CHURCHILL, Canada—The Port of Churchill has laid off dozens of employees and announced there will be no grain shipment this season, only freight service.
At least 40 of the workers were given two weeks notice, while others are still unsure if they have a job or not.
Employee Nikki Clace said there was a staff meeting on July 15 where emotions ran high and some people stormed out.
Advocates for grain producers say the closure is troubling on several levels.
Elden Boon of the Hudson Bay Route Association called the shut-down a real surprise.
He said the biggest problem is there is grain currently destined for shipment through Churchill, and they’re not sure what will become of that grain.
The port is still owned by OmniTrax Canada, which has been looking for a buyer since at least year because the port hasn’t been generating the shipping profits it hoped.
Back in January, the Mathias Colomb Cree Nation had expressed interest in purchasing the port.
Boon said the port is the largest employer in Churchill and it is too soon to tell what the layoffs will mean to the community.
The Port of Churchill has been operating in Manitoba’s north since it opened in 1931.