Economics of Transport Airships for Food Distribution to Isolated Communities
About 70 percent Canada’s landmass lacks access to all-season road infrastructure. As a result, northern Canada must depend on transportation systems that are high-cost, unreliable, and with service levels that vary seasonally. The lack of low-cost, reliable freight transport service year-round imposes myriad negative impacts on the residents of these regions. For example, the cost of food in the remote communities is 2.5 to 3 times higher than the cost of food in the urban areas of Canada. Airships have been advanced as a potential solution to the high cost of transporting food and the general food insecurity of aboriginal communities in northern Canada (Council of Canadian Academies, 2014).
This paper assesses the potential for a transport airship to reduce the costs of food transportation to isolated communities in northern Manitoba and northwestern Ontario. The analysis is based on the operations of the North West Company’s (NWC) grocery distribution system. The logistics costs for a proposed 50-tonne lift transport airship are compared to the costs of using ice road trucking and small airplanes to deliver food and general merchandise…
By: Dr. Barry E. Prentice and Matthew Adaman, M.Sc