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The Port of Churchill set to increase oil exports

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(CRC)—Churchill Gateway Development Corp. (CGDC) and The Hudson Bay Route Association (HBRA) are hard at work to ensure that the northern trade corridor, an area between Manitoba and Nunavut and a vital link to Canada’s North, gets enhanced traffic.

Key to this northern trade route expansion is the Port of Churchill, in northern Manitoba’s Hudson Bay coast.

Present environmental opposition to the Northern Gateway pipeline to the Pacific and to the Keystone XL pipeline to the Gulf of Mexico is making Canadian oil producers give serious consideration to using the Port of Churchill as a back up option to ship oil to Europe, to the United States and possibly to China and India, by way of the Panama Canal. Shipping season on Hudson Bay is from July to October. To extend the season beyond the end of October requires the assistance of icebreakers.

The owners of the Port of Churchill and the Hudson Bay Railroad, OmniTRAX Canada, are looking to increasing both the rail traffic to Canada’s only arctic port and increasing cargo tonnage for ships carrying oil and grain shipments from the Hudson Bay port facility to various international destinations.

The Port of Churchill was being abandoned in 1994 when federal Liberal Minister from Manitoba Lloyd Axworthy commissioned the Churchill Task Force to chart a new future for the Northern transportation and grain handling system. “The Task Force recommended the creation of the Gateway North Marketing Agency, which Lloyd Axworthy established in 1995 to increase and diversify traffic flows through the port. The agency was successful in increasing trade volumes through the port and subsequently played a major role in the transfer of the rail line and port to OmniTRAX in 1997.” Lloyd Axworthy is presently the President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Winnipeg and also is the Chairman of the Board of Churchill Gateway Development Corporation (CGDC).

In 2007 a Murmansk Shipping Company vessel, the Kapitan Sviridov, “was the first Russian ship to unload a shipment of fertilizer imported by Farmers of North America in 2007. The Port of Churchill successfully built on the success of 2007 and achieved two 9000 metric ton shipments of inbound fertilizer in 2008. These shipments originated in Kaliningrad, Russia purchased by Farmers of North America (FNA) of Saskatoon, Sk.

“The fertilizer has been sold throughout western and central Canada. The shipments once again clearly demonstrated the viability of the Arctic Bridge concept linking Churchill with Russian ports and are the result of extensive work to diversify the commodity base of the port.” [GGG]