By Alex Binkley

Wendy Zatylny ended her nine years at the helm of Association of Canadian Port Authorities much as she started it— by participating in the organization’s annual conference. She announced her Oct. 1 final day in the position several weeks in advance but she was active in the events of the conference and she wound up the closing session brushing her eyes. After receiving a hefty floral arrangement from ACPA, Zatylny wrapped up the conference. She started with it in 2012 in time for its annual meeting that year in Hamilton.

“That was my very first exposure to all things marine,” she said.  “And what a  ride it has been since then!” The topics headlining this year’s conference —  the state of global trade flows, digitalization, greening ports – “reflect the amazing paradox that is the maritime transportation industry – an industry that  dates back millennia, and whose traditions date back centuries, yet whose  members are actively pushing the boundaries of the future – who are engaged in  innovation and the use of cutting-edge technologies and process redesign to move  goods, cargo and people safely and efficiently, at lowest cost – and to help  address some of humanity’s most pressing problems while they’re at it.”

In her closing comment, Wendy said that the pandemic has shown the importance of the country’s national transportation system. “Our CPAs weathered the pandemic storm  of the past 18 months in quite good shape – although – like everyone – it took  some scrambling, ingenuity and hard work to make that happen.” There are significant regulatory and policy changes needed to help ensure our ports can remain strong and at the forefront of competitiveness, she said. A streamlined federal approvals processes would go a long way to allowing ports to leverage their growth capability. “This is even more urgent as we watch Port Authorities around the world address the same growth opportunities with fewer handcuffs placed on them.”

What she was seeking was “a more rapid mechanism for increasing borrowing limits  or a move to mechanisms such as those used by financial institutions to  determine borrowing; a more transparent, streamlined and determined means of amending a Port Authority’s Letters Patent.”

Another request was for more timely Board appointments. These and other changes  ACPA requested “don’t require additional funds from government, and they don’t  require legislative or regulatory changes.”

Her final comment to the conference were “a strong Port leads to a strong  community, a strong economy, and strong ecosystems, both natural and  technological.”

Carl Laberge, the newly-installed ACPA Chair, said the Ports were “saddened to see Wendy leave the organization, but are grateful for her tireless efforts over  the past nine years in growing our national association and for raising the  profile of Canada Port Authorities amongst our key stakeholders.” Jim Quinn, former ACPA Chairman and former President and CEO of Port of Saint John, and soon to be a senator, said Zatylny assembled an excellent team that helped all the Ports and she revamped the association so it has good standing with governments and other economic players.