Analyst criticizes inconsistent shipping costs to North

Jim Danahy said the opening of the Deh Cho Bridge in the N.W.T. may mean Northerners will see lower shipping costs in the future. (Elizabeth McMillan/CBC)A business analyst says retailers could do more to lower the cost of shipping some merchandise to the North.

The exploding world of e-commerce means northerners can virtually go to the mall online, but shipping costs are inconsistent.

Some stores ship for free, while others charge up to $30 for a similar item.

Jim Danahy works for Customer Lab, a company that helps to develop and improve retail businesses. He said only some retailers are figuring out ways to keep those shipping costs low.

“There are efficient ways to ship in Canada. Whether it’s through Canada Post or our good courier systems. It’s just that they have gone to the trouble to find it,” said Danahy. “Whereas someone else may have a carrier that they use that gets the goods into Canada or into major hubs that then requires arrangements with other carriers to get the goods in.”

Danahy said retailers need to find out more about the remote regions they’re shipping to, and negotiate rates with remote carriers if their couriers don’t service those regions.

In Canada’s Northwest Territories, the completion of the Deh Cho Bridge could mean lower shipping costs to some communities in the future.

Danahy said the bridge is making Yellowknife, the capital of the Northwest Territories, a more attractive option for trucking companies.

“Truckers who said ‘I’m not sending my trucks up to get stuck on the wrong side of the river in freezing weather to get onto a ferry’… Now they can go across a bridge that is going to be reliable. And in the long run, you’ll see probably more competition for shipping into Yellowknife, in which case yes – we could see lower costs,” he added.

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