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OmniTRAX Canada entered into a memorandum of understanding last week to begin the transfer of its Manitoba railroad assets to a group of northern Manitoba First Nations known as the Missinippi Rail Consortium.The MOU followed a year of due diligence and the consortium's indication that it intends to move forward, OmniTRAX officials said in a press release. The federal government is still considering whether to support the transaction, they said. The assets involve the Hudson Bay rail line, which serves the Port of Churchill.The MOU will ensure that the consortium commences the ownership process and is able to negotiate with vendors in order to "preserve and enhance" the 2017 grain season, OmniTRAX officials added."We are grateful that OmniTRAX Canada believes in our process and our people and is willing to get started now. Ensuring First Nations ownership in these assets is a vital part of ensuring long term viability in the North. Now we need the government of Canada to complete their review so that this process can be concluded as soon as possible," said Chief Arlen Dumas.
OmniTRAX is eager to see the transaction come to fruition in the coming months, said OmniTRAX Canada President Merv Tweed.
The asset transfer will promote economic development for the Northern Manitoban First Nations in the consortium, and "will guarantee the future preservations of those assets for all of the communities currently being serviced along the Hudson Bay Railway," the OmniTRAX press release stated.
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