Paper Mill Expansion in Louisiana: A Boost for North Louisiana Workers and the Timber Industry
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The WestRock Company paper mill in Hodge, Louisiana, has been a key driver of economic activity and employment in Jackson Parish since its establishment in 1928. Governor John Bel Edwards recently announced an exciting development for the mill—a $97 million expansion and modernization project. This investment will enhance capacity, increase efficiencies, and lower operating costs for the facility. With construction set to begin soon, this expansion is a testament to WestRock’s commitment to the workers of north Louisiana and the growth of the timber industry.
Building a Stronger Future for North Louisiana
The investment in the construction of a new woodyard and state-of-the-art equipment is a significant step towards securing the long-term viability of the WestRock paper mill. By increasing production capacity, these critical upgrades will not only benefit the 450 direct workers employed at the facility but also create hundreds of indirect job opportunities in Jackson Parish and the surrounding rural communities.
Governor Edwards emphasized the importance of WestRock’s investment in both the workers and the rural revitalization of the state. He praised the company’s ongoing commitment to Louisiana’s timber industry and the positive impact it has on local economies. WestRock’s dedication to sustainability is also evident in their plans for the expansion. The new woodyard improvements are expected to reduce source material usage by 4% while increasing overall product volume—a win for the environment and the operational success of the facility and the Hodge community.
A Legacy of Excellence
The WestRock paper mill in Hodge has a rich history. Initially operated by Rock-Tenn Company, it became part of the WestRock family through a merger with MeadWestvaco in 2015. WestRock, a multinational company, is a leading manufacturer of paper and packaging solutions with operations in 30 countries and over 50,000 employees worldwide. The Hodge facility specializes in producing high-quality container board used in the manufacturing of corrugated containers.
The Road Ahead
The expansion project at the WestRock paper mill is a multi-year endeavor. The initial start-up of the new wood processing equipment is scheduled for the second half of 2023, with construction expected to continue into 2024. The completion date will be determined in due course. As the project progresses, WestRock is poised to benefit from the state’s Industrial Tax Exemption Program, further strengthening their position as a vital contributor to Louisiana’s economy.
Testimonials: A Shared Vision
Patrick Kivits, President of Corrugated Packaging at WestRock, expressed the company’s commitment to a sustainable future. He highlighted that the woodyard improvements will not only benefit the operational success of the facility but also contribute to making the planet better—a sentiment shared by the dedicated workers and the Hodge community.
Louisiana State Representative Jack McFarland praised WestRock for its investment in Jackson Parish, emphasizing the importance of the timber sector as an economic engine for rural communities. He expressed gratitude on behalf of District 13 for the secure jobs and support provided to contractors in the area.
Quill And Fox: Committed to Louisiana’s Growth
At Quill And Fox, we are proud to witness the ongoing growth and development of Louisiana’s business environment. As a leading company specializing in paper and packaging solutions, we understand the significance of these expansions for both the economy and the community. Through projects like this, we strive to create a vibrant future for Louisiana, fostering opportunities for workers and supporting the long-standing industries that make our state thrive.
Louisiana Economic Development (LED) works diligently to strengthen the state’s business environment and promote a more vibrant economy. As the only state agency in the U.S. accredited by the International Economic Development Council, LED has a track record of success. Their award-winning programs, such as LED FastStart, a top-rated customized workforce training program, have contributed to the attraction of new economic development projects, job creation, and substantial capital investments. To learn more about LED and the opportunities they create for Louisiana and employers of all sizes, visit OpportunityLouisiana.com.