Boise Paper’s parent company Packaging Corporation of America (PCA) has decided to temporarily suspend key operations at its Jackson Mill in Alabama as the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak has reduced demand.

The move involves idling both paper machines and the sheet-converting operation at the site for the months of May and June, making nearly 340 employees temporarily redundant.

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The mill is expected to resume production on 6 July.

Boise Paper vice-president Paul LeBlanc said: “Unprecedented market conditions brought about by the measures required to help control the spread of the Covid-19 virus have made this business decision necessary to manage our paper business during these challenging times.

“This is especially difficult for the employees and their families who are directly affected. PCA is committed to treating all impacted employees with fairness and respect and communicating openly and honestly with each individual about how this decision will affect him or her.”

The decision is estimated to reduce paper production by around 70,000t.

However, the company’s paper mill in International Falls, Minnesota, will continue to operate at capacity during this period.

LeBlanc added: “We remain committed to our customers’ needs. We have more than sufficient inventories and production planned to support all of our customers’ paper needs during this time.

“Our team will begin contacting customers and supply chain partners immediately to ensure we make this period as seamless as possible.”

PCA is one of the largest producers of containerboard products and uncoated freesheet paper in North America.

In 2018, the company produced around 4.1 million tonnes of containerboard.