WARRENTON, Ga. - North American lumber giant Georgia-Pacific has opened a $135 million, 340,000-square-foot softwood lumber plant in Georgia. The new facility is on the same site as an existing lumber mill.
The company will add 80 employees - driving the total number of onsite employees up to 179. The facility will receive around 200 truckloads of pine logs a day, allowing the plant to produce up to 350 million board feet of lumber annually.
Total site output will triple, estimates the company, as it will ship 57 trucks of lumber to customers and locations each day.
The expansion comes at a crucial time for GP, who has been severely affected by poor market conditions. Last month, it announced it would shut down production at two South Carolina wood product plants by the end of the year. 240 employees are to be laid off.
In June, it laid off 650 workers in Arkansas and shut down two plants. In April, the company shut down an Oregon plant - laying off 111 - and in February, shut down a Georgia plant - laying off 120. To make things worse, a May fire completely gutted a separate Georgia plant.
The company has blamed poor home building industry conditions for all shutdowns. More than a thousand employees have been laid off around the country in the past year.
“Although new-home construction demand has returned somewhat since the recession in 2007/2008, it has not returned to pre-recession levels,” said Satrick Anthony, Georgia-Pacific’s vice president for building products operations. Anthony added that the company has "done everything to make the sites profitable."
The new Warrenton plant isn't the only ongoing investment. GP is investing up to $70 million to upgrade its plywood and lumber operations in Gurdon, Arkansas. The upgrades in technology and systems will help sustain the more than 700 jobs at the two facilities. The company has invested more than $645 million in the past five years in its operations across Arkansas.
Based in Atlanta, Georgia-Pacific and its subsidiaries manufacture and market building products and related chemicals, paper-based packaging, cellulose, specialty fibers, nonwoven fabrics, and consumer products, including bath tissue, paper towels, napkins, and tableware. The company operates more than 180 facilities and employs more than 30,000 people directly and creates approximately 89,000 jobs indirectly.
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