Specialty and packaging papers supplier Domtar has revealed plans to temporarily suspend operations at Hawesville mill in the US state of Kentucky, starting 5 May.

The move is part of the company’s plan to temporarily right-size production capacity following the Covid-19 pandemic.

It will reduce Domtar’s uncoated freesheet paper production capacity by approximately 83,000 short tonnes.

The company will temporarily lay off approximately 400 employees at the Hawesville mill following the suspension.

Domtar president and chief executive officer John Williams said: “Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, we have been actively monitoring the impacts to our business and taking methodical steps to optimise capacity in the current environment.

“We believe it is appropriate to take the additional step of temporarily idling our Hawesville mill in light of reduced paper demand. We are optimistic that we have taken the right actions to effectively manage the business through these evolving market conditions.”

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Apart from Hawesville mill, the rest of Domtar’s facilities will be fully operational, and shipments will continue.

The company is planning to resume the H1 paper machine in June 2020, while the H2 paper machine will remain shut down until July.

Earlier this month, Domtar has decided to temporarily suspend operations at its Kingsport, Tennessee mill and Ashdown, Arkansas mill as coronavirus continues to spread.

Domtar Pulp and Paper division president Mike Garcia said: “We regret that this temporary action will have an impact on our exceptional people and their families. We are doing everything we can to help them through this unprecedented period, and we have great confidence in the long-term strength and viability of our paper mills.”