Chinese Company Plans $2B Pulp and Paper Plant in Chesterfield County

The state of Virginia is celebrating its latest economic development win. Shandong Tranlin Paper Co., Ltd., a Chinese pulp and paper company, will invest $2 billion over five years to build its first advanced manufacturing operation in Chesterfield County and create 2,000 new jobs by 2020. Governor Terry McAuliffe announced the project last month. It represents the largest Chinese investment and job creation project in Virginia history, and also the largest Chinese greenfield economic development project in the United States.

Shandong Tranlin Paper Co., Ltd., a Chinese pulp and paper company, will invest $2 billion over five years to build its first advanced manufacturing operation in Chesterfield County and create 2,000 new jobs by 2020.  It would be Virginia’s largest-ever Chinese investment and job creation project, as well the largest Chinese greenfield economic development project in the United States.

Tranlin’s new paper and fertilizer plant will be located on an 850-acre campus in the James River Industrial Center. According to studies from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and Virginia Tech Cooperative Extension, the massive project could have a proportionately huge economic impact.

For the state’s agricultural sector, for instance, the Tranlin project promises to spark demand for equipment and create jobs both indirectly and directly. Backers say it will help preserve farmland and generate new opportunities for local farmers by using straw and  corn stalks harvested in spring and fall.

“Tranlin represents a tremendous opportunity for Virginia’s corn and small grain producers by creating a lucrative new market for agricultural residuals that are typically left in the field. Based on the agricultural supply chain opportunities associated with the project, the economic benefit to farmers in this region alone could exceed $50 million per year once the project is complete and operating at full capacity,” said Todd Haymore, Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry, in a statement.

Officials attributed the state’s successful competition for the project to the cooperative efforts of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, Chesterfield County, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, the Greater Richmond Partnership, Dominion Virginia Power, and the Virginia Port Authority.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe has approved a $5 million grant from the Governor’s Opportunity Fund for the project, and the Virginia Jobs Investment Program will provide funding and services to support Tranlin’s employee training activities. The company may also be eligible for a Major Employment and Investment custom performance grant.

McAuliffe said in a statement that the investment ”shows how Virginia is leading the way in attracting innovative businesses to the Commonwealth. Advanced manufacturing jobs are the heart of a strong and growing 21st century economy, and this investment symbolizes the economic recovery taking place across the nation, and will be transformational for the economy of Chesterfield County and the surrounding region . . .  Economic development is a team effort, and it is the collaboration of the entire team that helped to convince Tranlin that Virginia is the best site for its U.S. operation.”