OmniTRAX Canada

November 05, 2007 12:34 ET

Churchill Port and Railway Owners Push to Ship Million Tonnes in 2008

OmniTRAX Executives to Spend Nov. 5th to 8th with Associates, Officials and Citizens in northern Manitoba to Mark Banner Year for Churchill

WINNIPEG, MANITOBA--(Marketwire - Nov. 5, 2007) - Following an outstanding shipping year featuring several historic milestones, top officials representing Denver-based OmniTRAX Canada say shipping a million tonnes of various bulk products in export and import through the Port of Churchill will be its goal for the 2008 season.

"It is our intention to build upon this outstanding foundation and seize the momentum created by the economic partnerships between the federal and provincial governments, the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB), Port of Churchill (HBPC) and the Hudson Bay Railway (HBR)," said John Fenton, OmniTRAX President and Chief Operating Officer. HBR and HBPC are OmniTRAX Canada subsidiaries.

"Due to the diligent team work, innovation, maximum use of resources and a commitment to success, HBR and HBPC helped the CWB set this outstanding record of 621,000 tonnes of wheat shipped through the Port this year," said Fenton. "I am confident that in the future, we can do even more by diversifying the types of products we export through the Port and attracting more tonnage on an import basis."

Citing a recent announcement by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Manitoba Premier Gary Doer of a $68 million federal, provincial and corporate partnership to improve port and railway infrastructure, Fenton said the "opportunity - and the obligation - to reach for maximum success is in front of us. The next big challenge will be to ship a million tonnes of bulk products through the Port of Churchill in 2008."

CWB board chair Ken Ritter said the CWB took an aggressive approach to export as much wheat as possible through Churchill in 2007. "This was a year marked by a number of creative shipping approaches that were very important to saving farmers freight costs and maximizing use of the northern port," he said.

"The Port of Churchill has reached many historic milestones this year including record levels of wheat exports, its first-ever domestic grain shipment and first shipment of fertilizer from Russia," said Ron Lemieux, Manitoba Minister of Infrastructure and Transportation. "We would like to congratulate all our partners on these achievements and look forward to continued success in years to come, including reaching the one million tonnes goal and continued efforts to diversify shipments."

In addition to being the Port of Churchill's biggest shipping season for wheat in three decades, the CWB celebrated a first in mid-September when an empty Arctic supply ship, which had just offloaded cargo to the Hudson Bay, was loaded with 12,500 tonnes of HBR-transported Prairie wheat to be delivered domestically.

Adding to this momentum, Fenton said, was the docking in mid-October of a Russian cargo ship filled with fertilizer. It marked a first and has been a Churchill goal to connect the so-called Artic Bridge between the two countries.

"We should all celebrate this recent success and work within our partnerships to reach the million tonnes mark in 2008," Fenton said. "We should embrace the challenge."

Fenton will lead a group of OmniTRAX officials on a week-long, celebratory tour that will begin in Winnipeg on Monday, November 5 and conclude in Churchill on Thursday, November 8. "We want our fellow associates in northern Manitoba, along with officials and farmers, to know how much we appreciate their hard work and success."

Mike Ogborn, Managing Director of OmniTRAX and President of the Churchill Gateway Development Corporation (CGDC), called the season "a cooperative effort by all the stakeholders, including the federal and provincial governments, the CWB, OmniTRAX, the CGDC, and the ship owners." He added: "In addition to the record wheat shipments this year, the port and railway enjoyed record shipments of goods and supplies to the Kivilliq Region of Nunavut and the first inbound shipment of fertilizer from Russia; all significant events for Canada, Manitoba, and for all the stakeholders of this vital northern transportation system."

The HBR is a vital transportation link in northern Manitoba. It operates over 1,300 kilometers of trackage. The HBR hauls ores and concentrates, copper, zinc, logs, Kraft paper, lumber and petroleum products. In addition to the CWB, its major customers include HudBay, Tolko Manitoba, CVRD Inco, Gardewine North and Stitco Energy.

The HBPC brings the Atlantic Ocean trade to Western Canada and offers four deep-sea berths for the loading and unloading of grain, bulk commodities, general cargo, and tanker vessels. The Port is a vital link in the trans-shipment of petroleum products and goods of all kinds to the communities in the Nunavut Territory. Customers include Meadowbank Exploration and the Town of Churchill.

About OmniTRAX, Inc.

OmniTRAX, Inc., based in Denver, Colorado, is one of North America's leading transportation management companies. OmniTRAX managed businesses are located in 11 states and three provinces and offer a full range of transportation and logistics services. These services include railroad, port, and industrial switching operations, as well as intermodal operating services.

An affiliate of The Broe Group, OmniTRAX also has the unique capability of offering customers specialized industrial development and real estate opportunities, both on and off the OmniTRAX rail network.

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