Omnitrax puts brakes on crude through Churchill


CNS Canada –– Omnitrax has announced it will not be shipping oil through northern Manitoba’s Port of Churchill after all.

The Denver-based company, which owns the Hudson Bay port facility and rail line serving it, had expressed interest in the idea, but said Friday it had suspended plans to ship crude oil for the foreseeable future.

“Omnitrax’s vision has always been to run a viable business that meets the needs of northern Manitoba and indeed Northern Canada,” OmniTRAX Canada president Merv Tweed said in a release.

Consultations with First Nations, Metis and the provincial government were important factors in the company’s decision, he said.

Omnitrax says it plans to continue handling other goods through the port, including potash, feed and wood pellets. It also plans to develop a long-term sustainability strategy and to make policy recommendations to the Manitoba and federal government.

The Port of Churchill handled over 600,000 tonnes of grain in 2013, almost 10 million litres of petroleum products, and building and construction materials as well as dry goods, vehicles and equipment and products for mining companies, communities and individuals.

Tweed adds Omnitrax expects record shipping for the 2014 season. [Related story]

Port officials have said they expect to move 700,000 tonnes of wheat, canola and other products in 2014, compared to 640,000 in 2013.

The shipping season at Churchill usually closes in October.

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