May 17, 2020

CN marks US Rail Safety Week with awareness campaign

CN
rail freight
Trespassing
Safety
Freddie Pierce
2 min
CN urges the public to report unsafe behavior
CN Rail is marking the US Rail Safety Week from May 5th with a public awareness campaign highlighting the deadly risks of trespassing on railway tracks...

CN Rail is marking the US Rail Safety Week from May 5th with a public awareness campaign highlighting the deadly risks of trespassing on railway tracks and property. Trespassing is the leading cause or rail-related fatalities in the United States, and CN is attempting to combat this risk by urging the public to call CN police to report unsafe behavior on railway property.

CN Police Chief Bobby Walker said: “Disobeying railway crossing signals or trespassing on railway property is dangerous and illegal. We cannot tolerate that individuals put their lives and those of others at risk. Through a combination of education and enforcement, we aim to change attitudes and behaviors towards rail safety. We must reduce injuries and fatalities on or near railway crossings, tracks, and CN property.” 

CN Police will be out in full force during Rail Safety Week, conducting safety initiatives at commuter stations, CN intermodal terminals and railway crossings in the United States and Canada. CN will visit commuter stations to target a larger audience of rail users, particularly parents who will be urged to pass on safety information to their children. 

For more information about the CN safety blitzes in your area, click here

Railway Casualties

In 2013, there were 2,802 grade crossing and railway trespassing accidents in the United States, causing 683 fatalities, according to the Federal Railroad Administration. More than 50 per cent of trespassing incidents resulted in fatalities. 

CN has been promoting railway safety for more than 25 years through its All Aboard for Safety community education program. Every year, CN Police officers make hundreds of All Aboard for Safety presentations and talk to more than 300,000 children and adults at schools and community events in the United States and Canada about the importance of safety and the dangers of walking or playing on or near railway tracks. Part of the strength of this program is the collaborative relationship with major community safety partners Operation Lifesaver and Parachute. 

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Jun 10, 2021

Will Public Procurement Budgets Increase in 2021?

supplychain
Procurement
budgets
strategies
3 min
Often overlooked, government procurement professionals will play a critical role in helping communities, and local businesses recover from the pandemic

Procurement is more than just a private enterprise. COVID-19 reminded us that sourcing materials is an essential part of the government’s role. Throughout 2022, tiny departments sourced massive amounts of personal protective equipment (PPE), medical supplies, and emergency vaccines and testing kits. Even non-procurement professionals were pulled into the fray, as frantic timelines demanded nothing less. 

According to Celeste Frye, co-founder and CEO of Public Works Partners, the crisis brought procurement to the attention of skilled employees who had never considered it. As non-procurement personnel stepped up to help their coworkers, many found that they’d stumbled upon a critical and rewarding job. “Existing public employees have seen the essential nature of the work”, Frye said. “[They’ve] gained some critical skills and possibly [grown] interested in pursuing procurement as a longer-term career”. 

Small, Local Suppliers Take Charge

Frye, whose firm helps organisations engage stakeholders and develop long-term procurement strategies, thinks it well worth the effort to open one’s mind to new opportunities. Cooperative contracts, for instance, can help public departments and municipalities save money, time, and effort. By joining together with other towns or cities in the region, public procurement teams aggregate their purchasing power and can drive better deals. 

These cooperative contracts have the added benefit of advancing equity. Smaller suppliers that struggle to compete with established firms for government contracts can act as subcontractors, helping big suppliers fulfil bits of the project. Once they get their foot in the door, small, local, and disadvantaged suppliers can then leverage that government relationship to take on additional projects. 

Especially as governments start to pay attention to procurement resilience, public procurement departments must expand their requests for proposals (RFPs) to take into account innovative solutions and diverse suppliers. According to Frye, Public Works Partners—a certified female-owned firm—has benefitted from local and state requirements that specify diversity. 

Post-Pandemic Funding Swells Procurement Budgets 

And the pandemic won’t be the end of it. City governments need to build sustainable energy infrastructure such as solar panels, charging stations, and recycling plants, ensure that masks and medicines are never in short supply, and source new technologies to keep up with cloud and cybersecurity concerns. 

Public procurement budgets will likely increase to match demand. As Peter Ware, Partner and Head of Government at Browne Jacobson, explained, “in a non-pandemic world, the [U.K.] government spends on average around £290 billion on outsourced services, goods, and works...anywhere between 10% and 14% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Post-pandemic, city procurement will only increase as national governments provide local divisions with emergency funding.
And in truth, government employees might jump at the opportunity. Frye noted that public procurement could give immediate feedback on new programmes: “[Procurement] is where new laws and policies ‘hit the road’ and are implemented”, she said. “Professionals in these fields get the satisfaction of creating real change and seeing quantifiable outcomes of their work”.

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