International Paper has announced its plans to reinvest in its Pensacola Containerboard Mill. More than $90 million is projected to be spent at the mill over the next five years in order to increase energy efficiencies, support and enhance the work environment and strengthen its competitive position.
Located just north of the City of Pensacola in Cantonment, Fla., the IP Pensacola operation employs more than 400 people throughout Northwest Florida. The mill has been a foundation in the Greater Pensacola Region since 1941 and was acquired by IP in 2000. IP’s Pensacola Mill – which is part of the company’s industrial packaging group – produces lightweight containerboard and specialty fluff pulp. From Pensacola, the mill’s containerboard products are sent to container facilities to create corrugated brown boxes. The fluff pulp is distributed to customers for diapers and other hygiene products.
“Northwest Florida’s business-friendly environment and initiatives continue to attract strong, innovative businesses,” said Florida Senate President Don Gaetz. “Just last year, International Paper’s Pensacola Mill had a local economic impact of nearly $330 million. I am confident this multi-year investment will continue to help our communities thrive and our region’s economy to grow.”
The IP Pensacola Mill is vitally important to the local, regional and statewide economy, with the company’s local annual average wages representing more than 200 percent of the Escambia County average wage of $37,360. According to an analysis by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, the manufacturing industry sector directly contributed more than 14,500 jobs in the Northwest Florida region, with an additional gain of more than 9,700 jobs for local businesses.
Support of existing industry is a mainstay of economic development and key partners, including Enterprise Florida, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, Florida Department of Transportation, CareerSource Florida, Escambia County, the University of West Florida’s Office of Economic Development and Engagement, CareerSource Escarosa, Gulf Power and the Greater Pensacola Chamber, came together to deliver programs that will leverage International Paper’s corporate commitment to invest in long-term strategies for the Pensacola area. The company’s commitment to Escambia County will be supported by approximately $5,000,000 in grants and infrastructure improvements.
“The Escambia County Board of Commissioners supports fostering the growth of our existing industry base. The Board’s commitment of tax incentives and investments in county-wide infrastructure, such as the proposed project at Muscogee Road and US-29, not only serves the logistic needs of one of our most established local companies, but it also benefits IP’s more than 400 employees and the citizens of Escambia County,” said Escambia County Commissioner Steven Barry.