Transportation

Transportation is a large industry within the NWT, accounting for seven per cent of the total GDP. This sector comprises primarily engaged in transporting passengers and good, warehousing and storing goods, and providing services to these establishments. 

The Mackenzie River system stretches from the top of Alberta to the Beaufort Sea, far above the Arctic Circle. The river is a natural highway and shipping route through the territory, and at the Beaufort, it joins increasingly well-travelled polar sea routes. There’s a rail line joining the river to southern Canada, as well.

Highways are crucial for moving goods, and the southern Northwest Territories has a network of highways linking major centres and joining these locations to the south. 
In the first three months of the year ice roads expand the highway network to serve mines, isolated communities and exploration sites. The NWT has a core of ice road construction expertise and can be considered the world experts in this essential field. A kilometer long bridge spans the Mackenzie River by 2012, joining Yellowknife to the outside world on a year round basis.

Four airlines connect from southern hubs, providing daily jet service to the larger centres. In fact, Yellowknife is 1000 km closer to Asia than Vancouver, although there are no direct flights at this time.  A dozen regional airlines offer scheduled and charter services from northern centres anywhere in the Northwest Territories.

The Northwest Territories also has a port, far inland, at Hay River on the shore of Great Slave Lake. This is home to a river- and ocean-going tug and barge operation, which moves freight to remote communities, and can haul freight and equipment from the west coast of North America and from Asia into the heart of the North American continent.