Top policymakers and industry experts will share their perspectives at the Coalition of New England Companies for Trade’s (CONECT) 20th Annual Northeast Trade & Transportation Conference, April 12–14 at the Newport Marriott Hotel in Newport, R.I.

Over 250 importers, exporters, government officials, legal experts, and providers of international trade and transportation services are expected to attend the conference, which will feature nearly a dozen educational sessions and keynote presentations as well as networking opportunities, roundtable discussions, and exhibits.

CONECT is also celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2016. As part of the festivities, the organization will also host a special 25th Anniversary Gala dinner at Rosecliff, the historic Newport mansion, on Wednesday, April 13. 

The high caliber of speakers is indicative of the importance of this conference within the New England trade and transportation community.

Those expected to speak during the conference;

  • Randy Bayles, Director International Intermodal, Norfolk Southern Corporation
  • Matthew Bock, Esq., Partner, Middleton & Shrull, LLC
  • Marilyn-Joy Cerny, Customs and Int’l Trade Attorney, Cerny Associates (Invited)
  • Mark Chadwick, President Global Shippers Association
  • Brian Conrad, Executive Administrator, TSA/ WTSA
  • Mario Cordero, Chairman, Federal Maritime Commission
  • Ed Foley, Vice President Business Development, Genesee & Wyoming
  • Peter Friedmann, CONECT Counsel
  • Alan Murphy , CEO & President, SeaIntel Maritime Analysis
  • Val T. Noel, Senior Vice President, Chief Operations Officer, TRAC Intermodal
  • Bethann Rooney, Assistant Director, Port Commerce Dept., PANY/NJ
  • Robert Silverman, Esq., Partner, GDLSK
  • Jay Strongsky , Director, Intermodal Pricing, CSX
  • Peter Tirschwell, Senior Director, Content, IHS Maritime & Trade
  • Dean Tracy, Transportation Consultant, Global Integrated Services LLC

On Wednesday, April 13, Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection R. Gil Kerlikowske will deliver the keynote address on Customs’ Trade Transformation initiative.

On Thursday, April 14, Federal Maritime Commission Chairman Mario Cordero will address the changing business and regulatory environment for ocean cargo carriers. Also on Thursday, Hun Quach, Vice President for International Trade at the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), who is recognized as one of the most powerful insiders in Washington, will articulate private-sector positions on critical trade matters.

Other timely and important topics to be covered by panels of industry experts throughout the conference include: U.S. Customs regulations, free trade agreements (FTAs), Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) shipping requirements, China trade policy, port productivity and labor, the vital role of railroads in port throughput, ocean carrier alliances, export compliance, and the global economic outlook. Peter Friedmann, CONECT’s Washington Counsel, will present the ever-popular “Off the Record” and Washington forecast sessions.

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What's Up Newp. He was born and raised in Rhode Island and graduated from Coventry High School. He serves as Vice President of Fort Adams Trust and serves on the Board of Directors for Potter League for Animals. Ryan also is currently the Senior Editor - North America for Mountain News, publisher of OnTheSnow. Ryan is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA).