Competing Technologies And Economic Opportunities For Northern Logistics: The Airship Solution
Barry E. Prentice, Supply Chain Management, University of Manitoba, and Stuart Russell, Braden Burry Expediting (BBE)
Economic development in Northern Canada is constrained by the cost of transportation and logistics. The limited transportation options available increase the direct costs of shipping and add to the indirect costs of inventories. Concerns about climate change impacts, delays in environmental approvals and uncertainty regarding First Nations land claims further increase investment risk. As a result, the transportation solution offered by airships is gathering increased interest in northern Canada.
The purpose of the paper is to examine the market opportunity for a new generation of airships in Arctic logistics. The paper begins with an overview of the logistical options available and potential roles for airships. Subsequently, airship technology development is examined with respect to the product life-cycle theory and the observation of tipping points. The paper concludes with some thoughts on necessary steps to make this technology available in northern Canada.