IP’s Franklin Mill receives highest award from the Port of Virginia

Published 1:01 pm Saturday, May 24, 2014

FRANKLIN—The Franklin Mill has been awarded a $500,000 grant on behalf of the Port of Virginia’s Economic and Infrastructure Development Grant Fund.

“International Paper brought a shuttered facility back to life,” John Reinhart, CEO and executive director for the Virginia Port Authority, said in a prepared statement, “and in a very short time is operating at full capacity and is now pushing significant container volume.”

IP Franklin plans to move roughly 17,000 20-foot-equivalent units through Virginia’s port each year now. Compare that to the 5,274 TEUs the company moved in 2012. Those numbers are above and beyond the standards a company must meet in order to qualify for the port’s Economic and Infrastructure Development Grant. To meet the grant requirements, a company must create at least 25 new jobs through facility expansion or new construction and move its cargo through the Port of Virginia.

“International Paper clearly met all of the criteria,” Harris said.

IP is the first recipient of an award from the Port of Virginia Economic and Infrastructure Development Grant program and is receiving the maximum amount allowable, $500,000, for creating 200 new port-related jobs in Isle of Wight County. International Paper was also named the port’s “Shipper of the Year” last year, additional recognition for its decision to reinvest in its Franklin mill.

“International Paper exports nearly 23 percent of the product we make in the United States and nearly 100 percent of the fluff pulp made at the Franklin facility is exported,” said Jenny Hutto, company spokeswoman. “IP and the Port of Virginia have established a strong partnership and we appreciate the generosity of this award,” said Hutto.

“This is a triple win for Virginia: a company investing in Isle of Wight County, creating new jobs and moving cargo through the Port of Virginia,” Reinhart said.

The occasion marks the first time the port has awarded the Economic and Infrastructure Development Grant, which was created under former Gov. Bob McDonnell’s administration in 2012 and received funding just last year.

International Paper (NYSE: IP) is a global leader in packaging and paper with manufacturing operations in North America, Europe, Latin America, Russia, Asia and North Africa. Its businesses include industrial and consumer packaging and uncoated papers, complemented by xpedx, the company’s North American distribution company. Headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee, the company employs approximately 70,000 people and is strategically located in more than 24 countries serving customers worldwide. International Paper net sales for 2013 were $29 billion. For more information about International Paper, its products and stewardship efforts, visit internationalpaper.com.