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Transportation and Warehousing

Alberta's transportation and warehousing industry stores and moves the goods Albertans produce. In 2016, it exported goods worth $78.8 billion from the province to 187 countries. Most of the exports were energy products shipped by pipeline and rail. This was followed by agricultural goods and processed food and beverages. The industry also moves people. In 2016, the Calgary and Edmonton airports handled 23.2 million passengers, a combined volume that is second in Canada only to Toronto's Pearson International Airport.

GDP Gross Domestic Product

Gross domestic product (GDP) measures the overall size of an economy. In 2015, the transportation and warehousing industry made up 4.2% of Alberta's GDP. This is a 0.1% reduction from 2012.

Alberta’s GDP
Reduction from 2012
  • transportation of goods by rail, water, air, road or pipeline
  • transportation of passengers by rail, water, air or road
  • warehousing or storage of goods

The transportation and warehousing industry employed 131,800 people in 2016. This is a decrease of 7,500 jobs or 5.4% from 2015.


100,000 men worked in the industry in 2016 (down 800 jobs or 0.8% from 2015)


31,700 women worked in the industry in 2016 (down 6,800 jobs or 17.7% from 2015)

Average Wage
Transportation and Warehousing
Average Hourly Wage
Average Hourly Wage
  • The average 2016 hourly wage of $28.80 for the transportation and warehousing industry was below the provincial average of $29.61.
Industry Performance

The industry provides $11.2 billion annually to the Alberta economy. It ships about 90.0% of Alberta goods to the United States. The bulk of that is through oil pipelines. In 2015, Alberta was second only to Ontario in export values, shipping $93.8 billion in goods. This was a drop in value of 24.5% from the previous year, because of the drop in oil prices. During that same period, the number of exporting establishments dropped from 5.415 to 5,095.

Because Alberta heavy oil exporters don’t have enough pipeline capacity, they’re forced to take on the extra expense of shipping their goods by rail. The approval of more pipeline construction in 2016 and 2017 was seen as a way to reduce that bottleneck.

Industry Outlook

Exports are expected to increase by 4.6% in 2017. While some of this will come from rising oil prices, production is also expected to grow.

Alberta manufacturing exports are expected to climb between 3.6% and 4.0% annually until 2020. Some of this will be because of the growing U.S. demand for machinery and equipment manufacturing as their drilling activity increases. Agri-food shipments are also predicted to increase.

A weaker dollar continues to make Canada a cheaper tourist destination for both residents in other provinces and international travellers. The moratorium on national park pass admissions in 2017 should also provide an incentive for tourists to travel in Alberta.

Industry Employment Trends

Employment in this industry is expected to grow at an average rate of 0.3% from 2016 to 2019.

OCCinfo has more information about occupations in Alberta, including details about duties, working conditions, educational requirements, employment outlook, and salary ranges. You can also find reports on region-specific information about wages, job vacancies, and hiring difficulties in this industry. Visit the Survey Analysis to learn more.

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