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J.D. Irving takes week-long $10 million maintenance downtime at mill in Saint John, NB

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J.D. Irving takes week-long $10 million maintenance downtime at mill in Saint John, NB

October 22, 2012 - 17:49

SAINT JOHN, NB, Oct. 22, 2012 (Press Release) -Over 1,200 trades people with 45 contractor companies, in addition to the 340 mill employees, will be on the job this week at Irving Pulp & Paper in Saint John. It's part of a week-long, world-class maintenance and refurbishment shutdown that happens every 18 months. The $10-million maintenance work ensures the mill is as productive and efficient as possible. Meanwhile, an additional 110 trades people are involved in maintenance work at the Irving Tissue mill along with the mill's permanent workforce of 107 employees.

The success of the maintenance shutdown involves a lot of teamwork. The work schedule, parts, and tools required are all planned out well in advance to make sure it's a well-managed shutdown. "This project has a major impact on local contractors who are key to getting the job done. With maintenance costs of more than $1 million per day plus the lost revenue from operations, it is critical to have a shutdown that is well planned and executed," said Jim Brewster, manager of the Irving Pulp & Paper mill.

The shutdown began on Saturday, October 20 and will continue until Saturday, October 27. Two major pieces of equipment are being replaced during the maintenance: a pulp dryer cylinder mould and a dregs washer.

City police will be directing traffic each morning at the entrance to the mill near the Reversing Falls Bridge to accommodate the increased traffic of contractors. "On behalf of all employees at the mill, we wish to thank the public for their patience during the busy week as we continue to invest in modernizing our mill to remain competitive in the long term," Brewster said.

The Irving Pulp & Paper mill on Saint John's west side employs 340 full-time employees who contribute to the community and the local economy. Every year the mill purchases over $50 million in goods and services from local suppliers in New Brunswick. The mill has been nationally and internationally honoured for pioneering world-first reverse osmosis technology to clean waste water and improve aquatic habitat. Since 2007, the mill has reduced its air emissions by 80 percent; and each year the mill diverts 98 percent of its total solid waste from landfills to beneficial uses such as composting and agricultural land spreading.

Saint John is the hub for forest products in New Brunswick. According to David Campbell of Jupia Consultants Inc., there are over 2,800 persons employed as a direct or indirect impact of JDI forestry-related operations in Saint John, which generated annual wages of $221 million in 2011. JDI forestry-related operations support one out of every 25 employed persons in the Saint John region. Total annual consumer spending in New Brunswick generated from JDI's Saint John region forestry-related operations was $168.5 million in 2011.*

Forest products in the Saint John region have recently contributed to increased shipping service at the Port of Saint John and are key to sustaining a multi-modal transportation hub in the city. Over 250 small- and medium-sized enterprises in the greater Saint John region supply goods and services to the forest products sector in the city. A vibrant forest sector in Saint John also supports research, innovation, and training with the University of New Brunswick and the New Brunswick Community College.