In late May, CorrVentures LLC, a private development firm specializing in strategic project development in pulp and paper and corrugated packaging markets, had announced its plans to build and operate a 300,000-ton-per-year, 100 percent recycled lightweight containerboard mill about 9 miles south of Albany, New York.
Stephen Read, president and CEO of CorrVentures, says this effort has been in the works among a team of four associates for about three years. Read partnered with Charles Klass, managing member of CorrVentures; Jan Lambert, executive vice president of CorrVentures as well as president and CEO of First Fiber Corp. of America; and Eric Lawrence, executive vice president and treasurer at CorrVentures, to form the new business.
“We’ve all been business associates and friends dating back to the 1980s and 1990s,” Read says. “We’ve participated in a variety of strategic projects and operated converting facilities. The four of us have different expertise. It’s a combination of talent to get this up and running; we think we have a great team in place.”
“All four of us have worked in this industry before,” Lambert adds. “We’re a unique team. We have exceptional experience in banking operations and in the integration of supply.”
The CorrVentures team has hopes of starting up a containerboard mill in the Northeast to consume old corrugated containers (OCC), mixed paper and other recycled fibers in the area, and the business just made investments in the facility near Albany.
“There are a variety of reasons why people would welcome a project like this,” Read says. “The recycling aspect is one. Also, corporations want to advance sustainability for a cleaner environment. Our facility and end products are 100 percent recycled. Aspects in that area alone should be attractive to have some of our products used for packaging.”
CorrVentures plans to construct a new, state-of-the-art containerboard mill at the site. Read says the business is on track to close the transaction by the fourth quarter of 2019. He adds that construction will commence in early 2020 with completion estimated for the fourth quarter of 2021.
The mill plans to produce containerboard, recycled linerboard and recycled corrugated medium. Klass says the mill will consume about 330,000 to 350,000 tons per year of recycled fiber, depending on the contamination levels in the material. The mill will consume both postindustrial OCC and OCC from material recovery facilities (MRF).
“Source-separated OCC is cleaner than what you get at MRFs,” Klass says. “Our design is if we need to run 100 percent MRF [materials], we do it. From a process design standpoint, I’m designing [the mill] for the worst-case scenario, which is MRF-generated materials.”
Lambert adds, “We’re not asking providers to bring us China spec [OCC]. We’re an American market. Our machines are designed to receive material and process it as we know it in terms of ISRI (Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries) definitions, not China’s definitions.”
With some transportation concerns in the New York area, Lambert adds that CorrVentures wants to offer the ability to barge materials to the mill where trucking is a concern. “We’re hopeful of establishing some key relationships for supply in New York and New Jersey,” he says. “We’re close to New York City, and in New York, their challenge is restrictions on the number of trucks passing through the city. We can establish relationships to barge material up the river. We’ve begun discussions on that. That element answers to how we can help lower the number of trucks that move in and out of the five boroughs.”
Klass concludes that there seem to be market opportunities available for containerboard in the Northeast.
“There’s need for corrugated in the Northeast in combination with the availability of supply,” he says.