessions such as Railroad 101 and 201, Intermodal 101, and Railcar Fleet Management. New courses in 2016 are Transloading 101 and Industrial Plant Safety Through Design and Training.
There is no charge for these seminars and it is not necessary to attend the conference to attend a seminar. Anyone interested in the subjects is welcome to attend at no cost.
The conference is scheduled for a full day on January 13, and a half day on January 14. The luncheon on January 13 will be co-sponsored by the Traffic Club of Chicago. There is also a get-acquainted reception on the evening of January 12. The Winter Meeting is relocating, and this January will be held at the Westin Lombard Yorktown Center in Lombard, Illinois.
The early registration deadline is Monday, December 28. Register online for the winter meeting.  
Hotel reservations for the winter meeting can also be made online.
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 www.mwrailshippers.com.

Bill Fahrenwald
James Street Associates