Minot Delegation Represents Our MAGIC City at Conference in Estevan

Posted: May 24 2016
The Minot Area Development Corporation, Ward County, and North Dakota Port Services joined forces and attended the Trade, Transportation and Technology Conference in Estevan, Saskatchewan, Canada. The City of Estevan and the Central North American Trade Corridor Association (CNATCA) hosted this event and welcomed 10 different industry experts who talked about expanding trade, the importance and changes of the transportation industry, and technology improvements.lgestevanconference.jpg

CNATCA brings together businesses, government entities and citizens of the Northern Great Plains which includes Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and Mexico. CNATCA leads collaborative opportunities to drive improvements of the region's long-term transportation economic competitiveness and trade with all of North America and the world marketplace. CNATCA is a non-profit organization made up of communities, tribes, businesses, universities and non-government officials. The purpose of CNATCA is to increase trade, leverage corridor resources, enhance infrastructure, attract visitors, promote regional growth, and revitalize the economy of all countries involved.

Mayor Roy Ludwig, City of Estevan, shared that on average up to $2 billion of free trade crosses the Canadian border per day. Mayor Ludwig talked about Estevan's strong oil economy and farming community along with recent challenges and opportunities Estevan faces, all of which align with what North Dakota is experiencing as well.

Tawnya Bernsdorf, Director of Public Relations at North Dakota Port Services (NDPS), a key panelist at the conference explained the important role NDPS has in the state's transportation industry. She explained the many services provided by NDPS and shared an update on the Port of North Dakota expansion (Port). The Port expansion has laid approximately 12,000 linear ft. of rail thus far, with rail and non-rail served property currently available. There will be a total of 45 miles of track once the expansion is completed, with four dedicated intermodal tracks. Ms. Bernsdorf shared the unique advantages of the Port; access to two Class 1 railroads, city zoned property, access to 3 U.S. Hwys, drop-hook-pull services, etc. She also addressed questions about intermodal activity as well as the transportation impact with today's economy.

Additional panelist at the conference include:
• Sinclair Harrison, President of Hudson Bay Route Association and Chairman of TransCanada Trail Committee for Saskatchewan
• Bryan Richards, President and CEO of Global Transportation Hub
• Rhonda Ekstrom, Vice-President of Business Development for Global Transportation Hub
• Larry White, Owner of LL-International
• Elvira Smid, Executive Director of Eastern Alberta Trade Corridor
• Marlo Anderson of Zoovio Inc. - Your Media, Digitized
• Robert Fisher, CEO of Leaf and Stone Resonance Services, Ltd.
• Paul Gunderson, Director of Dakota Precision Agriculture Center
• Paul Dosmark, Chef Technology Officer and Co-Founder of Canadian Automated Vehicles Centre of Excellence

The conference highlighted that 75% of what's produced in Saskatchewan needs to be exported; with a growth plan targets implying a 66% increase by 2020 for the energy and agriculture industry. Ms. Ekstrom, Global Transportation Hub, explained the bilateral trade between Canada & the U.S. makes our two countries the largest trading partners in the world, so you can envision the importance trade and transportation has between our economies and the world. This event also discussed the future of autonomous vehicles and how that industry will impact the future of transportation. As the trucking industry continues to grow, so do the challenges such as time, traffic congestions, employee shortages, safety, etc., all of which are issues autonomous vehicles could address. Experts shared that 2026 is the estimated tipping point for autonomous vehicle industry.

MADC found the Trade, Transportation and Technology Conference extremely insightful as it covered in-depth opportunities and shared challenges for MADC's targeted industries. This event also allowed the opportunity for MADC to network and pursue the four laning of Highway 52. Through multiple conversations at the conference, MADC discovered various concerns about the potential risks of not four laning Highway 52, the importance for efficiency and safety is a mutual concern for both country's future trade and transportation.