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Mackenzie River via Arctic may ship Canada's oil sands

A SMALL Northwest Territories barge company may transform a major Arctic waterway a thoroughfare to industrialise northern Canada and make the Mackenzie River something of a Mississippi to access a new oil sands.

The Eskimo-owned Northern Transportation Co Ltd, a barge company at Hay River, has received inquiries from logistics experts who want to know if they can handle heavy-lift project cargo into Fort McMurray, reports Canada's CTV News.

"In one day this month, we had six people say how much would it cost to bring these modules down. Once we gave them the pricing, they said, 'Oh could you do twice that amount?'" said the company's Calgary office manager Martin Landry.

Its said that the barge company has had so many inquiries that Mr Landry has arranged a trip to Seoul to meet with South Korean manufacturing and transportation companies in early December. The interest comes from companies working to supply both the oil sands and non-petroleum projects in western Canada.

"The northern alternative is emerging as Imperial Oil Ltd struggles with a southern option it chose to move the huge items of freight for its C$8 billion (US$7.9 billion) Kearl oil sands project, which is currently under construction," the report said.

Imperial plans to move 207 components to the west coast and up the Columbia and Snake Rivers, where they would be loaded onto trucks to travel by highway to Fort McMurray. Many of those modules are manufactured in South Korea. However, the planned route has triggered an uproar among environmentalists, who have sought to stop loads along a secondary highway through the mountains.

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