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New Pratt mill gets Trump seal of approval

US President Donald Trump has formally opened a large new containerboard mill in Ohio that is due to start production this month.

The new Pratt Industries mill in Wapakoneta is expected to process annually nearly 400 000 tonnes of recovered fibre, including mixed paper and old corrugated containers (OCC), once it’s fully operational. Trump toured the facility on 22 September – see video below.

He was accompanied by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and fellow Australian Anthony Pratt, the billionaire owner of Visy which includes Atlanta-based Pratt Industries. The president spoke of an ‘economic revival’ of the US manufacturing industry and promised more foreign investment and new jobs.

‘Ohio is open for business’

Trump told a large crowd at the facility: ‘We proudly declare Pratt Industries and the great, great state of Ohio open for business. Pratt has pledged to invest many billions in the United States. When this plant is fully operational, hundreds of Ohio workers will have full-time jobs, with quality healthcare, retirement benefits and really great wages,’ he added. ‘I’m especially excited to announce that one in four workers at this plant is a veteran.’

Pratt Industries claims to be America’s fifth largest corrugated packaging company and the world’s largest, privately-held 100% recycled paper and packaging business.

A trader told Recycling International that the new plant may not all be good news. ‘When Pratt starts making containerboard, it’s going to displace tonnage that some other mill is making now,’ he said. ‘There is an overcapacity problem and some of these weaker, high-cost producers will not survive.’

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