TEXAS (From news reports) -- Western Pulp will cease production operations at its Jacksonville facility at the end of the month, while continuing its shipping operations to help customers manage the transition to new suppliers, according to the company's announcement Tuesday, Aug. 15.
"This decision is in line with other recent packaging company announcements to consolidate operations to forego needed repair and/or upgrade investments. The company is committed to improving its return on invested capital to its shareholders," said Rick Hurley, President and Chairman of Western Pulp Products. "In addition, the continued escalation in the cost of raw materials, labor, utilities and property insurance in East Texas contributed to the company's decision to close the facility as part of an effort to optimize our footprint."
Western Pulp, in existence since 1958, is a privately held company headquartered in Corvaillis, Ore.
The Jacksonville facility, which produces molded fiber packaging, has been in continuous operation since the site acquisition in 1973. Over the years, the facility has expanded to its now 90,000-plus square-footage. The eight-acre property is intended for sale later this year, according to Western Pulp.
"An experienced leadership team has been assembled to carefully and effectively manage the plant closure. The goal is to treat our customers and suppliers as the valued partners they are during this shutdown process," Hurley said.
The 20 full-time employees at the Jacksonville site will be provided outplacement assistance and a continuation of health care benefits, according to the company's statement.
Western Pulp expressed thanks to local community leaders and the city of Jacksonville. The company also conveyed its gratitude to its employees, some of whom have been with the company for over 30 years, for their "outstanding service and support."