IP to close box plant

Published 1:30 am Saturday, April 4, 2009

CHESAPEAKE—International Paper Co. announced Friday that it will permanently close the Chesapeake corrugated container plant in early June. Approximately 100 jobs will be lost by the closure.

“The economic recession, coupled with the addition of box plants in this region with our acquisition of Weyerhaeuser’s packaging business, has left us with more capacity than our customers need,” said Andrea Jentzen, the general manager for the Chesapeake facility. “Our plant is disadvantaged by the amount of capital it would need in order to handle consolidated operations, and other area facilities are better equipped. Unfortunately that led to the decision to close this plant.”

The company will discuss plans for severance and other benefits with the local union, United Steelworkers Local No. 8-0924.

“As always the most difficult part of this closure is the effect on employees, their families and the Chesapeake community,” Jentzen said. “We will work to assist them where possible during the closure process.”

The plant, located at 723 Fenway Ave., opened in 1957 and was purchased by IP in 2004. The plant makes more than 500 million square feet of corrugated containers each year.

Friday’s announcement comes three days after the company said it will close its Franklin sawmill by May 31, eliminating 123 jobs. IP also plans to cut 25 employees from its sheet converting plant, and 10 employees from its Converting Innovation Center, which are also both in Franklin.