The 3rd annual Smart Freight Symposium presented by the Smart Freight Centre was hosted by the DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University on November 19 and 26, 2021.
The Symposium was once again held remotely on Zoom. It was attended by more than 150 guests from government, NGOs, universities, industry and non-profits, and featured thirty-eight speakers and moderators. Twelve student speakers participated in the Symposium’s first Student Presentation Competition, vying for the Best Student Presentation award and a cash prize of $1,000 made possible by the generous support of Kinaxis Canada.
(1) November 19 “Industry Focus Symposium”
Hosting institution McMaster University opened the Symposium with remarks from Susan Tighe, Provost and Vice-President Academic, and a welcome from Khaled Hassanein, Dean of the DeGroote School of Business. Elkafi Hassini, Professor at McMaster’s DeGroote School of Business and Chair of the Smart Freight Centre, next provided an overview of the Smart Freight Centre, which was established in 2019 .
Equity, diversity and inclusion in the transportation sector
Dale Lynch of the Ontario Ministry of Transportation moderated the first session which featured three speakers.
- Alma Arzate, Director, Global Supply Chain Logistics at Apotex shared some of her personal EDI experiences over the course of her career.
- Angela Splinter, CEO, TruckingHR, discussed diversity and inclusion in Canada’s transportation and logistics industry.
- Anne Robinson, CSO, Kinaxis, spoke about the value of diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
Role of Technology in Freight Transportation
The second session also featured three speakers. Iain Tyrrell of Transport Canada moderated.
- Nando Iannicca, Chair, Region of Peel, gave a keynote address focusing on freight transportation updates in the Region of Peel.
- Shitiz Agarwal, VP, North America Operations, and Matthieu Bureau, VP, Power Systems, both of Schneider Electric Canada explored the transformation to sustainable freight infrastructure.
- Steve Bogie, Vice President of Flight Operations and Technology at Drone Delivery Canada discussed the maturity of technology, regulations and commercialization.
Smart Freight Centre research update
The third session outlined the initiatives taking place at the four Smart Freight Centre partner academic institutions. Nazzareno Capano of the City of Toronto moderated.
- Bilal Farooq presented a research update from Ryerson University.
- Elkafi Hassini presented the McMaster University research update.
- Peter Park provided a research update from York University.
- Matthew Roorda shared the University of Toronto research update.
Closing the November 19 Symposium was Lani Lindsay, VP Replenishment and Supply Chain at Walmart Canada, who delivered the keynote address “Global and local supply chain disruption,” moderated by Laura Cocuzzi, Manager, Procurement Planning and Performance at Region of Peel.
Elkafi Hassini, Chair, Smart Freight Centre, gave closing remarks to end the session.
(2) November 26 “Graduate Symposium”
The November 26 session focused on recent research by graduate students and postdoctoral fellows of the Smart Freight Centre partner institutions Ryerson University, McMaster University, University of Toronto, and York University. All twelve student presenters competed in the Student Presentation Competition.
The session opened with a welcome from Polina Hristeva, Director of Transport Canada.
Moderators on this day were Sabbir Saiyed of the Region of Peel and Lauren Crawford of York Region.
- McMaster University’s Si Liu, Yunfei Ma, and Yanling Zhuang
- York University’s Elham Heydari-Gharaei, David Ornelas, and Ucchas Saha
- University of Toronto’s Kianoush Mousavi, Yaser (Mostafa) Kouchakzadeh, and Shang Zhang
- Ryerson University’s Seyed Mehdi Meshkani, Roderick Zhang, and Saba Sabet
Presentations touched on a wide variety of research projects, using novel methods and analyses, being conducted to improve logistics, including:
- Smart mobile lockers
- Off-peak delivery
- Data visualization
- Artificial Intelligence
- Commercial vehicle patterns during COVID
- Robotic mobile fulfillment systems
- Long combination vehicles at intersections
Next, Amir Khataie, VP Logistics at Chit Chats, presented “Ecommerce Reinvention.”
Traci McIntyre, Academic Program Manager at Kinaxis, introduced the company’s sponsorship of the Student Presentation Competition. This was followed by the award for Best Student Presentation to Yanling Zhuang of McMaster University for her presentation entitled “Optimization of Mobile Robots Warehouse Fulfillment Systems.”
The Student Presentation Competition was judged by a committee consisting of the following three industry experts:
- Brian Bellino, Manager of Continuous Improvement, Purolator International.
- Matthew Judd, Domestic Transportation Manager, Nestlé Canada.
- Sophia Sniegowski Begidzhanov, Corporate Communications Officer, Musket.
Closing remarks from Peel Councillor Dhillon
Gurpreet Singh Dhillon, Region of Peel Councillor, closed the final day of the Symposium.