Major changes in international trade opportunities for northern British Columbia were created by development of a container port serve at Prince Rupert and CN container rail service between that port and Prince George, BC, with continuing service to the rest of Canada. To examine how these changes can create economic development opportunities for Northern British Columbia, the Northwest Trade and Manufacturing Opportunities Study was born.
The purpose of the Northwest Corridor Manufacturing Strategy is:
1. To identify promising manufacturing industries for investment and job creation in central and northern BC communities in the short to medium term (1-5 years).
2. To provide a background on the region's economic strengths and major existing industries.
3. To outline an ongoing methodology and plan for identifying new industries and opportunities for communities to create jobs in emerging sectors.
4. To provide background on promising industries and their needs so that communities can market to attract associated jobs and investment.
5. To provide an understanding of the increased trade opportunities associated with Northwest Gateway investment and container port development.
6. To set out a plan to continuously identify emerging opportunities and assist communities in attracting investment and jobs in manufacturing.
The study received funding from Canada’s Department of Western Economic Diversification, the Province of British Columbia, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters Association, CN Rail, the Port of Prince Rupert, Prince George Airport Authority, Alcan, and Initiatives Prince George. The team of College Transportation Consulting and EDR Group was selected to conduct the study under contract to the Northern Development Initiative.
The product of this effort was a comprehensive assessment of options, policies and strategic market opportunities to attract business and manufacturing opportunities to the Northwest Transportation Corridor -- a vital northern transportation route aligned with the Yellowhead Highway and CN Rail line that runs from Edmonton west to Prince Rupert and north from Prince George to Fort St. John along Highway 97.