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Port of Churchill in northern Canada to close for two years due to repairs to rail line

The Port of Churchill in northern Manitoba, Canada’s only deep-water Arctic port, is closing for two years, while the rail line leading to it is under construction.

Where the rails sit on muskeg, work is being done to stabilize the track bed. While passenger and freight trains continue to run during the construction, “it would have been very difficult to run grain trains at the same time,” said Sheldon Affleck, CEO of the Arctic Gateway Group, which owns and operates the rail line and the grain terminal at the port.

“If you don’t bite the bullet and do your permanent solutions to the track, it’s like a pot-holey road that’s always under construction and you never get anything productive done. You are damaging what you are doing while you are doing it inefficiently,” said Affleck.

Because of drought this year in Canada’s prairies, grain production was significantly down, meaning the port would have had no grain to ship in 2022. For that reason, the construction is not ill-timed.

Kim Biggar

Kim Biggar started writing in the supply chain sector in 2000, when she joined the Canadian Association of Supply Chain & Logistics Management. In 2004/2005, she was project manager for the Government of Canada-funded Canadian Logistics Skills Committee, which led to her 13-year role as communications manager of the Canadian Supply Chain Sector Council. A longtime freelance writer, Kim has contributed to publications including The Forwarder, 3PL Americas, The Shipper Advocate and Supply Chain Canada.
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