Twinpak Inc. announced plans for its first U.S. plant, a facility in Newport News, Va., to make rigid containers and lids for dairy, food and food-service markets. The Montreal packaging firm said Sept. 26 it will invest C$20 million (US$14.6 million) in the plant, which will be capable of making more than 700 million containers and lids annually. Twinpak will use solid-phase pressure forming to make the goods, starting with polypropylene sheet that it will extrude in Newport News.
John Dale, general manager for Twinpak's dairy and food packaging unit, said his company wants a plant close to its growing eastern U.S. markets. Freight costs from its Regina, Saskatchewan, plant, its only other facility making such products, are high.
Regina recently doubled its pressure forming capacity and will serve central and western regions of North America. Dale, in a telephone interview from Twinpak's Mississauga, Ontario, office, said Regina's capacity is similar to that planned for Newport News and that it also uses solid-phase pressure forming, a process similar to thermoforming.
Dale said Twinpak chose Newport News after a lengthy search. It has favorable costs, demographics and infrastructure. Local officials also offered incentives for training and taxes. Twinpak bought property for its 100,000-square-foot plant.
Dale estimated construction costs at about C$6 million to C$7 million (US$4.4 million to US$5.1 million) with the rest of the investment slated for equipment. It will buy extrusion equipment from Welex Inc. of Blue Bell, Pa., and will install Illig pressure formers supplied from Germany. These companies also supplied equipment for the C$6 million (US$4.4 million) Regina expansion completed last year. Newport News will begin production in April, Dale said.
Pressure formed PP containers and lids compete with injection molded PP and polyethylene and thermoformed polystyrene products. Dale said Twinpak's containers are gaining market share from these containers and the market overall is growing as consumers buy more ready-to-prepare meals from supermarket delis.
Twinpak's only previous U.S. operation was a blow molding facility in Plattsburg, N.Y., which it bought out of receivership from Westra Plastics Inc. in 1994 and sold in early 1996 to three investors. Twinpak's parent company, Amcor Ltd. of Melbourne, Australia, has a few plastics operations in the United States.