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International Paper schedules downtime in March

International Paper Riverdale Mill announced Monday it has planned downtime on its two paper machines due to lack of demand.

The downtime will start during the week of March 16 and end the week of March 30. The No. 15 Paper Machine will be down for 21 days, and the No. 16 Paper Machine will be down for 18 days.

Officials said the company made the decision to keep costs down because of a lack of orders for uncoated freesheet paper.

“We’re trying to match our supply to meet the needs of our customers,” said Pam Frasier, mill communications manager. “If you build inventory, you tie your cash up in that inventory.”

A limited number of employees will remain onsite to perform vital functions, such as fire watch.

“Our company is committed to managing our supply to meet the needs of our customers, including making adjustments for how our order book develops in 2009,” said Russell Harris, mill manager.

The mill operates two paper machines and five cut-size sheeters and supplies its own pulp for papermaking, and its de-inking plant is capable of producing clean, recycled fiber. Its products are virgin and recycle grades of reprographic and offset printing papers. The facility employs about 730 people.