Canadian packaging company Cascades has announced a strategic operational realignment and optimisation of its containerboard packaging platform.  

The company stated that it will not restart operations at its currently dormant Trenton mill in Ontario, Canada, and will permanently close the converting plants at Belleville in Ontario and Newtown in Connecticut, US, by 31 May 2024.  

This move follows recent strategic investments made by the company in its Bear Island mill in Virginia, US, and its converting network, to enhance efficiency and production capacity. 

Cascades plans to shift production from these facilities to other units with available capacity and more modern equipment. 

The equipment set for shutdown at the aforementioned facilities has an annual production capacity of 175,000 short tons of corrugated medium and 500 million square feet of corrugated packaging.  

Cascades’ decision is driven by the need to maximise asset performance in light of the current market environment, higher operating costs, outdated technology, and the significant capital investment required at these facilities. 

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The company expects an impairment and environmental obligation charge of $61m in its fourth quarter (Q4) 2023 financial results due to these closures.  

In addition, the company anticipates incurring approximately $35m in restructuring charges over the coming years.  

Cascades says it is committed to supporting the 310 employees impacted by this announcement.  

The company will engage closely with its workforce over the coming weeks to mitigate the effects of the closures.  

Employees who are unable or unwilling to relocate will receive assistance in finding new employment opportunities. 

Cascades Containerboard Packaging president and COO Charles Malo said: “I would like to assure our customers that we will work with them to ensure a smooth transition. 

“I would also like to sincerely thank the Cascaders affected by this announcement. We will stand by them through this process, and we will assist in the relocation of those employees wishing to continue working for Cascades at one of our other locations.” 

In August last year, Cascades announced the complete closure of its tissue manufacturing facility in St. Helens, Oregon, US.