Friday, August 15, 2014

No Oil For Churchill

Omnitrax has announced that they are suspending plans to ship crude oil by rail to the port of Churchill, Manitoba. Citing increased traffic in grain and construction materials, as well as input from various groups, president Merv Tweed said "we decided it wasn’t necessary or in our best interests to pursue this any further."

Tweed said they will have five to seven shippers using the port to ship upwards of 700,000 tonnes of grain, up from four last year shipping 640,000 tonnes.

One wonders if the recent derailments on the line were a factor too. You might remember the almost month-long closure in June. There was another derailment this week that has VIA ceasing through service between Winnipeg and Churchill until the line is clear. VIA is still running between Thompson and Churchill, and between Winnipeg and The Pas, but not through the whole line. I understand the derailment is near Cormorant, about 35 miles northeast of The Pas, and eight grain cars are on the ground.

Omnitrax left the door open to revisit crude oil shipments, but I seriously doubt they will be able to go through with any oil shipments without some serious investments in the line.


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