Atlanta, Georgia based WestRock Company has announced that it will permanently close the corrugated medium manufacturing operations at its St. Paul, Minnesota, recycled paper mill, and that about 130 jobs would be eliminated. The production of coated recycled board at this location will remain in operation.
WestRock says that it is committed to improving its return on invested capital, as well as maximizing the performance of its assets. The corrugated medium machinery at the St. Paul location would require significant capital investment to maintain and improve going forward. The shutdown will result in the reduction of 200,000 tons of annual corrugated medium production, the company said.
“Shutting down operations and impacting the lives of our employees is a difficult decision to make,” said David B. Sewell, CEO at WestRock. “As we implement our plans to close the corrugated medium operations in St. Paul, we are incredibly appreciative of the many contributions this team has made. We plan to assist these team members in exploring roles at other WestRock locations and with outplacement services.”
Employees of WestRock’s St. Paul location will receive severance and outplacement assistance in accordance with the company’s policy and labor union agreements.
Other closures include WestRock’s mill in Panama City, Florida in June 2022 that employed 450 people. That mill produced containerboard, primarily heavyweight kraft, and fluff pulp, with an annual capacity of 645,000 tons. The company said that select grades of containerboard produced at that mill would be manufactured at other company facilities.
Elsewhere, WestRock is making significant investments that were announced this year. Last month, the company broke ground on a $97 million expansion at its paper mill in Hodge, Louisiana. The investment in construction of a new woodyard and new equipment will increase capacity and efficiencies and reduce operating costs.
In August, WestRock announced that it would acquire the remaining interest in Grupo Gondi for $970 million allowing it to enhance its position in the growing Latin American containerboard, paperboard and consumer and corrugated packaging markets. And in February, the company announced plans to build a new corrugated box plant in Longview, Washington, to meet the growing demand from its regional customers in the Pacific Northwest.
WestRock employs more than 50,000 employees at more than 320 manufacturing facilities, design centers, research labs and sales offices around the world.
Visit westrock.com for more information.