OmniTrax could sell Manitoba assets to northern First Nations

In a recent release, OmniTrax Canada announced that they have accepted a letter of intent from a group of Northern Manitoban First Nations for the purchase of its Manitoba assets, including the Hudson Bay Railway and the Port of Churchill. The acceptance marks the beginning of a 45-day due-diligence period, where the rail line, port, its containing property, and contract of sale will be examined by the purchasing party, with co-operation of OmniTrax Canada, to ensure the purchase meets the expectations of all parties involved.

OmniTrax Canada quietly announced plans to sell the port and railway at the beginning of December, at the end of a poor year in grain shipments. At the time of the announcement, OmniTrax Canada p[resident Merv Tweed noted, “We’ve managed the rail and the port well, and we’ve put it in a position where it can be profitable, but as a private investor, you have to make a return. I think it’s time for new ownership to see what they can do.”

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The Hudson Bay Railway constitutes not only a commercial endeavour, but is also a primary supply line for several remote communities otherwise only accessible by air. Tweed noted an ideal buyer would have interests in the rail line where “profitability isn’t necessarily their main objective.”

“Having visited many communities along the rail line, it became clear that the rail line serves as a utility for these remote communities,” says Tweed, “And for the line and assets to truly succeed, First Nation participation in ownership and management was essential.”

Though several First Nations groups have been contacted regarding the sale, no further information has been released regarding the buyer of the contract as of yet. Tweed said that further details will be available “in the new year.”

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