Shandong Tranlin Paper Co. Ltd. will be building a $2-billion manufacturing plant off of Willis Road in eastern Chesterfield. The paper plant is expected to employ 2,000 people by 2020.
Officials say the company’s first U.S. manufacturing operation will cover 850 acres, boost agriculture in the area in addition to being a protector of the environment. The company also indicates the process does not expel an odor like paper plants with older technology.
The paper the company manufacturers is made from wheat straw and corn stalks, which include soft paper products such as paper towels, toilet tissue, boxes and organic fertilizers among other paper products.
“This is very exciting,” said Dorothy Jaeckle, Bermuda District Supervisor. “I always felt that the Jefferson Davis Corridor was a prime opportunity for redevelopment because of its proximity to the major transportation networks. From what I have learned since I have been on the Board, access to the Northeast Corridor is a major attraction for businesses.”
Founded in 1976, Tranlin accepted a $5 million grant from Virginia approved by Governor McAuliffe, although the process to bring Tranlin to Greater Richmond began under former Governor McDonnell’s term. The company may also qualify for other grants that could total $20 million for the $2 billion plant. The investment is expected to be developed over a five-year period.
County Administrator James J.L. Stegmaier was ecstatic when he announced the project at the liaison committee (county administration and schools meeting) when the ink was barely dry on the contract.
“Last Wednesday was a landmark day for Chesterfield County,” Mr. Stegmaier said of the record breaking investment the Chinese company is investing in the County. “Equally important is the fact that Tranlin supports the county’s focus on being responsible protectors of the environment. Its products are made exclusively from organic agricultural field waste, such as wheat straw and corn stalks. In addition to the jobs and the economic benefit, this will be a catalyst for growth and revitalization.”
Schools were not only part of the Tranlin companies decision to come to Chesterfield but “Jim Cheng, who was Secretary of Commerce under Bob McDonnell, went to UVA with some of the executives at Tranlin,” Ms. Jaeckle said. “Jim suggested they looked at Virginia versus California. It was narrowed down to four sites in Virginia and the James River Industrial Park location was chosen.”
“What a great and historical day for Virginia, the region, and Chesterfield County. We have worked diligently within the county, and with our partners at the state, regional, and local levels, to build an environment that is attractive for this record-breaking announcement,” Stegmaier said in a press release from the Governor’s office.
“The investment represents the largest Chinese investment and job creation project in Virginia history and is the largest Chinese greenfield economic development project in the United States. Virginia successfully competed against several other states for the project, which will create 2,000 new jobs by 2020,” according Governor Terry McAuliffe.
“Based in Liaocheng, China, Shandong Tranlin Paper Co., Ltd., is centered on the pulp and paper industry, with an annual productivity of 400,000 tons of refined pulp, 700,000 tons of machine-made paper, 400,000 tons of organic fertilizers, and 2.4 billion food and medical packaging boxes. The company has established a diversified product structure centered on the natural products and a marketing network in accordance with demands of internationalization. The main products, with more than 100 varieties and five categories, include refined natural pulp, natural culture paper, natural household paper, food and medical packaging box and organic fertilizers,” a Gov. McAuliffe press release stated.
“We are very excited about joining the welcoming community of Virginia and Chesterfield County,” said Jerry Z Peng, Chairman and CEO of Tranlin, Inc., Tranlin group’s recently established U.S. entity. “We are even more excited about the opportunity to apply our innovative technologies in building an industry-leading production base in central Virginia. We are confident this will not only provide U.S. consumers with clean and eco-friendly paper products, but also serve U.S. agricultural interests and home owners with all-natural and highly effective organic fertilizers.” Mr. Peng also noted his ties to Virginia, having received his MBA from UVA’s Darden School and currently serving on its foundation board.
Jaeckle said that she feels that the Jeff Davis corridor is making some revitalization progress, pointing to the new Colony Village apartment complex that looks so good on the pike.