Midwest Association of Rail Shippers Explores Opportunities to Fill the Capacity Gaps in Freight Transportation

CHICAGO—January 3, 2018 (James Street Media Services)—More than 600 people have already registered for the 250th meeting of the Midwest Association of Rail Shippers (MARS) that will be held January 16–18, 2018 in Lombard, Illinois. The theme for the meeting is “Can Rail Pick Up Transportation Capacity Shortfall?”

“Shippers are seeing a capacity crunch in the trucking industry,” said MARS President Michael Barth. “During our Winter Meeting, we will be reviewing how our members are poised to fill the freight shipping gaps, and discuss the challenges we will face in doing so.”

Growing attendance—and a popular new Suppliers Exposition—has prompted MARS to move the 2018 Winter Meeting to a larger venue at the Westin Lombard Yorktown Center.

The agenda for the Winter Meeting includes presentations from:

  • Vanta Coda, executive director, Duluth Seaway Port Authority;
  • Jose Guillermo Zozaya Delano, president and general manager, Kansas City Southern de Mexico;
  • Tony Hatch, president, ABH Consulting;
  • Mark Millett, president and CEO of Steel Dynamics Inc.;
  • Pat Ottensmeyer, president and CEO, Kansas City Southern;
  • Phil Shook, director of intermodal, C.H. Robinson;
  • James A. Squires, chairman, president and CEO, Norfolk Southern; 
  • Eric Starks, chairman and CEO, FTR Transportation Intelligence;
  • Beth Whited, executive vice president and CMO, Union Pacific Railroad; and
  • Barbara Wilson, head of surface transportation/president, Wells Fargo Rail.

In addition to the regular agenda, the Winter Meeting will offer a range of educational breakout sessions relevant to transportation executives as well as people new to the industry, such as: Railroading 101; Railroading 201; Intermodal 101; Railcar Fleet Management; and other rail freight-oriented topics. 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.

The conference schedule starts with a welcome reception on the evening of Tuesday, January 16, a full day on Wednesday, January 17—including a luncheon co-sponsored with the Traffic Club of Chicago—and a half day on Thursday, January 18. MARS is also hosting a daylong rail supplier and services vendor exhibition on January 17, concurrent with the formal meeting.

The Westin Lombard Yorktown Center is located at 70 Yorktown Shopping Center, Lombard, Illinois. The registration cost is $300. Registration can be completed online.

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. 


Bill Fahrenwald

James Street Associates


Email: bill@jamesstreet.net