(photo courtesy Port of Churchill)

The Business Council of Manitoba is asking the federal and provincial governments to use the pending changes to the Canadian Wheat Board as a call to action on recognizing the importance of the Port of Churchill.

Nearly all of the grain that has moved through the port in recent years has been CWB wheat, durum or barley.

"The future of the port is very much up in the air, and that's why the Business Council of Manitoba believes that the Governments of Canada and Manitoba have to declare the Port of Churchill and the Hudson Bay Railroad as critical national infrastructure," says president and CEO Jim Carr. "We see Churchill as more than a port that takes Wheat Board grain. We see Churchill as the Arctic Gateway."

He says Churchill should have an important role in the Prime Minister's plans for Arctic development and sovereignty.

"We believe that Manitoba is well positioned to make the argument that Churchill has a fundamental role to play as the northern strategy is implemented," he says.

Carr notes the OmniTrax, the owner of the port and railway, will now have to change its business plan to diversify from its reliance on CWB grain.