Capabilities report

A quick review of the highlights of the NCDC capabilities report is featured below.  To read a copy of the complete document please click here.

Access, Capacity and Development

The Northwest Corridor is one of Canada's leading economic regions. Spanning four western provinces with Pacific Port locations at Prince Rupert, Kitimat, Stewart and inbound and outbound NAFTA trade flowing through Winnipeg, the Corridor has a modern, uncongested and well-connected network of highways, railways, airports and marine port facilities. This network provides key connections to producer and consumer markets in North America, Asia, Europe, South America and Africa.

The western portion of the Corridor, that part which runs through British Columbia and Alberta following the 49th parallel has almost two million residents. An additional eight million live in the regions, territories and provinces adjacent to the corridor. Together these people generate $25 billion a year in personal income and spending power.

Key advantages which characterizes the Corridor:

  • It is the closest North America west coast gateway to Asia-Pacific markets.

  • It has a 1 to 2 day sailing advantage over other west coast ports.

  • It has three safe deep water harbours - Prince Rupert, Kitimat, Stewart, that presently ship billions of dollars of Canadian product around the world.

  • It provides the shortest sea/land transportation corridor between the growing North American Heartland - Edmonton, Winnipeg, Minneapolis, Chicago and Asia-Pacific markets.

  • It provides cost-effective and efficient access to modern, state-of-art industrial, commercial, transport and agricultural facilities located throughout western and northern Canada.

  • It presently has full infrastructure capability that is under utilized: road, rail, and air; trucking transport service and choices of international ports: Prince Rupert, Kitimat and Stewart. It is also an underdeveloped global air cargo route.

  • It requires minimal additional infrastructure to attain large capacity rail increases. East of Prince George, Alberta/BC rail traffic could be increased by 20% to 14 - 15 trains per day with no additional infrastructure investment and could be doubled with the installation of a signaling system. West of Prince George, Alberta/BC rail traffic could be doubled to 24 trains per day with only limited incremental infrastructure improvements.
  • It is connected to the premiere rail system in North America. CN Rail's purchase of Illinois Central and its connections create the first north-south-east-west NAFTA Corridor from BC's north coast to all major distributions centres in North America.

  • It provides one-stop shopping for NAFTA rail service inter provincial and interstate highway coverage via Canadian transport hub at Winnipeg and American transportation hub at Chicago.

  • It is one of the only two western Canadian transportation corridors - the other terminates at the 49th parallel in BC's highly populated lower mainland. Congestion and capacity issues on southern corridor roads, rail, air, and marine terminals are making a case for greater time/distance performance ratios via Northwest Corridor.

  • It has 24 hour, 365 days of the year access and is less impeded by annual road closures, significant weather events, avalanches, and urban related traffic congestion.

  • It physically connects the Northwest Corridor capitals - Edmonton, Saskatoon, Yellowknife, Whitehorse and BC's "Northern Capital" Prince George - helping to promote trade among them.

  • It is a key transportation corridor connecting tourists with some of North America's largest national and provincial parks.

  • Its' Universities and Colleges - University of Northern British Columbia, College of New Caledonia, Northwest Community College, Grande Prairie Regional College, Fairview College, Athabasca University, and Keyano College, complemented by the University of Alberta, Northern Institute of Applied Technology (NAIT), Lakeland College and Red Deer College have established the Northwest transportation and Trade Corridor as the "Smart" corridor.

The Northwest Transportation and Trade Corridor Capability Report, by highlighting these characteristics, illustrates the prominent opportunities associated with the Corridor's transportation, tourism, and industrial and economic development. Further, the report's review of the Corridor's comparative advantages, helps form the basis upon which a strategy can be prepared for the Corridor to complete effectively with southern corridors and ports.