IP wins shipping award

Published 10:35 pm Monday, May 13, 2013

The Port of Virginia has named Franklin-based International Paper its 2013 Shipper of the Year.

The company, which returned to using the port in 2012, was presented with the award at Thursday’s Virginia Maritime Association’s 10th annual International Trade Symposium.

“This award recognizes a company that has gone above and beyond the course of normal business to help the port grow both commercially and operationally,” Thomas D. Capozzi, Virginia International Terminals’ vice president of global sales and customer service, stated in a news release.

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“International Paper has worked well with our operations staff and has been very open to ideas and discussions about how to better process its cargo coming through here.”

The award comes after International Paper reopened its Franklin mill last June to produce fluff pulp.

The company says it considered several other locations but settled on converting the mill to produce pulp due to the availability of a trained workforce and proximity to raw materials and the port.

Other factors in the decision, according to the company, included the wish to create jobs for citizens living in Franklin and surrounding Tidewater communities, including with vendors serving the plant.

The mill produces 800 tons of fluff a day.

“We are delighted to accept this award on behalf of the Franklin Mill and the many efforts each member of our team has played in ramping up our operations,” mill manager Allison Magness stated.

“Our goal is to have a safe and reliable mill that delivers a high-quality product to our customers. We’ve accomplished so much since start-up, and this award is a wonderful reminder of that.”

Capozzi added container volume has “grown dramatically” since the mill reopened, and that International Paper is exploring break bulk, non-containerized shipping opportunities as well.

“Break bulk shipments can be handled by the port’s network of on-dock warehousing,” he stated.