November 1-– Georgia Governor Nathan Deal this week joined Rayonier executives and other dignitaries to celebrate the completion of Rayonier’s $385 million Cellulose Specialties Expansion (CSE) project at its mill in Jesup, Georgia. The project added 190,000 metric tons of additional production capacity to the mill.
(L-R) Jack Perrett, General Manager, Rayonier Performance Fibers-Jesup Mill, left, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, James "Boot" Thomas, Chairman of the Wayne County Commission and Paul Boynton, Chairman, President and CEO of Rayonier.
Rayonier’s technically-advanced cellulose specialties fibers are used in everyday products such as flat-panel televisions, computer screens, impact-resistant plastics, filters, tires, paint, food and pharmaceuticals.
“Georgia’s rural economies are built on the strength of the forest products industry, and this region has reaped the economic benefits from the Rayonier facility since the 1950s,” said Governor Deal. “Rayonier is one of Georgia’s largest exporters at the Port of Savannah, and the CSE project was one of Georgia’s largest capital projects last year. We have no doubt that Rayonier’s investment will keep our state at the forefront of the forest products industry for generations to come.
The expansion encompassed 29 major individual projects, including several projects undertaken to enhance environmental systems. Including efforts beyond the CSE project, the Jesup mill has invested more than $80 million in environmental improvement projects over the past six years. With the completion of the CSE project, all three lines are now capable of producing high purity cellulose specialty products. The majority of the project was completed in late June, and the new mill produced its first cellulose specialty acetate pulp in early July, weeks ahead of schedule.
“Without the support and help of Governor Deal, the State of Georgia and the local community, this project would not have been possible. Over the last two years, Jesup and Wayne County have shown tremendous hospitality to the thousands of workers who helped complete this monumental project,” said Paul Boynton, Rayonier’s chairman, president and chief executive officer. “The entire community can take great pride in what has been and will continue to be accomplished at the Jesup Mill. This expansion project solidifies Jesup’s and Georgia’s global leadership in the production of cellulose specialty fibers, a key component of a wide and growing number of consumer products.”
A recently-completed economic impact study compiled by Georgia Tech researchers concluded that Rayonier’s Jesup Mill has an annual economic impact of nearly $1 billion in Southeast Georgia. Each year, the company contributes more than $10 million to Georgia’s tax base, while paying more than $117 million to Georgia vendors who provide the Jesup Mill with a variety of goods and services.
Including Rayonier’s Jesup Mill, forestry and wood procurement operations, Rayonier employs more than 940 Georgians and the company is the largest employer in Wayne County. Timber purchased by the mill also supports approximately 1 million acres of working forests in the Southeast United States. According to the Georgia Forestry Commission, the impact of the forestry industry to Georgia’s economy is estimated at $25 billion annually and creates more than 118,000 jobs.