The Heartland region’s transportation network is world-class, and the ongoing expansion and improvement will keep it top rate. Alberta’s renowned transportation network provides highly integrated service to points throughout the province, country, and beyond. Direct access is available to northern and western Canada, the United States, and off-shore—to the Pacific Rim. Most world markets can be accessed within 72 hours.
Pipeline and rail are used to provide most of the in and outflow in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland (AIH). Efficiently designed, constructed, and managed pipelines transport products over vast distances and varied terrain.
Major trucking companies also serve the region, benefiting from the province’s 13,000 kilometres (8,000 miles) of paved highway. Nearby international airports connect the Heartland, forming part of a transportation network that meets the highest quality and safety standards.
Transporters enjoy a supportive regulatory environment with the lowest government user charges/taxes and a deregulated system. Alberta transportation costs are reduced through the availability of backhaul rates.
Industries in AIH benefit from the province’s 7,900 route-kilometres (4,900 miles) of railway track. Canada’s two principal railroads, the Canadian National (CN) and the Canadian Pacific (CP), as well as a number of strategically located shortline railways, connect Heartland industries and markets. Alberta rail services offer seamless intermodal transport solutions through its network of professional partners. The region benefits from CN’s access to the Fort McMurray oil sands.
Canadian National Railroad
The CN network is North America’s only transcontinental network, linking eight Canadian provinces, 16 American states, and Mexico. Its North American network offers shippers a gross rail car capacity of 129,000 kg (286,000 lbs) on main routes, as well as 121,000 kg (268,000 lbs) and 119,000 kg (263,000 lbs) on secondary routes.
From Edmonton, CN provides direct service west to Vancouver and Prince Rupert in British Columbia. Prince Rupert is the closest North American port to Northeast Asia. The rail line also extends east to major Canadian cities: Winnipeg and Toronto and the ports of Montreal, Saint John, New Brunswick and Halifax, and into the United States to Chicago—North America’s major railway hub. CN subsidiaries provide seamless service into the U.S., Gulf of Mexico, Mexico City, and Veracruz, Mexico.
In the fall of 2007, CN opened its new state of the art multi-commodity Fort Saskatchewan Oil & Gas Distribution Centre. It is ideally situated next to CN’s Scotford Yard in the heart of the booming oilsands development area and adjacent to what is becoming one of the greatest concentrations of upgraders and processing plants serving the oil and gas industry in North America.
Canadian Pacific Railroad
Heartland industries can also take advantage of the 22,500 km (14,000 miles) CP network. Alliances with other carriers extend CP’s market across Canada, the U.S., and Mexico.
From the CP Calgary terminal, direct western rail service is available to Vancouver. Eastern service connects to Winnipeg, Chicago, Toronto, Montreal, and beyond. CP subsidiaries enable direct access to the American cities of Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C.
The Can-Am corridor is an alliance between Canadian Pacific Railway and Union Pacific Railroad that accelerates commercial traffic between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. It offers routes with fewer terminal stops, reduced terminal processing times, a streamlined customs process, and other features.
In May 2007, CP Rail announced it has sought regulatory approval to construct rail lines to serve planned and existing bitumen upgraders northeast of Edmonton in Alberta’s developing Industrial Heartland. The railway has made arrangements for 25 km (16 miles) of right of way that will provide the ability to develop direct rail service to industries locating on either side of the North Saskatchewan River.
Canadian National offers intermodal services from a northwest Edmonton site, while Canadian Pacific intermodal services are available in south Edmonton.
Additional Rail Resources
Alberta has181,000 kilometres (112,000 miles) of public roads. More than 20,000 kilometres (12,000 miles) of this infrastructure are made up of paved roads and highways that directly link all major markets in central and western North America.
Alberta’s top-quality highway system can handle trucks up to 63,500 kilograms (140,000 lbs). These higher truck weights and dimensions result in the lowest possible unit costs. Industries in Alberta benefit from the lowest road fuel taxes and no provincial sales tax. The province invests revenues from fuel taxes and fees in maintaining and expanding the provincial road network. The Alberta Municipal Infrastructure Program is upgrading the Fort McMurrary infrastructure, including twinning Highway 63, improving bridges, and widening roadways.
Alberta is served by two east-west highways that form part of Canada’s coast-to-coast highway system:
- Highway 1—the TransCanada through Calgary
- Highway 16—the TransCanada through Edmonton
North-South transportation is served by the Queen Elizabeth II (QEII) Highway, providing:
- a direct connection between Edmonton and Calgary
- a link to the Alaska Highway
- a link to the US border at Coutts, Alberta/Sweetgrass, Montana, and beyond through the Canamex Trade Corridor which parallels Interstate 15 through the United States, including Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, and California, and on to the Mexican states of Sonora, Sinaloa, Nayarit, Jalisco, Guanjuato, Queretero, Estado de Mexico, and the Federal District
Industries in AIH are well connected to major markets via major trucking routes including Highway 16 (Yellowhead Trail) with access to the Edmonton – Calgary corridor, the west coast, and as far east as Winnipeg.
Additional Road Resources
- Council of Ministers Responsible for Transportation and Highway Safety
- Transportation Association of Canada
- U.S. Federal Highway Administration
Industries in AIH can easily access Edmonton airports. The Edmonton International Airport is Canada’s fifth largest airport in terms of passengers, serving more than 5.2 million people in 2006. It is the second largest airport in land mass and able to accommodate an immediate 200% growth in air traffic. This is Canada’s most northerly 24 hour international airport. Eleven major airline carriers use it on a regular basis.
The Edmonton International Airport is south of Edmonton along Highway 2—the major highway linking Edmonton and Calgary. It is also close to the Yellowhead TransCanada Highway, connecting the city of Edmonton to Winnipeg and Vancouver. Airport users value the convenient proximity of the Via Rail transcontinental route.
In addition to the International Airport, the counties of Strathcona and Sturgeon both have regional airports.
The Strathcona Airport is located 1.6 kilometres (1 mile) north of Josephburg on Secondary Highway 830, and is approximately 5 kilometres (3 miles) south of AIH. It is managed by Strathcona County. The airport is used for privately owned and commercial aircraft. The lands around the property are primarily used for agricultural purposes. Features of this airport include: one paved runway, 28 bareland lease sites (contact us for availability), and 12 aircraft tie-downs (contact us for availability).
The Villeneuve Airport located northwest of Edmonton is the primary flight-training facility for the Edmonton Capital Region. Its air traffic control tower operates daily from 08:00 to 21:00. The small terminal located next to the tower accommodates a NAV CANADA Flight Information Kiosk. It’s features include: two paved runways; 12 aircraft hangars; total site land area of 573 hectares (1,415 acres). There are approximately 75,000 aircraft landings and takeoffs per year.
Additional Air Resources
Low-cost, long-distance transport is vital to the economic success of plant sites in Alberta’s Industrial Heartland.
The province has an extensive system of more than 373,000 kilometres (231,000 miles) of crude oil, natural gas, sour gas, and other pipelines. They are used to distribute most feedstocks and natural gas, as well as distribute hydrocarbon products. Called the Alberta Hub, this infrastructure delivers up to 17 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of natural gas from the Alberta and Western Canada Sedimentary Basin to domestic and U.S. markets.
Alberta Energy reports the potential capacity of the following proposed pipelines:
- Mackenzie Valley pipeline could result in an additional 1.2 – 1.9 Bcf/d being shipped to Alberta and on to other markets
- Pipelines from Alaska could result in an additional 4.0 – 6.0 Bcf/d being shipped to Alberta and other markets
Alberta has one of the most extensively developed gas systems in the world. The Alberta Hub links 500,000 kilometres (310,000 miles) of gas pipelines—enough pipeline to go around the earth 13 times. Alberta’s natural gas pipelines are part of a larger network that includes approximately:
- 200,000 kilometres (124,000 miles) of flowlines and gathering systems in western Canada’s petroleum-producing areas
- 60,000 kilometres (37,000 miles) of transmission pipelines, from processing plants to Canada’s consuming regions and export points
- 245,000 kilometres (152,000 miles) of distribution pipelines to residential, commercial, and industrial users
Alberta’s network of oil pipelines includes the world’s longest crude oil and liquids pipeline system, and is a major distributor of natural gas. It extends from Normal Wells, Northwest Territories, to Edmonton, Alberta; to Sarnia, Ontario; Montreal, Quebec; and into the north-central United States. Another major pipeline carries oil west from Edmonton to Vancouver, and into the state of Washington.
AIH includes the Enbridge pipeline system—Canada’s largest and the world’s longest crude oil and liquids pipeline system. Enbridge is the primary transporter of crude oil from Canada to the United States and the only pipeline transporting crude oil from western to eastern Canada. The system consists of approximately 9,000 kilometres (5,600 miles) of mainline pipe in Canada and 6,000 kilometres (3,700 miles) of mainline pipe in the United States. The United States portion of the mainline is called the Lakehead System.
Enbridge pipeline systems deliver approximately 2 million barrels per day of crude oil and liquids. The company is exploring the development of two new pipelines as part of its Enbridge Gateway Project.