About the industry

Transportation plays a vital role in maintaining Alberta’s global competitiveness. Efficient transportation is vital for Alberta shippers and producers to access the west coast and the growing Asian market.

Industry fast facts

  • The Transportation and Warehousing sector contributes $11.2 billion annually to the Alberta economy and employs nearly 130,000 people.

  • About 90%of all Alberta exports are shipped to the US. Alberta’s second largest market, Asia-Pacific, accounts for 5.5% of Alberta’s exports.

  • Pipelines are the major transportation mode for Alberta products, with commodity prices producing export values up to $83 billion and representing approximately two-thirds of all shipments.

  • More than $1.5 billion worth of goods was shipped out of Alberta’s airports to destinations around the world in 2014.

  • Together, CN Rail and CP Rail operate approximately 9,600 route kilometres in Alberta and transport in excess of 60 million tonnes into and out of the province each year.

Areas of Expertise

A diverse array of transportation options allows for an integrated approach in transporting goods to both major off-shore and North American markets.

Trucking

Alberta’s highly developed road transportation network provides the trucking industry with excellent access to international trade corridors. In addition to moving significant volumes of freight within the province, trucks are responsible for about $9 billion or 23.5% of Alberta’s non-pipeline international exports with about 90% of all Alberta truck exports destined for the United States. The trucking industry is well represented in Alberta and accounts for 25% of the total heavy truck population in Canada. Registrations of heavy trucks have increased by 57% from 2003 to 2013, reflecting the rapid economic growth in the province, specifically in the energy resource sector which has contributed to Alberta’s proven success in the movement of over-dimensional and overweight materials.

Air Cargo

Air Cargo plays a vital role in moving Alberta’s high value and time sensitive exports to and from global markets. Alberta’s scheduled airports currently handle over 24 million passengers a year. The Edmonton and Calgary airports, where most of the province’s airport activity occurs, together moved more than 168,000 metric tonnes of cargo and in 2014 exported $1.5 billion worth of goods to foreign markets. The Alberta aviation network is made up of two major international airports, 11 regional airports and 72 community airports. The Calgary International Airport is Canada’s third busiest in terms of passenger traffic while the Edmonton International Airport is Canada’s fifth busiest.

Pipelines

Alberta’s oil and natural gas industries require a secure and reliable pipeline infrastructure to ensure the effective movement of the province’s bitumen, crude oil and natural gas to both domestic and North American markets. Alberta’s pipeline network is well integrated into the North American crude oil and natural gas markets with connections to the west coast, the eastern and western United States, and important refining areas near Chicago and the Gulf coast. There are opportunities to further expand the established pipeline infrastructure particularly to the U.S. Gulf Coast and the west coast, to eventually reach more of the overseas markets.

Rail

Alberta is served by both national railways, Canadian Pacific Railway and CN Rail. Collectively these two transcontinental railways and their subsidiaries provide Alberta industry with direct rail access to Canada’s East and West coasts and major US markets in the Gulf coast, the Mid West and the Northeast. Rail volumes for all commodities in Alberta approximate 60 million tonnes annually. Alberta is well positioned to access growing container markets in Asia with two intermodal facilities in both Calgary and Edmonton.