The Port of Churchill has laid off dozens of employees.
This comes after the company announced Monday 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.
“It is upsetting,” said Nikki Clace, who worked at the port. She said there was a staff meeting at 3:30 p.m. and was told co-workers were emotional with some storming out.
Advocates for grain producers tell Global News the closure is troubling on several levels.
“This is a real surprise they are shutting down,” said Elden Boon, the vice-president of the Hudson Bay Route Association. “The biggest problem is there is grain destined for shipment through Churchill and we are not sure what will happen with that grain.”
The port is still owned OmniTrax Canada. They’ve 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.
“I just really question what OmniTRAX’s agenda is,” said Boon.
Boon says 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.
-With files from Global Winnipeg