Norfolk – International Paper's growing cargo volumes at The Port of Virginia are driving job growth in the maritime industry and that growth has led the company to become the first in the state to receive money from The Port of Virginia Economic and Infrastructure Development Grant Fund.
"This is a triple win for Virginia: a company investing in Isle of Wight County, creating new jobs and moving cargo through the Port of Virginia," said John F. Reinhart, CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority. "International Paper brought a shuttered-facility back to life and in a very short-time is operating at full capacity and is now pushing significant container volume through one of our Commonwealth's greatest assets, The Port of Virginia."
The Port of Virginia Economic and Infrastructure Development Grant Fund is a port grant program that was created by the governor and Virginia General Assembly in 2012 and funded in 2013. The grant fund is used as an incentive for companies to locate new maritime-related employment centers or expand existing centers in Virginia in order to encourage and facilitate the growth of The Port of Virginia.
International Paper received the maximum amount allowable, $500,000, for having creating 200 new port-related jobs in Isle of Wight County. In reopening its mill in the City of Franklin, the company invested $83.6 million to manufacture fluff pulp for export.
In order to qualify for the grant a company must create 25 new jobs through facility expansion or new construction and move its cargo through The Port of Virginia. They must also enter into an MOU (memorandum of understanding) with the Virginia Port Authority that requires them to pay back the grant if the terms of the MOU are not met. Grants range from $25,000-$500,000 per qualified company depending on the number of jobs created.
The company plans to export approximately 17,000 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent unit) a year of fluff pulp through the Port of Virginia from this facility. Comparatively, in 2012 as International Paper was ramping-up its operation, it exported 5,274 TEUs.