Recap: Pacific Gateway Forum 2012

Wed Nov 07, 2012 07:00 AM - Wed Nov 07, 2012 02:00 PM
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Claude Mongeau, president and chief executive officer of CN, speaks at The Vancouver Board of Trade's Pacific Gateway Forum on Nov. 7. Photo gallery. Photos by Kim Stallknecht.

Claude Mongeau, president and chief executive officer of CN, spoke to The Vancouver Board of Trade on Nov. 7, and said CN is a true backbone of the Canadian economy and can play a major role in helping to advance the nation's trade ambitions.

Speaking at The Vancouver Board of Trade’s Pacific Gateway Forum 2012, Mongeau said the economic significance of CN and its innovative business agenda support Canada's export potential.

“Vancouver is a major gateway for CN's export-based traffic. Roughly C$85 billion worth of goods move to global markets annually over CN's network, with about 30 per cent of CN's carloads being tied to exports to the U.S. and offshore markets. This means we're a major player in Canada's trade and prosperity, and that global trade is very important to our business as well.”

Mongeau said CN's bold agenda of supply chain collaboration, its commitment to operational and service excellence, and focus on seamless end-to-end transportation solutions support growth of gateways such as Vancouver and help make CN customers more competitive in their end markets, at home and abroad.

That agenda is built on CN and supply chain stakeholders coming together to make changes that are driven by commercial forces, he said. Marked improvements have been seen across a number of CN business segments, including grain, which is currently running at record levels, and intermodal, which has grown by more than 65 per cent on the West Coast since 2009.

“We've got a good thing going here,” Mongeau said. “We have world-class rail service and the lowest freight rates among OECD countries. We strongly encourage the Canadian government to stay the course with a commercial approach to rail service. Additional regulation could stifle innovation and chill the positive momentum we've developed.

“But if the government decides to legislate railway-customer service agreements, the new rules should be balanced and targeted.

“CN believes such legislation should absolutely require mediation as a first step to give commercial solutions a better chance to prevail. The rules should also require the Canadian Transportation Agency itself – not a roster of arbitrators – to arbitrate any service dispute, so as to limit the possibility of unintended consequences damaging Canada's rail network,” he said.

“And arbitration should only be available to rail customers who depend on a single railroad, in line with the shippers' call that regulation act as a ‘backstop' to address cases where they claim railway market power is an issue.”

The event also featured Mary Polak, B.C.'s Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, in her first major address to the business community since her appointment, as well as two panel discussions relating to the Pacific Gateway.

The first panel discussion, entitled “Coastal Communities: The economic impacts of our strategic ports,” featured speakers Dianne Watts, Mayor, City of Surrey and Chair of Metro Vancouver’s Port Cities Committee; Morley Strachan, President, Coast 2000; Duncan Wilson, VP Corporate Social Responsibility, Port Metro Vancouver; and Gordon Price, Director, The City Program Simon Fraser University. The discussion was moderated by Marian Robson, Senior Associate, True North Public Affairs and Co-Chair of The Vancouver Board of Trade’s Transportation Committee.

The second discussion, entitled “The Gateway Supply Chain: Collaborating for success,” featured speakers Captain Fred Denning, President, The BC Coast Pilots Ltd.; Ian Anderson, President, Kinder Morgan Canada; and David Colledge, President Colledge Transportation Consulting Inc. The moderator was Sean Finn, Executive Vice-President, Corporate Services and Chief Legal Officer for CN.

For more information, view Mongeau's slide presentation.

Title Sponsor:


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Partner Sponsor:

Port Metro Vancouver

Supporting Sponsors:

BCMEA SFU Beedie School of Business
Jack Austin Centre for Asia Pacific Business Studies

Pacific Gateway Forum
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