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September 2018

Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

RailTrends 2018 preview by Tony Hatch

Tony Hatch is an independent transportation analyst and consultant, and a program consultant for Progressive Railroading’s RailTrends® conference.


The lineup for RailTrends 2018 — Nov. 29-30 at the New York Marriott Marquis in New York City — could be our most powerful ever.

As we’ve announced, our 2018 Railroad Innovator Award recipient is Association of American Railroads President and CEO Ed Hamberger, defender of the Railroad Renaissance Faith in D.C. He’ll accept the award and say a few words at this year’s event.

With RailTrends, Progressive Railroading and I strive to bridge all, or most, of the stakeholders in freight rail. It’s why we generally hold to our “No CFOs” rule, chief financial officers often being the major presenters in the innumerable equity/debt conferences — and they often offer a backward look to their most recent results.

That said, we are really excited that Canadian Pacific Executive Vice President and CFO Nadeem Velani will join us. He’ll provide an update on CP’s Precision Scheduled Railroading (PSR) effort and more. It’s CFO Velani and, especially, our CEO roster that help make this year’s event stand out.

Two CEOs of the PSR triumvirate — both of whom also happen to be former chief marketing officers (CMOs) — will be with us: CN’s Jean-Jacques Ruest and CSX’s Jim Foote. RT’s year-end timing enables both of North America’s most dynamic carriers a chance to provide some perspective on their relative operating performances and market share recoveries, gains and opportunities. Completing our CEO Triple Play is Union Pacific Railroad’s Lance Fritz. It’ll mark his first appearance at RT.

A chief marketing officer undercurrent

If 2018 is the year of service recovery — or that’s what we hope it will be, along with it being the Year of (the return of the golden age of) Short Lines — then 2019 simply must be the year of seizing the opportunity that a strong economy and extremely tight transportation capacity have given them. Next year also must be the Year of the Marketing Departments, the year in which rails seize the momentum.

In this light, our focus on the marketing leadership of the North American freight-rail industry is appropriate and timely.

In addition to the two Class I leaders who’d served as CMOs, RailTrends 2018 features the marketing chiefs of two Class Is: Norfolk Southern Corp. EVP and CMO Alan Shaw, and Kansas City Southern EVP and CMO Brian Hancock. We also have a “Short Lines’ Competitive Advantage” panel featuring:

• Anacostia Rail Holdings Co. VP and CCO Eric Jakubowski;

• Genesee & Wyoming Inc. CCO for North America Michael Miller;

• Pan Am Railways EVP and CCO Michael Bostwick; and

• Watco Cos. LLC EVP and CCO Stefan Loeb.

For good measure, a marketing leader from the passenger-rail realm — Amtrak EVP and CCO Stephen Gardner — also will be joining us.

Of course, our annual “D.C. Panel” once again will kick off the summit. Panelists include:

• Anacostia Rail Holdings President and CEO Peter Gilbertson, who’ll represent the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association;

• National Railroad Construction & Maintenance Association President Chuck Baker;

• Railway Association of Canada President and CEO Marc Brazeau; and

• Railway Supply Institute President E. Michael O’Malley.

Meanwhile, Federal Railroad Administrator Ron Batory will make a return visit to RailTrends, this time offering a perspective from his new vantage point.

Other presenters include AllTranstek/FTR’s Dick Kloster, who’ll share his freight-car market wisdom; Oliver Wyman’s Rod Case, who’ll discuss “New Competitive Realities: Growth at Lower Costs”; and Broughton Capital’s Donald Broughton and yours truly (“Rail vs. Truck: Missed Opportunities”). We’ll announce another speaker or two in the weeks ahead. We look forward to seeing you in NYC. For more information, visit


Browse articles on RailTrends Tony Hatch Railroad Innovator Award Ed Hamberger Jim Foote Jean-Jacques Ruest Lance Fritz chief marketing officer

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