WestRock Co. announced that it will permanently close its paper mill in Tacoma, Washington, with production set to conclude by Sept. 30.
High Operating Costs and Need for Capital Investment
The decision to shut down the facility was driven by the mill's high operating costs and the significant capital investment required, according to the company.
The Tacoma mill is responsible for producing kraft and white top liner as well as bleached pulp. With a combined annual capacity of 510,000 tons, other mills within WestRock's system will absorb the majority of the kraft and white top liner production. As a result of the Tacoma shutdown, there will be a reduction of approximately 60,000 annual tons of pulp and 25,000 annual tons of specialty grade capacity.
Impact on Workers
The closure of the mill will affect about 400 workers, who will receive severance and outplacement assistance as per WestRock policy and labor union agreements. In addition, the company has committed to helping these employees explore potential roles at other company locations or nearby companies.
WestRock expects to incur total charges of $345 million in relation to the closure of the mill.