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Reopening of the Port of Churchill

The Port of Churchill witnessed rail shipments of grain for the first time since 2015. The Port, however, is no stranger to the grain shipping industry. Completed in 1929, the Hudson Bay Railroad facilitated bulk grain shipments by connecting Winnipeg with Churchill and started moving grain in 1931. Located on the North-East coast of Manitoba, the Port is North America’s only deep-water Arctic Port.

The terminal operated successfully over the years owned and operated by the Canadian Federal Government. In 1997 the Port was sold to OmniTRAX which took over the operations as a private entity. Cargo operations continued up until 2016 when the Canadian Wheat Board (Government of Canada operated marketing/producing system) was ended. Between 2015 and 2016, the terminal’s final year of operation, approximately 182,000 metric tonnes of cargo was shipped. The newest operators of the Port of Churchill – the Arctic Group, is made up of consortium of groups including Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd., AGT Foods and indigenous groups.

Thanks to the terminal’s optimal location in the Arctic waters of Hudson Bay, shipping time to select disports in Europe and the Middle East will be reduced. Shipping operations will be seasonal due to ice accumulation with the terminal likely running through late Spring to the end of October – early November.  According to this article from the Financial Post, the terminal’s main grain commodities will be “durum, wheat, canola and lentil and pea crops from Manitoba and Saskatchewan for shipment to Europe, North African and the Middle East.” In the future, the Port’s operators are hopeful to expand operations to other commodities including forestry products, concentrates and fertilizers.