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WestRock to invest $48M, consolidate two Sioux City box plants

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WestRock Bridgeport

WestRock on Oct. 6 announced a $48 million expansion of its Sioux City plant on Bridgeport Drive, shown above in a file photo.

SIOUX CITY -- WestRock on Thursday announced a $48 million expansion of its corrugated box operations in Sioux City.

The plans call for WestRock to consolidate its two manufacturing plants on Tri-View Avenue and Bridgeport Drive. All manufacturing would be done at the Bridgeport plant, where an 82,000 square-foot addition would be built.

For the company to remain competitive, new technology will be installed at the combined plant that will automate some job functions, according to documents filed with the city.

“This investment will allow WestRock to modernize our operations in Sioux City,” Chris Augustine, WestRock director of corporate communications, said in a news release issued Thursday by the city and The Siouxland Initiative.  “We will be more competitive in the industry and retain as many jobs as possible in the local community once we improve our facility layout and update our equipment.”

As part of the expansion, the plant at 1540 Tri-View Avenue would be converted into a warehouse and distribution center, according to documents filed with the city.

Without the modernization and consolidation project, the company likely would have relocated to another state, city officials said. Mayor Bob Scott said city leaders began talks with WestRock officials last year to ensure the large employer remained here.

“They had an opportunity to expand in other areas of the country and we appreciate their decision to invest in Sioux City," Scott said in a statement.

“WestRock has had a presence in this community for decades and their decision to make a very substantial capital investment in Sioux City helps ensure that they will be with us for many more years to come,” Siouxland Initiative President Chris McGowan added in a statement.

WestRock has requested $1.6 million in tax rebates from the city through tax-increment financing over 10 years. The City Council will be asked to approve assistance to the company at its weekly meeting Monday.

In Sioux City, WestRock manufactures corrugated boxes for metro Sioux City industries that includes Tyson Foods, BPI Inc. and Curly's Foods.

Earlier this year, unionzied workers at the Tri-View Avenue plant went out on strike in a dispute with the company over pay and benefits. The workers returned to work about two months later after the two sides reached a settlement.

WestRock, based in Norcross, Georgia, has 39,000 employees at more than 250 operating and business locations in North America, South America, Europe and Asia.

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