The mill produces containerboard, primarily thick kraft, and fluff pulp, with a combined annual capacity of 645,000 tonnes. Certain grades of containerboard currently produced at the mill will be produced at other WestRock facilities.
“The decision to close a facility and impact the lives of our employees is never easy to make,” said David B. Sewell, CEO of WestRock. “As we implement our plans to close the Panama City plant, we do so with great appreciation for the many contributions of the team there. We are committed to helping our Panama City team explore roles at other WestRock locations and assist with outplacement.
WestRock is committed to improving its return on invested capital as well as maximizing the performance of its assets, and the Panama City plant would require significant capital investment to sustain and improve in the future. Moreover, fluff pulp production is not a priority in the company’s strategy to focus on higher value-added markets. By closing this plant, the significant capital that would be needed to keep the plant competitive in the future will be deployed to improve other key assets.
The Panama City plant employs approximately 450 people. Employees at the Panama City plant will receive severance pay and redeployment assistance in accordance with company policy and labor agreements.