Graphic Packaging and DHL Make a Combined $274 Million Dollar Investment
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    April 28, 2017

    Graphic Packaging and DHL Make a Combined $274 Million Dollar Investment


    MONROE, LA — Graphic Packaging International CEO Michael Doss and DHL Supply Chain CEO Scott Sureddin, along with Gov. John Bel Edwards, elected officials, North Louisiana Economic Partnership (NLEP) and Louisiana Economic Development (LED) today announced the companies will make a combined $274 million capital investment in North Louisiana and develop a 1.27 million-square-foot folding carton plant and logistics center in Monroe.  

    “After a thorough analysis of our manufacturing needs, it was clear that Ouachita Parish was the best location for this new facility,” said Michael Doss, CEO, Graphic Packaging. “A number of factors influenced our decision, including access to an experienced and skilled local workforce and our relationship with the State of Louisiana and local community.”

    In West Monroe, Graphic Packaging will continue to reinvest in its paper mill, including upgrades to the mill’s paper machines and woodyard. The company’s West Monroe operations will supply paperboard for the new packaging and logistics center in Monroe, where DHL will build the 1.27 million-square-foot center consisting of a 793,000-square-foot distribution facility and a 480,000-square-foot carton converting facility.

    “DHL Supply Chain is eager to break ground today and begin work on this new facility in Louisiana,” said Scott Sureddin, CEO, DHL Supply Chain. “The quality location and high-caliber workforce in the area are certainly appealing to us. DHL Supply Chain’s relationship with Graphic Packaging helps enable the customer to take business to the next level. The launch of this partnership means the beginning of increased efficiency for the organization and its customers, and that’s something DHL Supply Chain is proud to enable.” 

    The project will create 93 new direct jobs. Louisiana Economic Development estimates the warehouse operations will result in an additional 74 new indirect jobs, for a total of more than 160 new jobs in North Louisiana. Graphic Packaging will continue to employ more than 800 people in its West Monroe mill and in the new carton plant. Graphic Packaging will consolidate carton production from the company’s two existing carton sites in West Monroe to the new Monroe site. A combined annual payroll of more than $78 million will be associated with the investments in Northeast Louisiana.

    “For decades, Graphic Packaging has been a backbone of the West Monroe community and a leading economic driver for Northeast Louisiana,” Gov. Edwards said. “With this modernization and expansion announcement, we are securing the future of Graphic Packaging in Louisiana for generations to come while attracting an invaluable logistics partner in DHL. The massive new facility in Monroe will combine Graphic Packaging’s skill as a global paperboard and folding carton producer with DHL’s expertise as a global logistics leader. Everyone in Louisiana will benefit from these investments, and the families of Ouachita Parish and Northeast Louisiana will be the biggest beneficiaries.”

    In addition to West Monroe mill investments totaling $120 million over the next several years, Graphic Packaging will invest $70 million in new state-of-the-art folding carton plant equipment for the converting plant in Monroe. DHL will construct that building and the adjoining distribution center. The total construction investment for the new Monroe facility will be over $84 million.

    “As the police juror for this district, I'd like to welcome DHL and commend Graphic Packaging for their partnership that will be firmly rooted and nurtured in our rich Delta community,” said Ouachita Parish Police Juror Dr. Ollibeth Reddix. “DHL and Graphic Packaging will find that Ouachita Parish offers economic strength and sustainability for businesses.”

    Louisiana successfully competed against other states – including Georgia, Arkansas and Mississippi – to attract the combined folding carton and logistics facility to Monroe. The companies evaluated multiple sites before choosing the 726-acre Millhaven Road property, an LED Certified Site adjacent to the Kansas City Southern Railroad and just north of Interstate 20, and about two miles east of Monroe Regional Airport.

    “The DHL and Graphic Packaging project is very positive and exciting news for our community,” said Mayor Dave Norris of West Monroe. “Their investment in new and existing plants in Ouachita Parish ensures that high-paying manufacturing jobs stay in our community.” 

    “The City of Monroe is pleased that this joint project between DHL and Graphic Packaging will result in a large local investment with new facilities, new jobs and major upgrades to existing facilities,” said Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo. “We will continue to work hard with our many partners to help secure economic development projects like this to further strengthen job opportunities in Monroe and Ouachita Parish.”

    NLEP began working with DHL and Graphic Packaging in November of 2015 on site selection and local incentives for the project. To ascertain if there was support for the incentive requests, NLEP along with DHL and Graphic Packaging representatives began meeting with the Police Jury, the School Board, the Sheriff’s office, and other local stakeholders.  With the assistance of Ouachita Parish Police Juror Jack Clampit, they were able to obtain an agreement to participate in a Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) agreement with each company.

    Andy Johnson, Vice President, Government Affairs & Sustainability for Graphic Packaging, took part in all the discussions with governmental bodies and the Ouachita Parish Industrial Development Board (IDB) about local incentives.

    “North Louisiana Economic Partnership’s leadership was instrumental in helping Graphic Packaging and community leaders develop a “win-win” program and ensured that Graphic Packaging will continue to be a member of the Ouachita Parish community,” said Johnson.

    For its total $190 million capital investment, Graphic Packaging secured a local tax exemption agreement with the Ouachita IDB. The agreement will exempt Graphic Packaging from paying $1.9 million in local property taxes annually for 10 years on the new capital improvements. For its investment in the Monroe facility, DHL will receive an exemption of local property taxes equivalent to the estimated $11 million to $13 million needed for public infrastructure improvements at the Millhaven Road site.

    Chris McGrath, Senior Director, Real Estate Solutions for DHL Supply Chain worked closely with NLEP and Graphic Packaging to bring the project to fruition.

    “NLEP’s hard work and coordination helped make this project a reality!” said McGrath. “Most people do not see all of the behind the scenes effort required to orchestrate major projects. To that point, NLEP's involvement in this project started in November 2015. Without the local knowledge and expertise exhibited by NLEP, this project may not have been possible. Thank you NLEP for a job well done!”

    “This substantial investment in our community is a direct result of businesses and governmental entities in Ouachita Parish working together to retain jobs and attract capital investment,” said NLEP President Scott Martinez. “North Louisiana Economic Partnership is proud to have worked with Graphic Packaging, DHL Supply Chain and local and state partners to secure this project for North Louisiana.”

    In addition to the local incentives, the State of Louisiana offered Graphic Packaging a competitive incentive package consisting of a performance-based, $3 million Modernization Tax Credit, payable in five annual installments for its investment in the new converting facility equipment. Graphic Packaging will also receive support from the nation’s No. 1 state workforce training program, LED FastStart®.

    DHL, which will operate the warehouse, will be eligible to participate in the state’s Enterprise Zone Program.  The incentive program provides a one-time tax credit of up to $3,500 for each new job created, along with either a sales tax rebate on capital equipment and materials purchased or a 1.5 percent tax credit on the company’s total capital investment.

    DHL will complete the new logistics center by the second half of 2018, with Graphic Packaging consolidating the production of its two West Monroe carton plants into the new converting facility in 2019.

    About Graphic Packaging International Inc.

    Graphic Packaging International Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Graphic Packaging Holding Company (NYSE: GPK), headquartered in Atlanta, is committed to providing consumer packaging that makes a world of difference. The company is a leading provider of paper-based packaging solutions for a wide variety of products to food, beverage and other consumer product companies. The company operates on a global basis, is one of the largest producers of folding cartons in the United States, and holds leading market positions in coated unbleached kraft paperboard and coated-recycled paperboard. The company’s customers include many of the world’s most widely recognized companies and brands. For more information, visit

    About DHL

    DHL is the leading global brand in the logistics industry. The DHL family of divisions offers an unrivaled portfolio of logistics services that range from national and international parcel delivery to e-commerce shipping and fulfillment solutions; international express, road, air and ocean transport; and industrial supply chain management. With about 350,000 employees in more than 220 countries and territories worldwide, DHL connects people and businesses securely and reliably, enabling global trade flows. With specialized solutions for growth markets and industries – including technology, life sciences and healthcare, energy, automotive and retail – a proven commitment to corporate responsibility and an unrivaled presence in developing markets, DHL is decisively positioned as the logistics company for the world. DHL is part of Deutsche Post DHL Group, which generated more than 57 billion euros in 2016 revenue. For more information, visit

    About North Louisiana Economic Partnership

    North Louisiana Economic Partnership, an Accredited Economic Development Organization, provides professional economic development services to the 14 parish region of North Louisiana, including lead generation and prospect management. The organization also represents the interests of North Louisiana with a unified voice and as a single point of contact. It acts as a catalyst, a convener, and a connector in the region to ensure that North Louisiana’s economic development potential is realized. Its vision is for North Louisiana to be a thriving region-a destination for high quality talent, innovative companies, and global investment.
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