Edmonton skyline at dusk.

Port Alberta, the potential for growing the Edmonton Metropolitan Region into a transportation hub

Published On
December 8, 2021

EDMONTON – Business leaders in Edmonton say the city is poised to become a transportation hub for North America.

“Edmonton is a logical place for an inland port to occur,” said Malcolm Bruce, the CEO of Edmonton Global, an economic development agency.

“Its northern proximity, its connectedness to the port of Prince Rupert and port of Vancouver, we have two rail lines that connect here and also the start of the CANAMEX, the road that connects Canada to Mexico.”

Edmonton Global is calling the city “Port Alberta” in a bid to attract more businesses to the area.

In recent years, Prince Rupert has primarily moved lumber, oil and natural gas products, but industry leaders want to see an expansion into consumer goods traffic and have it move through Edmonton.

“If you’re looking from a supply chain issue, whether you’re a business looking to set up or you’ve already got a business here, you want options to move product,” said Bruce. “That’s both product in so you can build things or product out after you’ve built stuff.

“We have those capacities here and you have the options here.”

Another selling point for Prince Rupert is the time it takes to unload ships, according to Bruce.

“The port of Los Angeles, for example, a cargo ship is sitting, waiting 21 days to come in to dock and unload,” added Bruce. “In Prince Rupert, that ability to unload quickly and move product, say, through Edmonton then on to Chicago is 80 hours.”

Recent supply chain issues after flooding in B.C. shows how having a second Canadian port could be helpful.

“If you’ve got two areas of supply – so two major ports on our west coast – I think that benefits logistics businesses across the nation,” said Dave Young, the CBRE executive vice president two weeks ago while commenting on the supply chain situation in Vancouver.

“Within our region, the Edmonton metropolitan region, the ability to create this opportunity for these tenants that are looking out of their markets, or might get priced out of a Vancouver market for example, there are those situations where I think those tenants could benefit from being located in the northern part of the province.”

Edmonton mayor Amarjeet Sohi is on board to bring additional investment to the city, saying “Edmonton is well-positioned to be a leader for being a hub for intermodal transportation.”

With files from CTV News Edmonton’s Carlyle Fiset