First of Four Vessels Arrives in Churchill

The first grain vessel of the 2020 shipping season has arrived at the Port of Churchill, with more to come.

Murad Al-Katib of the Arctic Gateway Group, which owns and operates the northern Manitoba port, said four vessels in total are scheduled to call on Churchill this season, the same number as last year.

“We’ll have an active program on durum wheat and lentils going into the Mediterranean,” said Al-Katib, who is also the president and CEO of the Regina-based AGT Foods, one of the major Gateway partners.

“We remain very optimistic that when we go forward into 2021 and beyond, that Churchill can start to get back into that eight to 10-vessel range,” he added, noting that the group is working with the federal and provincial governments to achieve that goal. In 2019, approximately 137,000 tonnes of durum and lentils were shipped through the port, which marked the port’s first grain shipments in four years.

The Arctic Gateway Group took over the port from Colorado-based OmniTrax Inc. in 2018. OmniTrax originally acquired the port from the federal government in 1997 and operated it and the associated Hudson Bay Railway (HBR) up until the mid-2000s. However, OmniTRAX shut down the port and major railroad freight operations along the HBR in August 2016. The railway was subsequently damaged by flooding the following year.

Since assuming control of the port and the HBR, Gateway has fixed the rail line and officially started shipping grain again in September 2019.

Source: DePutter Publishing Ltd.

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