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2020 Conference Objective

To create value for beneficial cargo owners — BCOs — including retailers, manufacturers, consumer product companies, traders, energy, agribusiness, and other major shipper organizations that import into, export out of, or do business within Canada  through high-quality networking alongside an intensive two-day program addressing key challenges shippers face when relying on container shipping services to support their supply chains.

Conference Theme: Calibrating for Change 

Container volume growth through the Canadian freight network may be slowing but pressure isn’t letting up on cargo owners, forwarders, and other transportation providers. Often caught in the trade war crossfire between China and the US, Canadian exporters are scrambling to find new markets and depend even more on efficient supply chains to stay globally competitive. Importers, be they retailers or manufacturers, are under the gun to keep inventory costs under control while delivering goods faster.


Achieving that will require expansion of infrastructure capacity, closer collaboration  among transportation providers, and strategies to respond to volatility resulting from increasing blank sailings by ocean carriers, congestion at marine terminals, or other disruptive events.


There’s no time for complacency, even if containerized trade growth through Canada’s four largest ports decelerated from 5.2 percent in 2018 to 4 percent last year and as disruption eased. If anything, this is precisely the time to calibrate to slower freight growth and to invest in the infrastructure, technology, and people to improve freight flows and ensure that Canada stays globally competitive — no matter how the economic and geopolitical winds blow. 


Now in its fourth year, the JOC Canada Trade Conference promises a packed, informative, and engaging agenda to help cargo owners better calibrate their supply chains and drive conversations among all stakeholders. Armed with unbiased and actionable information, attendees will come away with the following insights, allowing them to drive needed changes in their organization and within the broader Canadian container shipping industry:

  • Canadian and global economic outlook and the implications for Canadian containerized imports and exports.

  • How alliances, carrier consolidation, slowing global trade, and other global forces are reshaping the Canadian ocean market. 

  • Best practices from importers and exporters of containerized goods and commodities. 

  • Guidance on technology that cargo owners and transportation providers can leverage in the near term to drive cargo flow and visibility. 

  • Major Canadian port investments aimed at driving cargo flow on and off-terminal

  • The opportunities and challenges for emerging port gateways.

  • What Canadian shipping leaders see ahead.

  • How to build a logistics workforce able to attract and retain new, diverse talent.

  • What global and Canadian decarbonization pressures mean for containerized supply chains.

Keynote Speaker:
Sylvie Vachon, President and CEO, Montreal Port Authority

As CEO, Sylvie Vachon is driving the Port of Montreal to meet some of the largest challenges facing Canada’s broader container shipping industry: scarcity of talent, growing pressure from stakeholders, limited investment capital, and environmental pressures, to name a few. Her keynote address on how to move beyond opening dialogue with socioeconomic and industry stakeholders to promoting change through trust, collaboration, metrics, and technological innovation will resonate well beyond Montreal. 


The results of her leadership resonate throughout Canada’s second-largest container port. Montreal’s marine terminals have joined together to fight bouts of congestion caused by cargo surges, slashing rail dwell times and truck turn times. At the same time, Montreal is attracting new talent, investing in AI and other technology, and teaming up with some of the city’s hottest startups. Despite space and stakeholder pressures, the port is planning an expansion at its Contrecoeur Terminal, balancing environmental responsibility and social acceptability and working with the private and public sectors to deliver more capacity for future container volume growth.


It hasn’t been easy, nor is it over, but Vachon’s challenge to the industry will echo throughout the JOC Canada Trade Conference and after. The keynote address will be followed by a fireside chat between Vachon and Mark Szakonyi, JOC executive editor and conference chair.

Confirmed Speakers:

  • Christian Dea, Chief Economist and Director General of Transportation and Economic Analysis, Transport Canada

  • Peter Hall, Chief Economist and Vice President, Export Development Council

  • Michael Grier, Senior Vice President of Operations, Dorel Home Products

  • Charles Raymond, President and CEO, Raymont Logistics

  • Audrey Ross, Logistics and Customs Specialist, Orchard Custom Beauty

  • Wolfgang Schloch, Managing Director, Canada, Hapag-Lloyd 

  • Gary Fast, vice president of transportation, Canadian Tire

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