30.April, Dover-Foxcroft ME – A strong lumber market is leading Pleasant River Lumber Co. to invest $25 million over the next three years in four Maine facilities. When completed, the projects will enhance PRL’s production capacity to ~400 million board feet through its five Maine mills.
Rail has traditionally been a vital transportation component for the company, and will likely be included in the expansion at some of the sites.
Jackman: $6 million to increase throughput
The company will sink $6 million into its Jackman facility to increase mill throughput by 20%. The project will be completed in two separate phases. Phase 1 will improve the flow of logs into the mill, and is scheduled for completion this coming Fall.
The plant is located on the CP/CMQ(US) Moosehead Subdivision, and has long relied on rail to receive logs. However, the site got a shock last Fall, when, upon taking control of CMQ, CP took 200 BAR-era log cars out of service and scrapped them. Those cars primarily served PRL-Jackman. PRL acquired substantial truck capacity to fill the gap. It is currently unclear how the Phase 1 upgrades will be divided between road and rail service.
Dover-Foxcroft: $1.5 million to increase shaping
The Dover-Foxcroft ME facility will invest $1.5 million to upgrade its planer mill, which will increase planing capacity to >180 million bd-ft annually.
The D-F facility is not directly rail served, but is close to the CMQ route through Derby ME. For years, rumors have flown of restoring the former Bangor & Aroostook (BAR) branch an industrial track, though there have never been substantial signs of serious plans to that end.
Enfield: $10 million more for new mega-mill
PRL’s newest facility in Enfield ME began producing lumber in late 2020, and will continue to expand with $10 million earmarked for a tree-length slashing system to be operational by mid-2021, a state-of-the-art lumber drying facility in service by late 2021 and a second sawing line by early 2023. These projects will increase the capacity of the Enfield site to 150 million bd-ft (finished) annually, eclipsing all current Maine lumber mills.
That capacity would likely require adding a siding and spurs off of the PAR Freight Main Line, which borders the site to the east.
Hancock: $7.5 million for pine production
Pleasant River Pine, PRL’s white pine division will invest $7.5 million to increase sawing capacity by five million bd-ft, and to add a state-of-the-art planing mill with optimized grading.
Jacon Brochu, company co-president, says, “Strong markets have put us in a good position to continue to modernize and expand our mills … to provide local markets for [Maine] forest products,” says co-president, Chris Brochu.