Churchill – The Arctic Gateway Group (AGG) is pleased to announce an ownership transition that will see OneNorth Community and Indigenous partners assume 100% ownership of the Port of Churchill, the Hudson Bay Rail line, the Churchill Marine Tank Farm, and associated assets.
“A tremendous amount of hard work has seen northern communities reach this critical milestone,” said Town of Churchill Mayor and OneNorth Co-Chair Mike Spence. “Together with our partners we are taking the next important steps to realize our vision for a national arctic trade corridor.”
OneNorth is a consortium of Indigenous and northern communities committed to the long- term success of the Bayline and arctic trade corridor. The Port and Rail line have seen a significant turnaround since 2018. This included the challenging work to establish a local governance structure, which includes leadership from across northern Manitoba, to form a historic partnership unique in Canada.
“Our communities are ready to step up,” remarked Opaskwayak Cree Nation Onekanew and OneNorth Co-Chair Christian Sinclair. “We have a multi-generational socioeconomic development vision that will take this work forward as a truly northern Canadian success story.”
Under a 2018 partnership agreement supported by the Federal government, AGT Food and Ingredients (AGT) and Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited (Fairfax) assisted OneNorth community leaders in taking Arctic Gateway Group through a critical transition. In the last two years, passenger and freight rail service have been restored and Port services have fully resumed for both import and export, including six cargo re-supply vessels for Nunavut. Critical health and safety upgrades were undertaken on all operations, and environmental remediation and decommissioning of the former fuel tank farm was undertaken with the installation of new tanks.
The Port has exported 232,887 metric tons of product, including seven grain vessels loaded and destined for markets in North Africa, Middle East and Europe. AGG’s workforce is approximately 70% Indigenous with over 80% of new hires being Indigenous workers.
“We are very proud of all that we have accomplished over the past two and a half years with our partner, OneNorth. The long-term economic and social impact of this critical national infrastructure corridor will provide benefits to Canadians for generations. We are grateful to the amazing communities in Northern Manitoba and look forward to watching the continued success of Arctic Gateway. We are proud we were a part of this Nation- building project.” Said Murad Al-Katib, President and CEO of AGT.
Earlier this month, the 50% ownership share held by AGT/Fairfax was transitioned to OneNorth to form a truly 100% Indigenous and Community-owned infrastructure asset. AGT will continue to provide management services during the transition period to ensure a seamless continuation of operations and intends to negotiate a terminal handling agreement to ship grain through the Port of Churchill. Work is underway to ensure no disruption of operations, IT, communications, and accounting during the ownership transition.
“Communities along the Bayline would like to acknowledge the important role AGT and Fairfax have played to take us through a critical stage in our work,” said War Lake Chief Betsy Kennedy. “Indigenous ownership will continue to play a key role in the future success and we take these next important steps with our government partners.”
“Significant work remains to invest in our northern communities and tackle the infrastructure deficits we face” remarked Flin Flon Mayor Cal Huntley. “AGG is positioned to play a critical role in the recovery of our northern economies moving forward.”
“I’d like to congratulate our northern leaders and thank the federal government for their work to get us to this point” said Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Inc. Grand Chief Garrison Settee. “More work lies ahead as we further develop partnerships and realize investments in our northern infrastructure.”