Pa­per firm to start work on Va. mill

China Daily (USA) - - ACROSS AMERICA - By PAUL WELITZKIN in New York paulwelitzkin@chi­nadai­lyusa.com

A Chi­nese pa­per com­pany plans to hire an en­gi­neer­ing com­pany to be­gin work on its planned $2 bil­lion pa­per mill in Ch­ester­field County, Vir­ginia.

“In the next week or two we plan on award­ing a con­tract for the en­gi­neer­ing work and also get­ting started on the en­vi­ron­men­tal per­mit­ting,” John Stacey, se­nior vice-pres­i­dent of mar­ket­ing and prod­uct de­vel­op­ment at Tran­lin Inc told China Daily. “We have hired a project man­ager for con­struc­tion.”

In 2014, China’s Shan­dong Tran­lin Pa­per Co Ltd said it would in­vest $2 bil­lion over five years to build its first US man­u­fac­tur­ing op­er­a­tion in Ch­ester­field County, which is about 20 miles from Rich­mond, the state cap­i­tal. The plant is ex­pected to gen­er­ate 2,000 new jobs by 2020. It is the largest Chi­nese in­vest­ment and job-cre­ation project in Vir­ginia.

The com­pany broke ground on the plant’s 850-acre site along the James River in 2015. Jerry Peng, the chair­man and CEO of Shan­dong Tran­lin, is a 2003 grad­u­ate of the Dar­den School of Busi­ness at the Univer­sity of Vir­ginia in Charlottesville.

“We are (still) look­ing at 2020 to be fully op­er­a­tional,” said Stacey. “Since the late ‘80s, this will be the first project that there has been a full pulp­ing and milling (con­vert­ing pulp into pa­per prod­ucts) op­er­a­tion built in the US. This adds to the com­plex­ity of the project.”

Tran­lin is sched­uled to re­ceive state aid for the project, in­clud­ing a $20 mil­lion grant from the Vir­ginia Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Part­ner­ship (VEDP). The news­pa­per Progress-In­dex of Peters­burg, Vir­ginia, reported ear­lier this month that the grant re­quires Tran­lin to have in­vested at least $20 mil­lion and cre­ate 25 jobs by the end of 2015. The pa­per said Tran­lin has de­ferred the with­drawal of $2 mil­lion avail­able by July 1 un­til at least 2018.

“The Tran­lin project is well within its per­for­mance pe­riod and the Vir­ginia Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Part­ner­ship is in reg­u­lar di­a­logue with the com­pany and con­tin­u­ing to mon­i­tor the project. We fully ex­pect the com­pany to meet its per­for­mance mea­sures within the re­quired time­line,” Sandi McNinch, the VEDP’s gen­eral coun­sel, said.

“We are wait­ing to com­plete cer­tain milestones. At that point we will be able to have what­ever grants we have earned at that time,” said Stacy. “We are hir­ing peo­ple now and we have an of­fice on our Ch­ester­field site that has our civil en­gi­neer­ing staff and the group that’s in charge of the project from a con­struc­tion stand­point.”

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