ExxonMobil needs to move at least 200 giant loads of oil equipment, manufactured in Asia, to Alberta. Plan A was the best-known, and perhaps most controversial, route. That plan was to ship the equipment across the Pacific Ocean, barge it up the Columbia River, and then move it by truck from the Port of Lewiston across U.S. Highway 12 in Idaho and Montana before moving up to Canada. More than a year of contested hearings and lawsuits followed. Plan B was to "cut down" some of the equipment and move it up Highway 95 from Lewiston through Moscow and Coeur d'Alene, then head east on Interstate 90 to Montana before traveling north. The Idaho Transportation Department granted the first two permits on Friday for a pair of the "cut down" mega-loads.
Today, the Missoulian quotes the president and chief executive officer of OmniTrax, one of the largest transportation management companies in North America, with a Plan C. Long's idea is ship the mega-loads across the Pacific, through the Panama Canal, over to the Eastern seaboard, up to Labrador in Canada, through the waterways of Hudson Bay, and on to the western shore of Manitoba. OmniTrax would move the mega-loads 586 miles by train across Manitoba and then put them on trucks for an additional 750 miles to Alberta.
"We think what's interesting about this is it's an all-Canada route for a Canadian project," said Stephen Keating of OmniTrax. "It avoids the continental United States."