Calgary is a key transportation and logistics hub in Canada. As Western Canada’s inland port, the city connects millions of customers by air, rail and ground. From a national supply chain perspective, most of the freight coming from the West Coast runs through Calgary before continuing to Eastern Canada.
The city is an emerging centre of excellence and innovation in global aerospace and transportation intelligence, positioning Calgary to attract investment from around the world. The following are six reasons why Calgary is the place to be for the world’s best entrepreneurs working in the safe and efficient movement of goods and people.
1) Excellence in logistics
Calgary has a strong history in specialized and global logistics from its legacy in international energy and agriculture trade. The city has skilled logistics-related talent, a critical mass of providers and servicers, global air access and an established long and short-distance trucking segment, with infrastructure that exceeds competitors its size. Intersected by the Trans-Canada Highway (East/West), Highway 2 (North/South), and the CANAMEX corridor, businesses in Calgary can reach 50 million consumers within a one-day trip via ground transportation. The city is connected to both Class 1 railways in Canada with continental reach, Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) and Canadian National Railway (CN), and is home to many anchor companies, including WestJet, Bison Transport, Wallace & Carey, DSV and more.
2) Innovation and sector-leading activities
Calgary has a burgeoning innovation ecosystem with global leaders in transportation and logistics technology. Attabotics, Hexagon|Novatel, AltaML, and AERIUM Analytics call Calgary home and are at the heart of innovation in intelligent transportation, including fleet optimization, digital supply chain and logistics automation, robotics and manufacturing, and autonomous systems. As Canada strives to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, many Calgary companies are innovating to reach this goal. For example, CP Rail, headquartered in Calgary, is developing North America's first hydrogen fueled line-haul engine.
3) Industry-specific training
Calgary’s post-secondary institutions offer comprehensive programs and certification to support all functions of transportation and logistics, as well as other cluster partners like maintenance, automation, and IT. For example, the University of Calgary has a world-renowned specialty in geospatial science and engineering, as well as a specialization in operations and supply chain management as part of the Haskayne School of Business. The Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) offers Alberta’s only aircraft maintenance engineers technology program; Mount Royal University's aviation diploma is one of Canada’s elite Aviation Accreditation Board International (AABI) accredited programs and offers a concentration in supply chain management as part of its Bachelors in Business Administration; and Bow Valley College also offers a range of industry training, including supply chain and logistics management.
4) Entrepreneurial talent pool
With a signature can-do entrepreneurial spirit, Calgary’s home-grown talent is sought after in transportation and logistics. The city’s levels of post-secondary completion are among the highest in Canada. This is reflected in the fact that Calgary has one of the fastest growing and largest concentrations of workers in the professional, scientific and technical services industry in North America.
5) Commitment to investment
The transportation and logistics sector is recognized as an established industrial cluster in Calgary with strong support from all levels of government and industry partners. From municipal planning and infrastructure, to the Calgary Living Labs program and innovation funding through the Opportunity Calgary Investment Fund, the city is dedicated to growing this important sector as part of its economic strategy, Calgary in the New Economy.
6) Space to grow
Calgary offers a wealth of available and affordable industrial land close to key transportation nodes for effective and efficient development. Three major industrial regions offer a network of industrial parks, intermodal facilities and on-airport logistics parks with easy access to rail, road and air transportation. The Calgary International Airport (YYC) is the fourth busiest airport in Canada, welcoming a record 18 million guests in 2019 with 88 non-stop destinations across Canada and the globe. Despite the challenges on the industry due to COVID-19 on passenger travel, YYC handles 75 percent of Alberta’s air cargo shipments and is Canada’s second busiest airport for air cargo flights.
With its deep historical knowledge in the industry and talent that’s leading innovation, Calgary is set to attract investment regionally and internationally in aerospace, transportation and logistics.