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October 12, 2018

Trade group: ND Paper’s investments boost goal of growing Maine’s forest economy

Photo / James McCarthy
Photo / James McCarthy
Dana Doran, executive director of the Professional Logging Contractors of Maine, said Thursday the recent investments by ND Paper LLC in Maine bode well for Maine's $8.5 billion forest products industry.

About PLC of Maine

The Professional Logging Contractors of Maine was formed in 1995 to give independent logging contractors and sole proprietors a voice in a rapidly changing forest industry. A board of directors made up entirely of loggers makes the PLC the only logging organization in Maine run by loggers for loggers. Its mission is to promote logging as a profession, advocate for logging professionals, cultivate responsible forest management and sustain a strong forest products industry..

The trade group representing several thousand professional loggers in the state issued a statement Thursday welcoming ND Paper LLC's plans to purchase the idled Old Town bleached kraft pulp mill as well as the announcement earlier in the week that it will invest $111 million in its Rumford mill over the next two years to increase its production capacity.

The announcements by ND Paper, the newly formed U.S.-based subsidiary of Nine Dragons Paper Holdings Ltd., are good news for Maine's loggers and log truckers, according to Dana Doran, executive director of the Professional Logging Contractors of Maine.

"Maine loggers and log truckers are highly skilled and hardworking, but they need dependable markets for Maine wood to succeed in today's global forest economy," Doran said in a news release. "These investments by Nine Dragons will increase demand for Maine wood, including for softwood pulp, which is very welcome news in a state that has lost a significant portion of its softwood pulp market due to mill closures in recent years. The investments also represent a vote of confidence in Maine's workforce and wood resource, and we applaud ND Paper for recognizing the value in both."

Doran said the investments are timely, given the newly released action plan to grow Maine's forest economy from the current $8.5 billion annual impact to $12 billion by 2025. The Forest Opportunity Roadmap, announced in late September at a news conference in Orono by the FOR/Maine coalition (which includes PLC), outlines strategies for attracting new investment, national and international marketing and promotion and development of new, eco-friendly plastics and chemical products made of residual materials from traditional wood-manufacturing processes.

The investments announced by ND Paper show that this growth is not only possible, but already beginning to occur, Doran said, adding that growth in wood markets means Maine must now begin planning for sustaining and expanding the logger and trucker workforce in the state, Doran said.

"These announcements by ND Paper and recent investments by other mill owners in Maine including Sappi North America's $200 million upgrade at its Somerset Mill in Skowhegan show that Maine's logging industry and the wood it supplies to mills like these remains vital to our economy," he said. "We need to start investing in the future of that industry, including the training of future loggers and truckers, the infrastructure they need to operate effectively, and the business climate they need to succeed."

A 2016 study, conducted with the University of Maine and Farm Credit East, highlighted the vital part Maine loggers play in the state's $8.5 billion forest products sector — reporting that the logging industry contributes $882 million to the state's economy each year and supports more than 7,300 direct and indirect jobs in the state.

Read more

ND Paper to buy and reopen Old Town Mill, restoring 100 jobs

ND Paper announces two-year investment and new jobs for Rumford mill

Sappi completes $200M investment at Somerset Mill in Skowhegan

Plan calls for Maine's forest-products industry to grow 40%

Verso to upgrade Jay mill for specialty papermaking

Sappi North America: Maine mills are key to sustainable business strategy

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