A $154 million capital investment in a new Graphic Packaging International folding carton plant and distribution center on Millhaven Road in Ouachita Parish will fuel the largest single construction project in the parish’s history.

Upgrades to the existing Graphic Packaging paperboard manufacturing location in West Monroe will also take place over the next several years and bring the combined capital investment in northeastern Louisiana to $274 million. Clyde White, the president of the Ouachita Parish Professional Development Board, said the project will be roughly three times the size of the now-vacant Guide Plant nearby.

Gov. John Bel Edwards joined President and CEO Michael Doss of Graphic Packaging International Inc. and CEO Scott Sureddin of DHL Supply Chain, North America, to announce the investment and break ground for the 1.27-million-square-foot plant and logistics center in Monroe.

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“For decades, Graphic Packaging has been a backbone of the West Monroe community and a leading economic driver for Northeast Louisiana,” 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.”

The project will create 93 new direct jobs, and 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 Northeast Louisiana.

“After a thorough analysis of our manufacturing needs, it was clear that Ouachita Parish was the best location for this new facility,” Doss said. “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.”

Graphic Packaging will continue to employ more than 800 people in its West Monroe mill and in the new combined folding carton plant, where Graphic Packaging will move carton production from the company’s two existing carton sites in West Monroe to the new Monroe site. A combined…